Sep 162015


Sometimes I take the girls to the Humane Society, to visit the cats. On one of our last visits, each girl was immediately drawn to a particular kitten. I had a favorite too. I secretly named her Maleficent because she was dark and regal and full of dignity. Tish, Amma, and I quietly snuggled with our favorites for a while. Then I looked at Tish and said, “Why is that one your favorite? What do you like so much about that one?”

Tish looked down at her kitten and said, “I think because she likes me. She came over and wanted to play with me.”


Then Amma said, “Me too. I like mine because she likes me. She keeps staying close to me and looking up at me.”

Amma and Kitten

Hm. I was surprised. I was expecting the girls to say: I like that she’s fluffy, I like that this one’s striped. I like that this one’s energetic. But they didn’t say that at all. They just said: I like the one that likes me.

So I looked down at Maleficent and thought, Huh. Same here. I didn’t even notice that she was regal and dignified and warm until she came over and sat with me. First, she liked me. Then, I liked her.

I really, really think the secret to being loved is to love. And the secret to being interesting is to be interested.  And the secret to having a friend is being a friend.

Why don’t we want to believe that? We insist that we need to be the smartest kitten or the most interesting kitten or the most successful kitten or the most beautiful kitten to get people’s attention. But maybe we don’t. Maybe we just have to show a little interest . Maybe the surest way to be liked by people is simply to like people.

But that’s a risk right? To openly like someone? To admit to someone: I like you. I’d like to spend time with you today. It’s to risk rejection. It’s vulnerability. It’s brave.

Be brave. Like somebody.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Sep 102015

Originally published October 2014

This is what happened yesterday.

Yesterday morning I was sitting in my cloffice trying to write words. Every day, from 6 am – 10 am, I try to write words. Then I leave my safe, tiny cloffice and force myself—for the rest of the day—to be part of the scarier real world. This is how I avoid becoming lost forever in my mind world. That is no place to get lost forever. The real world with real people and real animals and other brutiful, terrifying real things is the place to mostly be.

Yesterday when my morning writing time was almost over, I looked at the side of our Facebook page and saw that a reader named Nicole had posted something very special. Nicole’s friend lost her baby boy, Liam, last year. October 3rd—today—is the first of his birthdays that his family will spend without him. Liam’s mama asked her friends to commemorate the day in a couple of special ways. One was a random act of kindness. The other was releasing a red balloon.

I clicked on the link to Liam. I looked at Liam’s gorgeous face and my heart ached for his mama. I immediately remembered Ansley and her precious mom and how she taught us that we need to show up in real, physical ways for those who are grieving. Turning feelings into real, physical, tangible things is important to me. When it comes to compassion, it is easy to get lost in the mind/feelings/ideas world. If I leave it there—if I just “feel sad” for someone and then try to move on, moving on becomes difficult. Sadness without any action is very sticky. I get stuck. And so I often have to take my sadness into the real world and turn that energy into something beautiful. It’s not like this for everyone, I understand, but for me it is. I need my love for others to become real—to be able to see it and touch it and hear it. Otherwise I start losing track of what’s real. I start doubting myself. Do I really love? Do I really hope? Do I really feel sad for others? Do we really all belong to each other? Yes. I know I love and I know I feel and I know we do because I did it and I saw it and I felt it and I heard it.

I have to make invisible things visible so I can keep believing in invisible things.

And so I got in my car and I went to the dollar store to try to turn my sadness into something beautiful for Liam’s mama. And I got home and after doing the beauty I wrote this and posted it.


Dear Liam’s Mom,

My name is Glennon and I’m a mama, too. Your friend, Nicole, posted something on my wall this morning that made me ache. She wrote that you lost your precious Liam last year on October 3. Nicole added that you asked your friends to perform acts of kindness or release red balloons tomorrow to mark this sacred anniversary.

After I read Nicole’s post, I drove to my local dollar store and asked the nice lady behind the counter for “a red balloon for a boy named Liam.” She went into the back and then returned and said, “we don’t have any plain red balloons left. We only have shiny red hearts back there.”

I smiled and that thing happened in my throat—you know when everything swells huge and you can’t talk and you have to swallow hard and then hold your breath for a second? I recovered quickly and said, “Of course. Perfect. I’ll take one. One shiny red heart, please.”

Then I came home and Craig looked at me funny because I was carrying Liam’s shiny red heart. So I told Craig all about your Liam, and I asked him to come outside with me to release Liam’s balloon. We stood together in our front yard and squinted into the light and watched Liam’s balloon float forever through the bright, blue sky. Craig said, “It looks like it’s dancing, doesn’t it?” 

liam's balloon

Liam’s mom, I don’t know you. But I felt your love for your boy today while I watched that red, shiny heart dance toward the sun. Feeling another mother’s pain and love in your own heart is hard magic, but it’s magic just the same. So I just wanted to say thank you for that magic today, October 2nd. Liam Eve.

Thank you, Liam’s mom. I am so, so sorry. Liam was just beautiful.



And then I went to take a shower because I’m trying to do that more often. And also because the whole thing was very, very emotional and I was trying to push the reset button. And then I came back to the computer. And underneath the post I had written there were a million comments pointing out problems with my offering. People were ANGRY for these reasons:

First of all—balloon releases are, apparently, problematic for the environment. People were upset that not only had I released one—but that my action might encourage others to do the same.

Second of all—Liam’s day was October 3rd, but I had gotten confused and done the release on October 2nd.

I sat stunned at the computer. Then I became immediately furious at everyone. I suddenly HATED everyone who cares about balloons and the environment. I suddenly HATED everyone who always knows what day it is. And I suddenly HATED everyone in the whole entire world who has ever used social media. (Embarrassment is a ship that will take you from Love, Love, Love Island to Hate, Hate, Hate island in one second flat.)

I jumped onto the comment thread and broke my only Momastery rule for myself and I STRAIGHT UP LIED. I typed, “I KNOW what day it is. I did this on October 2nd ON PURPOSE.”  Lies, Lies, Lies. When I saw this ridiculousness typed out in black and white, I realized I was out of control. I pictured Jesus covering his sweet face with his hands, peeking through his fingers down at me and uttering, “OH NO, SHE DIDN’T to the angels.

I gathered all my precious hate tight around my heart and I called Sister and started yelling things to her.

“What if Liam’s mom sees all of this controversy about her day? What if everyone hates me for releasing balloons? Why does everyone want me to be all imperfect and then when I am imperfect they want me to be perfect? How come I never know what day it is??? WHAT THE HELL IS THE THING ABOUT THE BALLOONS????? How am I supposed to know everything? I was trying to do something KIND and I screwed it all up and I can’t do this anymore. I can’t I can’t I can’t. I hate everything and everyone.”

Then I started crying, you guys. Of COURSE. And then I went for a walk and said lots of prayers, which basically just means that in rhythm with my steps I said. “Help, Help, Help me make this crap beautiful” again and again with occasional really, really bad curse words laced in between the helps.

And I heard what I ALWAYS hear when my pride is all scuffed up and my heart is darkening and I’m wanting to SHUT DOWN and retreat and lick my wounds forever. I hear: STAY OPEN. STAY OPEN. STAY OPEN.

You guys, that’s the only way to make a mess beautiful. Stay Open. To everyone and everything. All the time. Tweet: The only way to make a mess beautiful is to Stay Open. To everyone and everything. All the time. @momastery I’m absolutely convinced of this horrible truth. The good news is that I know this. The bad news is that Staying Open is the hardest thing on Earth.

Thank God We Can Do Hard Things.

So I came home and walked back into my cloffice and sat down at my computer and took a deep breath. And I clicked on one of the anti-balloon links. And there I saw pictures of baby birds and all kinds of animals that had been killed by fallen balloons. My open heart took that in. I got a little squirmy. Squirmy is how you feel when your open heart starts to get a little bigger without your expressed permission.

And I thought: Could this be an AND/BOTH situation? Could I AND the anti-balloon people be acting out of love? Could we both be doing the best we can to heal the world?

Yes, damnit. Of course that’s true. (Additionally- damnit again, for good measure.)

I’m not going to release any more balloons, ever. And I don’t hate you, anti-balloon readers. I love you. I get it. I understand. I didn’t know. We do the best we can and then when we know better we do better. (Dr. Angelou, of course)

Also, sorry about all the lying. Please forgive me. I had no idea what freaking day it was. I don’t have a calendar.

All the magic in the world happens when we undig our heels. We gotta be fluid. We gotta be more fluid. We gotta be willing to be MOVED if we want to feel moved.

Liam, in honor of you and your mama, I stayed open. I learned something new. I made some mistakes but then I tried to make my mess beautiful for you.

Originally published October 2014

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

Sep 022015

It's Not You. It's Them.

I wrote this facebook post last month when I was losing my mind. No, I take that back. I was not LOSING my mind — my people were TAKING it. Difference. Anyway, so many people have requested copies of this rant that we decided to let it live on the blog. Here you go. Listen: there are two ways to approach parenting: CHOOSE THIS WAY AND YOU MIGHT JUST SURVIVE.



Kay. At 2 am Child 3 shook me awake from a dead sleep to report with terror that: MOMMY! I JUST OPENED MY EYES AND IT WAS ALL DARK AND I WAS ALONE IN MY BED!! Once again, I explained that this was not a description of some shocking, unique horror but THE NORMAL PROCESS OF SLEEPING. “That’s just SLEEPING,” I said to my girl as she stared at me with a face that asked: “what is this “sleeping” of which you speak???? Is this something people DO?”

At 9 am I sat across the kitchen table, bleary-eyed, listening to Child 1 present a serious case for why he should get PAID by ME for, basically, breathing. Just breathing is what I gathered from him. Existing. Something about human rights. I don’t even know. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was so freaking tired from Child 3’s Breaking Sleeping News that I just picked up my coffee and said: “I need you to stop talking. Just stop talking. Now, please.”

At 10 am I took Child 2 with me to the store. There was a bird in a cage at the store. Child 2 spent ninety seconds with this bird. Upon leaving the store, Child 2 looked at me and said, “Mom, instead of buying me a horse, I’d like you to buy me a bird.” I stared at Child 2 and eventually said, “WHAT THE? I am not buying you a horse, or a bird, or even a popsicle. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, child? Get in the car.” It has been one full hour and Child 2 has not stopped talking about this bird. Apparently, I have ruined her life because — and I quote: “You say you value family, Mom. That bird was my family.”

I do not know. I just do not know.

Listen to me. Every time I go to speak somewhere — tired, worn out, wild-eyed mamas raise their tired hands and say to me, “Glennon, I feel like I’m losing it at home. I feel CRAZY.”

HOLD. UP. Okay: for obvious reasons, I am no parenting expert. But I know a helluva lot about crazy. And I want you to trust me on this one. I want you to write this down and put it on your fridge for me:



Listen: I spent time in a mental hospital and I am here to report that everyone, every single one of the beautiful folks I lived in there with was more reasonable than the small people I live with now. All of them.

YOU ARE GOOD AND NORMAL AND REASONABLE. IT’S THEM. The crazy is not in your head. It’s IN YOUR HOUSE. We have to wait them out. Tweet: IT'S NOT YOU. IT'S THEM. The crazy is not in your head—it’s IN YOUR HOUSE. We just have to wait them out. @momastery We just have to smile and wait them out. We have fought too hard for our sanity to lose it now.

Repeat after me: It’s not me. It’s THEM.

I love you. 10 hours till bedtime. Godspeed.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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