All Lives Matter, Right?

You know what’s interesting about the world we live in? Everything, I mean everything is documented. Everything we say on world or American issues are heard loud and clear. Problem is the message never gets across to either side. We hear each other but we don’t bother to understand each other. When the cell phone cameras started documenting the killings of countless unarmed Black men in the country the message was clear: Something is wrong here, some cops are using their power to become judge, jury, and executioner. This was something us in minority communities already knew, the law was acting as if their lives did not matter. From this, Black Lives Matter was dubbed the outcry for those in this country who knew this was wrong. The message was simple and easy to understand: Black Lives Matter, it meant that under the law, everyone no matter their skin should get all the same rights as every American. That a Black man should be able to walk away from a simple traffic stop still breathing, and be able to let the court system work itself out how it should. Simple, they matter, they have families, have children. They have people who depend on and love them, they should be able to continue living no matter the legal circumstance. That a broken taillight should not result in the taking of a human life. It’s not hard to comprehend. And yet, the message could not transcend the invisible lines of America. Along the way, the message got muddled into something else. Across the lines, some heard Black Lives Matter and took it as being Anti-cop. That wasn’t the intent. With that, some started saying things like “Black Lives Matter? How about All Lives Matter?” They harped on this All Lives Matter thing until they were blue in the face. Time went on and the world moved on. But remember everything is documented. So now that we are at a point in history where children of undocumented parents seeking asylum are being ripped apart, many of those who were shouting All Lives Matter are saying this is okay. That if these parents did not want to get separated from their children they should have never come here. They are shouting these things so loud it is hard to even picture them saying something like All Lives Matter. Its almost as if, All Lives Don’t Matter to them. What they forgot was that everything is documented, we were watching, we heard them, and we did not forget. So what is it? All Lives Matter or just the lives of those who look like you?

This is America

I haven’t written a blog post in a very long time. I have recently dealt with something that no parent should ever have to experience. I am not ready to write about what happened as I am just trying to keep my shit together and not off myself. Maybe one day I will open up about it, but for right now I cant.
So to keep my mind off things I will write about things that get me fired up. If you been reading my blog you already know that my blog is low-key a political blog disguised as a mom blog 😀 (I hope you have been reading but if not, feel free to browse older posts 🙂

Can we talk about America for a moment? Would that be okay? It seems hard to even figure out where to start given the constant shit show we have had to sit back and watch since 2016. Have you been watching closely? Do you see what’s going on? Something dark is happening in this country and it is so complex with so many layers it is hard to even focus our attention on anything.
So if you are having American Shit Show Induced ADHD let me lay it out for you:
Immigration ArrestsChildren: infant to teenagers are being ripped from their parents arms by ICE. Let that sink in, mothers are being ripped from their children and sent off to their native land with no assurance that their babies will be safe or properly taken care of. Imagine that, you spend nine months sacrificing your body for this tiny human that you could not imagine life without and one day an ICE officer grabs your precious, defenseless baby and hauls you away in a van. Could you imagine? No, you couldn’t because what I just described is unimaginable. Imagine coming to this country to give your children a better future only to have those children stolen from you? Because that is what is happening people! These children are legit being kidnapped from their parents.
ICE is losing these children! To make matters worse, these children are getting lost, no not lost in the system, they are literally being lost! It is reported that some 1,500 children of undocumented parents who have been deported have been lost! No one knows their whereabouts. ONE. THOUSAND. FIVE. HUNDRED. Babies, small children and teenagers MISSING! What is happening here is an atrocity.
PBS has confirmed that some of these missing children have been released to human traffickers. HUMAN. FUCKING. TRAFFICKERS! I do not care where you are on the political spectrum, you know this is downright inhumane. And yet, there are still some who try to justify this outright atrocity. For example, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was quoted “Family separation is a tough deterrent.” Are you kidding me, John Kelly? What a shameful thing to say! But America has been ripping babes from the arms of loving mothers since slavery was legal in the country. It was a crime against humanity then, and its a crime against humanity now!
You see, one topic: deportation, many layers. This is part of the problem, there are so many complex issues plaguing this country at once its hard to know how to help fix the problem.

Next set of issues: GUN CONTROL
I am a veteran, I am trained to fire pretty much every weapon out there. I believe in Americans right to bear arms, however, I am also a human being and a mother, so I am torn on the issue. I want people to be able to exercise their constitutional rights but I don’t want innocent children caught up in the crossfire that our constitutional rights give us. So what do we do? Because what we have been doing is clearly not working, and if you don’t believe me google the statistics for yourself.180215-florida-school-shooting-vigil-ac-1024p_ec48b5303c2b82c816bd3d440bc8d3ec.nbcnews-fp-1240-520
Since the first mass school shooting committed by 55-year-old Andrew Keyhoe in 1927 (Bath School Massacre) there have been 333 fatalities from school shootings. Children who went to school and expected it to be a normal day had their lives tragically cut short due to gun violence. Is it fair? No, but this is the reality. It has gotten to the point where a child at a recent school shooting tearfully shared her feelings that it was bound to happen eventually at her school. Do you grasp the emotional damage this is having on every single student in America? Children who have yet to experience gun violence at their school have come to the conclusion that they could be next. America’s youth are sitting ducks and no one in charge wants to make any meaningful change.
Is it the guns or is it psychotropic drugs overly prescribed to America’s youth? Another layer to this is we’re having trouble as a nation to figure out why we are the only country on this earth with this problem, it is an American issue. But it is not hard to make the connections, everything needs to be overhauled and analyzed, from the medical system in place in this country to gun laws, restrictions to responsible gun ownership and more safety precautions in schools. Growing up in the “hood” my schools all had metal detectors in them, why? Because our student body mostly consisted of Hispanics, African Americans, and children of immigrants, you see we grew up in the era where we were wrongfully called Super Predators. But as statistics show People of Color are not the ones committing these vicious mass shooting attacks; it’s White Males they are the real Super Predators. And yet, If the shooter does not commit suicide after taking the lives of others he is almost always taken into custody without incident, weird huh? A black man will be gunned down for having a cell phone in his hands, but a white boy who killed multiple victims gets the white glove treatment from the police. America treats guns better than we do the victims. America will vilify an unarmed black man after murdering him in the media, and on the other hand, it will create a narrative of bullying, isolation and family trouble for a White mass murderer.

I don’t know what can be done about these issues but I do know that every day I kiss my children, hug them, and tell them I love them before I send them off to school. Because in reality; the way things are going… my child’s school may be next. I don’t want to think about it or accept it but unfortunately gun rights and money are more important to this country than our children, This is America.

Play date Edicate 

The other day one of my daughter’s friend’s mom sent me a friend request on Facebook. We had only met once for my daughters birthday party, but I added her anyways. Immediately she hits up my DM and says that we should get the girls together for a play date. I told her absolutely and to let me know when she wanted to get together. She quickly responded saying “great I can drop her off tomorrow after Girl Scouts.”
I was a little annoyed. For one this lady doesn’t even really know me, nor does she know my boyfriend who lives with me. (Not saying that we are bad people because we’re not. But what if we were? She wouldn’t have known because we never actually hung out and had no mutual friends according to our Facebook friends list.)
I was also annoyed because this “play date” sounded more like “I need a babysitter.”
So I compiled a list of Play date dos and don’ts:
Do: if it is indeed a play date, you should accompany your kid
Feed your child something before you come over unless the other Mom said she was making lunch or something.
Bring a bottle of wine! Get to know the other mom while the kids play!
Lastly, encourage your child to help clean up any mess the kids may have made together.
Don’ts:
Don’t assume that the other mom set up a play date so you could get some errands done.
If you do have to leave to run an errand, make it quick. I’ve had moms say they were just running home to grab something only to return four hours later. It’s just rude, it’s one thing if you and the mom are close friends, but if you’re just acquaintances, it can feel like you’re just dumping your kid off on her.
We’re all just trying to raise good kids and socializing outside of school is a big part of that so play dates are important.
Comment with some of your Play Date dos or don’ts. Or tell us a play date horror story haha!

A Pagan, an Atheist and a Muslim Walked into a bar …

A Pagan, an Atheist, and a Muslim walked into a bar …
Salam, guys! I am so tired today; I went out with some friends for a birthday last night. We scooted around Downtown St. Pete, chatted over cheap cocktails, saw a local band and reminisced over our 20-year friendship. 20 YEARS!! I love my old friends. One is Atheist, and the other is Pagan. I am Muslim. You would be unable to tell by just looking at me. I don’t fit the MO. I have tattoos, and I go out with friends to places I probably shouldn’t be. We share fireball shots, and we laugh louder than anyone around us. I am a ‘split personality’ Muslim: I abstain from eating pork, I pray, I tend to dress modestly (except on occasions that call for a little black dress). I am always reading about Prophet Mohammed (SAW*), I play verses from the Quran over speaker throughout my apartment a few times a week. I sometimes drink; even though I say I won’t anymore. I don’t wear a Hijab even though I say that I will one day. I haven’t gotten rid of my tattoos, even though I made it a goal. I am not perfect, God is. If you’re an Internet Sheikh, the exit is at the top right corner of the browser 😃.
My Muslim friends try to be understanding because of my culture  (I am American: 100%, and let’s face it, we Americans like to drink, party, have co-ed friendships, hug those of the opposite sex, etc.) I talk to them regularly about the things that I want to change in myself. I think they get it, and if they don’t at least, they are still my friends despite my spiritual short comings. Every day feels like a personal Jihad in my head. I go back and forth with the things that I do wrong as a Muslim. I give myself pep talks. I set goals. I put them on paper and even sometimes put them into action.
My Non-Muslim friends try to be understanding during Ramadan. They don’t wince when they see me in a Turban or a scarf. If I need to pray they will stay quiet for the few minutes that it takes for me to get it done. One of my favorite couples said they ‘wished all Muslims were like me.” I pardoned their ignorance since I am probably the only Muslim they know on a personal level. They are Marines who served in predominantly Muslim countries, so in all their experience, “Muslims” have always been shooting at them. What they, and many other people, don’t realize is that there are a lot of Muslims that are like me. People often mistake them for Spanish people. Even if they wear a scarf and don’t drink or go to clubs, it doesn’t mean they aren’t like you. They have dreams. They share recipes, go shopping, send each other funny memes, and go to brunch. They have Christmas, Birthday and dinner parties constantly. Just because we are Muslim doesn’t mean we are Alien. It doesn’t mean we are oppressed. Do I look oppressed? I have a neck tattoo, and I am drinking a Latte in the greatest country in the world. What is oppressing, is YOU trying to make ME feel like my friends and I are oppressed. The problem is people mistake culture for Islam. They let the want for power, get in the way of the message.
Islam gave women rights 1400 years ago. Rights that women in the West weren’t afforded until the fucking 1930s. BUT ONCE AGAIN, people are mistaking Islam for culture. Religion isn’t dangerous, people are. I’ve met plenty of White male Christians who slap their girlfriends around, but it doesn’t mean Christianity promotes abuse.
I am sorry that you haven’t spent any real time with Muslims. I am sorry you haven’t sipped coffee and smoked hookah with us on Friday nights. I am sorry you think we are so foreign and evil. You want us to ‘go back to where we came from, but I was born in Orlando, Florida. You think I am ‘just like you’ when you see me pushing a bottle of wine around in my Target cart but when you see me on Fridays before or after Jummah (Friday Prayer. Christians go to Church on Sunday, we go on Friday),  you treat me like a spectacle. You look at me like you fear me as if I am the enemy. When I go to breakfast with my friends you look at them from the corners of your eyes like you are uncomfortable. As if we shouldn’t be in Cracker Barrel because they are wearing a hijab paired with matching heels. They are the nicest people I’ve ever met and your looks of disapproval/fear make me disgusted. It makes me want to curse you out, cause a scene, make you feel stupid. I can’t, though, I must mind my manners. I have to smile at you. I have to make it a point to have a good time with them in public. I feel as though I am some type of liaison between the White Suburbs of America and the local hookah lounge.  I have to display our friendship because I couldn’t possibly be Muslim, too. We are all Human. Believe it or not, we have a lot more in common than you all think.
A Muslim, a Pagan and an Athiest walked into a bar, they took shots and remained best friends, despite their completely different beliefs on the ‘Hereafter.’ This is America ❤
Also, for you young Muslims that may be reading, I am not condoning the consumption of Alcohol. It’s not worth it. It dries your skin and makes you act like an ass. Stay the path and pray for me.
Also, Check out this spoken word poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II42IpzskRI
Xoxo,
Hali
*SAW is an acronym for the Arabic phrase “SallAllahu Alaihi Wa’Salaam.” It translates to ‘Peace and Blessings unto him.’ We say this after mentioning any prophet. Including Isa (Jesus, SAW).

Big News!

Ten years ago, I was 18 and I boarded a plane that would eventually lead me to one of the greatest adventures of my lifetime. When I arrived at my first stop, I was greeted by another group of soldiers who were going to continue with us to Missouri. Immediately I saw one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. She was sporting a tom boy look complete with overalls, a striped shirt and a cigarette in her mouth. She was giving off serious no fucks given vibes and I instantly knew we were going to be friends. Fast forward to now and life is completely different from our drunken escapades overseas. I am happy to introduce Mom Jawn’s newest writer and partner Halima Hammad!

-Winter

 

Salaam everyone! I hope you are all doing fabulous! If you’re not, I hope you’re finding a way to change it 😊. If I seem to bounce around here a bit, I apologize, I am blogging in between house chores (I just moved and I now have tile floor. The sweeping and mopping never ends).

I am exceedingly excited to be a new edition to Mom Jawn!! I have known the founder, Winter Olivia, for about ten years now. I never thought our journey would take us from E-Nothings in the Military to this!! I also just realized that we are old enough to measure friendships by decade. Now, I need a wine spritzer.

I live in Tampa, Florida with my four-year-old (Leviticus) and our dog, Pico. I am a Muslim woman; not a very good one but I do my best and I get better at it every day, Alhamdulillah. (Any of you Internet Sheiks want to have a go at me, don’t waste your time. There is nothing you can tell me about myself that I don’t tell my reflection on the daily). We spend a ton of time at the beach, enjoying the local foodie joints that the Tampa bay area has to offer, indoor rock climbing and going to artsy kid friendly festivals. I do have 50/50 custody, so I get to party a little more than most moms. I live about ten minutes from my ex-husband (my son’s father), we have a pretty bad ass co-parent life. There are ups and downs, but, we love our son more than we hated each other. Our biggest fight is usually about the kids’ underwear or his new girlfriend’s poor manners. We will talk all about all of this in upcoming post! It makes me want to rip my skin off so I have a lot to say about these types of things.

 Other things we will chat about include, but are not limited to:

Good days                                                                                    Fillers

Messy hair days (as my friend Rachael calls them)              weddings

Islam                                                                                             Travel

Orange lies                                                                                  Should I wear a Hijab?

Parenting                                                                                     The Military

When do kids start wiping their own ass?                             Why am I constantly losing my Tupperware?!

Florida                                                                                           Style

Food                                                                                               Current events

Syria                                                                                               whatever the fuck else tickles my fancy.

Old Gregg (Youtube his name 😊you will probably hate me for it haha)

Make-up

Tootles for now, I need to build a bookcase so I can finish unpacking. The joys of living alone as a woman! I am looking forward to chatting with all of you. Don’t forget to catch us on The Twitter and Insta! You know you want to see what we made for dinner!

-Halima

IG: Halibear1216

Twitter: @Halibear1216 and @momjawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wake Up America

Yesterday our President-Elect, Donald Trump, held  for the first time in 167 days a press conference. True to form Donald J. Trump found yet a new way to outrage me.

On Tuesday Buzzfeed and CNN both reported an unconfirmed report alleging that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”

Basically claiming that Donald Trump once visited Russia, stayed at a hotel and hired prostitutes to perform Golden Showers. Oh yeah and that they may have it on tape. Now given the fact that Little Donald feels entitled to “grab her by the pussy”, walk in on girls changing, and the that when fact checked, most of the things that come from his Twitter account are untrue. I for one think that this story does not seem so far fetched.

The claims made Little Donald very angry. So Donald did the only thing he knows how to do when being called out: bully, degrade, and try to silence anyone who does not agree with him.

Jim Acosta, a CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent, got lumped into Little Donald’s cross hairs when he tried to ask him a question. PEOTUS immediately spoke out to silence him by saying “Quiet…You are fake news.”

Trump silencing CNN as punishment for publishing an unflattering story about him is just…. I don’t even have words. And if this does not strike fear into your minds regarding freedom of the press which is essentially there to prevent the government from interfering with the distribution of information and opinions then I guess some of you don’t hold Freedom of speech as such an important thing to protect. Or maybe you just can’t see the bigger picture.

Now, I am by no means a Constitutional Expert but I am someone who fought for six years to defend the Bill of Rights. Among those rights the one I hold nearest and dearest to my heart is the First Amendment: Freedom of Religion, Speech and Free Press.

Trump does not understand that the First Amendment gives the press protection to publish ANY information or opinion that they desire.  How it is supposed to work, is if Little Donald feels that the press has published something false about him, he is well within his rights to try and sue for libel. He does not believe in free press. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Here is a tweet from @realDonaldTrump

capture

Free Press Tweet

 

What does Little Donald want? A government ran media like they have in North Korea?  Our Rights are being slowly infringed upon and America remains asleep.

 

New Year, New You?

Every time the New Year rolls around we are overloaded with Facebook status updates that say things like “New Year, New Me,” “Taking no Ls next year” or my favorite lie “2017 will be MY year.” 

Let’s be real here, turning 2016 into 2017 will not magically transform you into You2.0, nor will it fix the mess that is known as 2016. New Year’s Resolutions are stupid. Yeah, I said it. 

I know as a blogger I am going against the grain by not giving you a list of 20 things to put on your New Year’s Resolution list but the truth is: New Year’s resolutions only add pressure. 2016 has been rough on us all. 130 celebrities died, Brangelina split, America sold its soul to an orange con artist, and worst of all, the killings of unarmed people of color were at an all time high.  We deserve a break. 

How about instead of “New year,  new me” try “New year, same me, different outlook.”

We live in a world where people don’t go out and experience things just to say they’ve done it or for adventure. They go out to take a damn Instagram pic or check-in on Facebook to say “look at me and all the cool shit I do in life. Hah! My life is better than yours.” There is all this pressure to be  the perfect, photo ready, super mom, who has all her shit together. 

But the jig is up ladies: no one has their shit together. That is why we call it the human race. We are all just running around trying to get our shit together!

So in 2017 let’s not add pressure on ourselves to loose weight, find a husband or whatever. Let’s just follow three simple rules that any Mom Jawn can follow:

1. Learn to say “no” to people who expect too much from you and don’t offer anything in return. 

2. Be okay with saying “no” to these people. They will find someone else to suck the life out of. Trust me, you will thank me later. 

3. Cut out anything in your life that is not making you happy. 

Cut off Examples:

Shitty lovers: cut off

People who post things online that annoy, offend, or bring you down: cut off/unfollow 

Friends you have outgrown (people who have been in your life forever, but now bring you down because they are full of negative energy or limit your potential by not being supportive of your ambitions): cut off

Toxic people / relationships: YOU NEED TO CUT IT 

Unnessary spending: cut it

Excuses: cut it.

Saying “I’ll see you next year” at the end of December: cut it, that shit is played out.  

So since 2016 was the year of stupid freaking internet challenges I have a Mom Jawn challenge for you that may actually bring some positive change in your life if done right: 

Instead of writing down your New Year’s Resolutions, write down your Cut Off List of 2017. Post your Cut Off List on twitter and tag me in it @momjawn #MomJawn, or write your Cut Off List on your Facebook status sharing this post. 

Maybe next year I will write a list of resolution ideas for my readers, but this year I want everyone to take the pressure off themselves and just be happy. Happy with themselves, happy with their lives, happy with their parenting, happy in their relationships. Above all I hope you Mom Jawns truly have a HAPPY New year! 

. Military Story Time .

I was in the Military for six years. from time to time I will write blog posts about my experiences.

-SPC Winter Olivia

 

You own everything that ever happened to you.

Tell your stories.

If people wanted you to write warmly about them,

They should have behaved better.

 -Unknown

 

Is this it? This is how I am going to die? In the backseat of a Nissan?  Oh my God, I feel myself fading. What? He just called me a ‘Fucking cunt!’ That can’t be the last words I hear on this earth. ‘Fucking cunt’ out of all the words in the English language, those will be the last ones I hear? Fight Winter…Fight… Murder? Why did I even agree to come out tonight? It’s not like I had a choice, I was sick but he pressured me to go out drinking with his friends… He always does that. No, my life will not end at the hands of my husband.

His brown eyes looked black as he watched the light fade out of mine. What is going to happen to your little girls? Why are they not stopping the car? Why won’t they help me? “Chill bro!” I hear the driver say.  There was a girl in the front passenger side. Say something! Please! Why are they just sitting there? Stop the car please! The female in the front seat stayed silent. Weak bitch!

Fight back, Soldier…you’re not a weak bitch!

              Somewhere buried deep within me a rage arose. I shoved my thumbs into his possessed eyes. He bled and screamed, “How could you do this to me? You fucking bitch!” Bam! I was hit directly in the jaw. I saw stars. My jaw felt like it became unhinged as the side of my face slammed into the car door window. Tinggggggg is the sound I heard. His and the driver’s voices went into a slow-motion muffled sound. I was disoriented, and here came another blow came from this six-foot-two, twice-my-size infantryman. The words started to speed up from slow motion and I could make out the words, “Bro you need to chill, we’re almost at base.” I prayed for a red light but my prayers went unanswered as we neared the highway exit and the street light turned yellow. It’s now or never. You have to get out. I pulled the car door handle. Shit, the door is locked! As the car slowed down I unlocked the door and threw myself out of the moving vehicle and landed on the pavement. I rolled so I wouldn’t get hit by incoming traffic into the grass. I hadn’t noticed while we were driving that there was a thunderstorm going on.  Bloody, bruised, and broken I ran towards the Army base.  

“Ma’am, are you okay?” the military police on guard at the gate asked me. A group of military police started to gather around me. Everyone’s eyes were wide staring in disbelief. I tried to open my mouth and couldn’t. I can’t open my mouth. I need to tell them to stop that car. No words came out of my broken jaw, just gurgling sounds. Blood was spewing out of my mouth, and I didn’t notice that my peripheral vision on the left side was gone. The sounds that came out of me were hoarse, my vocal chords strained from the strangulation. I pointed to the car. In all the commotion, they had not checked the driver for his military ID, and he had to wait at the gate. They looked at the car and told the driver and passengers to exit the vehicle. The backseat passenger was covered in blood, scratches and bloodshot eyes. They immediately cuffed him and put him in the back seat of a squad car. He looked at me, and the damage he had done to my once symmetrical face did not seem to faze him. He looked angry like this was my fault. “Fuck you, bitch. You see what you do? This is your fault.” People were talking to me, but all I could hear were his insults. “Stupid bitch.” He began beating his own face into the back of the partition in the squad car. Slamming it over and over again. With every slam came an insult, bam-fuck you- Bam- ugly bitch- Bam- you’re going to regret this! I just stared in a daze at this man. Who was he? Why did he do this to me? I don’t know this man. Slowly I watched the realization of his actions creep on to his face as he stopped his self-harm.  He began to cry crocodile tears of empty regret. “Tell them to let me go…I’m sorry…I’m sorry… I’m sorry.”

The sound of the ambulance woke me out of my daze. I was whisked away from the crime scene and taken to the hospital. I don’t remember much after that. Pain meds and regret filled me for a while. Why did I agree to go out that night? I should have stayed home that night…  Days fused together and time seemed to run like pond water. I couldn’t cry; I did not have it in me.  I didn’t want to face my children. I was a soldier, supposed to be strong. However, when I looked in the mirror all I saw was a broken woman. Who am I, where did I disappear to? She was strong, I don’t recognize this weak battered woman. Soldiers are supposed to be able to defend themselves against predators. This girl let this predator leave hand print strangle bruise marks on her neck and swell her left eye shut.

 

 

 

“You have to understand your position in this company is very important and has high visibility, we can’t have a soldier who has ‘issues’ running the show downstairs so I think it’s best we move you,” my commander who was only a few years older than myself said. “You mean I am going to lose my position? Sir, I did nothing wrong, this happened to me. It will not happen again,” I pleaded with him. I loved my job. I worked on a base that was strictly for training civilians into soldiers (boot camp). I had my own office working with ‘broke soldiers’- civilians who were injured in training to become soldiers and who are waiting for a medical board to review their medical jacket and determine if they can continue their training. This job gave me the opportunity to mentor young people, and that was the aspect of my job I loved the most. “Sir, you do realize that before I got here this office was a mess, I fixed a lot of the issues within the office, this office runs smoothly now because of all the work I’ve done.”

“I understand that, Olivia, but I need someone that I can count on day in and day out. You taking all that time off left us scrambling.” Taking all that time off? I was on convalescent leave. The doctor put me on convalescent leave so I could heal. I wasn’t on vacation on an island. I was nursing my wounds. “Night IRB volunteered to take you in, so effective immediately you are assigned to them. I need you to go downstairs and pack your things, clean out your desk, email any current work to Carter, and head over to IRB.” Carter is replacing me? She’s an idiot! She’s overweight, she should have been chaptered out of the army years ago! Why am I the one being punished? I didn’t break anyone’s face. Night IRB? Really?

I was assigned to Night IRB, meaning, that I as a single mother of two children under the age of three was put on permanent night shift. The daycare center on base was only open during the day so this meant that I would have to find nighttime child care for my children on a single mom budget.

I had never seen the Night IRB soldiers but I had heard stories. These were the problem children of the battalion, essentially an orphanage for lost boys and I was the first female to be assigned to the unit. The first night I arrived to my shift, I quickly learned that the horror stories were true, this is where they sent Soldiers to die. There were two male soldiers sitting in the windowless, 80s style, fluorescent lit room. Their name tags read Thompson and Bronson. Thompson, a balding blond haired, pale skinned mouth-breather who looked like someone on the sex offender registry spoke to me first. “So you’re Olivia.” Bronson looked up from his work and chuckled to himself. “Nice to meet you Olivia. I’m SPC Bronson.” Bronson was definitely 8 months pregnant, and was sweating through his uniform even though we were in an air-conditioned basement. They both smelled.  This was my punishment for getting beat up. Sadly, this was not even the worst aspect of being in Night IRB. “Well I better show you how to work the machine.” Bronson smiled at me. Dear God, please do not let this fat fuck flirt with me. I will lose my shit. I walked over to the back of the room where giant typewriter-like machines were lined up. Thompson smugly said, “Bet you never had to make a dog tag up at Headquarters, huh?” Dog tags… I am going to be making dog tags? I’ve been in the Army for five years, I’ve worked with heavy brass in the army handling classified information. I’ve been the right-hand woman to a Commander of a Military Police Company, God dammit, I worked at Battalion level, what is this? DOG TAGS? They called me Loophole in Korea because I could find the loophole in any Department of the Army Regulation and make the system work the way I wanted. I was that good. Dog tags…I could cry right now. They sent me here to die, my career is dead. I will be doing mindless work for the rest of my tour here. Smelly Thompson showed me how to punch in the names into the keyboard. With every punch of metal I could feel my brain withering away. You don’t belong here, Winter, you should be out there with the troops like you used to before the attack. It became apparent to me that I was being punished.  People shunned me. I was banished to night shift never to be seen again. I didn’t deserve this. I was the victim. Yet, I was treated like the monster.

A few weeks later I was called in to speak to the Battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM). I did not know why, but naturally I knew it could have not been for anything good. I knocked on the door and was instructed to enter. I pushed the heavy door and there he was, standing at parade rest, my attempted murderer. I knew that I had to stand there next to the real monster at required position of parade rest in front of the CSM. My heart was pounding, the air was hard to catch, Tinnggggggg, the ringing came back to my ears and I began having flashbacks of that horrific night. I could feel my skin shifting between being cold and red hot at the same time underneath my uniform, my combat boots felt like they were filled with lead. But I was a Soldier, strong, resilient so my face remained stoic, and I took my position next to the animal who had tried to take my life a few weeks earlier.

“Well God damn, Olivia, I read this police report. You really got put through the ringer, I saw the pictures. Once I put that blotter report down all I could say to myself was Goooood damnnn.” He smiled, as if this was water under the bridge and something that we could now all laugh about. I stood there at parade rest, knees locked, stomach in knots, heart pounding with anger. I could feel the blood rush into my face. I hate him. How dare he think this was funny. Then again what did I expect from the CSM that called me into his office months ago to tell me that ‘there are two ways to have a family – a right way, and your way.’ He was a misogynist and had the rank to be arrogant about it. “What on earth did you do, Olivia, to make him so mad?” IS HE BEING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? WHAT DID I DO TO MAKE HIM SO MAD?  I froze, my mind was screaming obscenities, and I wanted to cry because I was so furious but I had no words. I knew that if I opened my mouth my thoughts would come flying like daggers out across his overpriced mahogany desk, and I would be in even more trouble. In the Army you cannot speak your mind to someone who outranks you. Everything you do can be perceived as disrespect. Perception is reality here. Disrespect can make you lose rank, money, and time. “Well come on now, what do you have to say for yourself, Olivia?” I specifically remember him saying to me. I desperately tried to gain my composure and decided what to say internally that would not land me in the hot seat. “I don’t know, SGT Major” were the only words that I could put out.

I was waiting for the CSM to begin to interrogate the criminal standing beside me. I wanted him to tear him down, like I have been demeaned for the last few weeks since the attack. I was ready to hear justice be served to this monster. “Alright, SGT, as for you, I feel like you’ve been punished enough, having to sit in jail. Going to court and all. To take your rank or anything like that  at this point would just be overkill. I want you two to go to marriage counseling. There is a retreat this weekend for couples in the battalion, you know for morale and such. I want you to be on that bus and go to the retreat and regroup, tighten up your shot group and come back to work on Monday and we will put this whole incident behind us.” His words felt like they were being tattooed on my skin, I was enraged; how dare he?

My husband, the monster, kept his rank, got to keep his job, had heavy brass show up with him at civilian court and was granted Pre-Trial Intervention. He worked the system that was specifically designed for him. But that’s what happens when the system slogan is Boys Will Be Boys.

. A Note from Winter .

Hey Mom Jawns! 

I have been neglecting my writing. I am sorry that I have been unable to post in the last week and a half. It was the end of my fall semester and I was terribly busy. Studying for finals, writing ten page papers, my six year old came home with head lice (😨😱,) and I also returned to work this week for the first time since the baby was born. 

I was busy. I was tired. I was pissed (about the lice.) Truth be told: I felt like I was ready to give up on life, so the blog fell by the wayside. Now that the semester is over (yayyyy!) and my body has adjusted to waking up at 5 AM to get three kids to three different schools in the morning. Let’s get back on track! 

After realizing that it was not the greatest idea to return to school so soon after having a new baby. I knew I had too much on my plate. I decided to reach out to one of my professors and plead my case. She offered me an alternative class that she created for me called Writing / Editing and told me to start a blog. If you are reading this Professor C., thank you again! 

Starting a blog was something I ALWAYS wanted to do, but I was unsure how to start or what to write about. So having this class actually gave me the motivation to put myself out there. Now that the class is over, I plan to continue with the blog and keep writing. I am going to share my life experiences, my advice, the stuff I care about, the stuff that makes me angry, basically whatever the hell Winter Olivia wants to talk about. I am really not concerned if my blog ends up being read by the masses. I am tired of being talked over and not getting credit for my ideas so this is where my voice will be heard. This is where my views on the world will be unapologetically shared. So I hope you stay for a while, comment, share, tweet and read…. and discover your inner Mom Jawn!

Up-Coming post: Elf on the Shelf ideas! 

Military Story Time 

And a funny tale about online dating! 

Black Friday Deals 2016

Last night I went to Target with my boyfriend and little ones to buy a Black Friday special TV (We got a 50 inch for $250!) While we were there I wanted to go look at the Dyson vacuums that were also on sale. As we were walking through the crowded store we found ourselves behind an obnoxious group of adults who were playing soccer in the aisle and holding up foot-traffic with their game. I kept my thoughts to myself and I tried to walk through the aisle around them. My thoughts must have crept onto my face because the overweight woman in the group yelled “Wow people are so cranky this time of night” (it was only 8:45 :/ ) Again, I keep quiet and kept walking. She proceeds to provoke me once more by saying “Watch out! Cranky Pants coming through!” I turn around and say “You know what you are doing is really immature. People are trying to walk and you are holding up the aisle with this game.” I walked away, both of my daughters holding my hands and boyfriend behind the group with the baby. The woman’s face looked embarrassed and I thought that was the end of our encounter. Until I hear, “I bet she voted for Hillary!” and the group all laughed. She might as well had said “This is OUR American now Senorita!”, because that is what her jab sounded like in my head. I told her who I voted for has nothing to do with the fact that she and her friends are acting like assholes and called her a racist. (I don’t know if she really is a racist, but at the time that’s what came out of my mouth.) The group ALL looked embarrassed and quickly left the area. I was really upset. I was upset with what they said to me and I was even more upset that my children were there to witness me lose my cool. I go Black Friday shopping every year and always enjoy going. But this year, I am not feeling it. So I curated a list for you guys if you want to avoid the crowd and shop online! Happy Shopping Mom Jawn has some deals for you on Black Friday 2016:

For Baby:

 

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Dockatot

Use my exclusive code: MomJawnCode for $10 off!

Dock-a-tot is expensive, but the internet is raving about them so I just ordered mine. You can even finance your dock with their affirm financing program.

 

 

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MilkSnob

I love my Milk Snob cover! This is a must have in my opinion if you are planning on breastfeeding. Use code: EarlyBird16 for 25% off your purchase.MilkSnob

 

 

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Ergobaby

With my first two kids I was unable to get an Ergobaby carrier because it was too expensive. This time around, a professor at my university gave me one in a box of hand-me-downs! I was thrilled! I absolutely love this thing. I use it when I’m at home and the baby gets fussy. I strap him in and go about my day cleaning or doing schoolwork.

Right now they are offering 30% off their Newborn Baby Bundle through 1/2/2017 Ergobaby

 

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Beaba

I got one of these off craigslist, however it was very hard to find secondhand. I looked for months and had to travel an hour to pick it up. This babycook is great if you want to know exactly what your little one is consuming. Right now if you use this code: VIP30 you can snag one for 30% off! Beaba

 

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4moms

4moms is expensive, but justifiably so. I have the RockaRoo swing and the Breeze playpen and I Love Love Love them! They are offering 20% off all gear with the code NOV16 and 50% off of the Bounceroo. 4moms

 

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Britax

If you have been reading my blog posts, you already know how strongly I feel about having a high safety rated car seat. My tried and tested favorite for all three of my children is Britax. Right now they are offering 35% off car seats and strollers through Amazon.

For you:

Banana Republic

Banana Republic is having their annual Black Friday 50% off sale. Use the code BRFIVE and get 50% off five regularly priced items! Sale ends 11/28.

 

Herbivore Botanicals

25% off with my exclusive code for new customers: MomJawnCode