Moms who drink, swear and CARE- Kicking pediatric cancer's ASS

“How can you possibly write such terrible things about being a parent? What is wrong with you? As a parent who has lost a child, I am offended by how ungrateful and clueless you are.” Name withheld

That email message wasn’t so much fun to receive.

In the early days of Moms who drink and swear when the power of the social media sent my rants beyond their intended targets, there was no shortage of angry parents letting me know how they felt about my musings. Understandable I suppose, but only for the people who didn’t take the time to understand the mission and purpose of the group and the blog. Readers of my blog know that my son was pretty close to being a child who lost a parent – to depression. If anyone is to blame for my potty mouth, it’s my father. I’d send the complaints his way but I can’t since he is DEAD. Cancer took him.


I don’t feel bad about venting about the difficulties of being a parent or my filthy language. I do feel bad that my friend and fellow blogger, Mary Tyler Mom (A.K.A. Sheila Quirke) lost her beautiful daughter, Donna, to that asshole of an opportunistic bastard known as CANCER. It’s hard to find a person who hasn’t been touched (I mean had their soul throttled) by this terrible disease.

In September of 2011, many of you were introduced to Mary Tyler Mom when I featured her 31 day blog series, “Donna’s Cancer Story,” on the Moms who drink and swear fan page. The posts were written daily by Sheila using her breathtakingly beautiful and brutally detailed Caringbridge journal posts written during their family’s journey through pediatric cancer. We all fell in love with the entire family and couldn’t help but root for them, knowing the story didn’t have a happy ending.  We became enamored not just of Sheila’s extraordinary story-telling skills, but also her willingness to hold nothing back.  If you haven’t read it, I recommend that you do.

In one particular blog entry, Sheila described how she felt frustrated with her daughter’s typical toddler tantrums and limit testing.  Sheila didn’t feel guilty about being exasperated with Donna when she pulling her best terrible two and three tantrums because she knew well enough to know that at the end of the day, cancer doesn’t make a kid any less likely to push the boundaries of even the most patient of parents. Donna was a little human who didn’t know a life that didn’t include “tubies” and chemo, but none of that stopped her from being a stinker if she wasn’t in a particularly cooperative mood. Sheila continues to write about whatever is in her heart and this includes having a glass of wine and muttering a few nasty words when Mary Tyler son decides to kick her or when she has to put him back in his big boy bed for the 26th times in a row before he decides to fall asleep.

Moms who drink and swear and Mary Tyler Mom are a true example of Yin and Yang; not opposing forces, but complimentary opposites using our gifts for a common purpose. We use different words, but we say many of the same things. Most importantly, we share the desire to raise our children in a loving and realistic environment and to use our expanding blog platforms to raise awareness and money for charitable causes closest to our hearts.

One of those charities, Donna’s Good Things, provides joyful opportunities for children facing adversity be it economic, familial, and social or health related.

Donna’s Good Things was started by the Mary Tyler Mom family to honor Donna’s life. I’m teaming up with them to do a good thing in March. We are participating in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Event on March 24th 2012 at the Candlelight Chicago, 7452 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60545. I will be there swearing and shaving heads. You will also be able to meet Mary Tyler Mom, Mary Tyler Dad and the hilarious and dynamic dinosaur loving Mary Tyler Son. If you cannot make it, please consider donating a couple of bucks to the cause.

“St. Baldrick’s is a volunteer driven organization that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization aside from the U.S. Government.” This is a reputable organization that has helped thousands of families. PLEASE CHECK THEM OUT.

You should also know that some fabulous and anonymous person will match every donation (up to TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS) made between February 14th and February 18th. $5 dollars becomes $10. Every cent matters. No donation is too small.

Here is an email message that was a joy to receive:

“Nikki and Moms Who Drink and Swear put Mary Tyler Mom on the map. Pediatric cancer is not the feel good story of the day, believe it or not, but because of her generous, loving, democratic nature, Nikki had the heart and courage to feature "Donna's Cancer Story" on her mighty social media feeds on a daily basis in September 2011, in effect enabling the face and voice of a woefully ignored and underfunded cause to be seen and heard. I call it "spreading Internet fairy dust," and Nikki has taught me well the power of using an honest voice and hard earned platform to make people laugh while challenging them to think and feel. Moms Who Drink and Swear also Care.”

Sheila Quirke – Mary Tyler Mom

So please spread some internet fairy dust and share my blog today. Also take some time to read the others posted on the Chicagonow site. Today we have chosen Donna, Mary Tyler Daughter, as our valentine. Our love letters to Donna are our blogs, asking our readers to give love to the children who are still fighting cancer.

P.S. This is me and Mary Tyler Mom and YES, we do have awesome racks.


Leave a comment
  • I love what everyone is doing with Donna Day. I'm so proud to be a part of it. Can't wait to meet you in March, Nikki!

  • Fantastic! I am SO excited and honored to be a part of this amazing group. In March, we shall be a group of gorgeous women with great racks, united for a cause. Looking forward to the big shave!

  • fb_avatar

    I found you through Donna Day - and how kick ass was that?! I read and discovered so many inspiring blogs and will be donating to the cause of course! But your blog struck a chord with me right from the start when addressing your "potty mouth" and crediting it to your Dad who has passed away from cancer. I can relate on every instance of that! I too partake in swearing like a sailor on leave and my father was taken from me much too soon by cancer. So I have to send you my love for putting a smile on my face and planting yourself in my memory. I couldn't agree more with you when you said, "FUCK YOU CANCER!". Lord knows I have shouted that out on more than one occasion! I know you will keep up the good work and fight the good fight as all great Moms do. Let the critics say what they will, they are going to anyway. I think your great! And I will stay tuned to see whats new and toast you on your adventures in swearing! Take care & thanks for sharing your thoughts. From one "awesome rack" to another! lol <3

  • fb_avatar

    I find your honesty refreshing and think that those who are offended are unable to face their real feelings. They equate complaining about your children with not loving your children and how sad is that? I know a few people gave me a hard time on my blog because they say it seems like I don't love being a mom or love my children. The way I see it, venting to anyone who is willing to read what I write can only help my relationship with my children. Perhaps if more parents had been so honest and approachable years ago, there would have been fewer cases of abuse--who knows? (Or am I just defending my child-bashing?!) I just wish that people would learn how to laugh at themselves and to stop taking everything so seriously. At any rate, I thank you AND Mary Tyler Mom for your humor and honesty and for not letting cancer win!

  • I'm a mama who is severely behind on her blog reading, thanks to y'know those mothering duties. But, as I catch up on reading blogs today, I have to say that I'm appalled that your post is the second one I read within an hour about nasty comments/emails to bloggers about their subject matter or approach or whatever. Seriously? Aren't blogs meant to be a very personal space that we get to develop in any manner we choose? And don't readers also have choice - as in they choose to read if they like what they see or they choose to not read, because a blog just doesn't jive with them? I really don't get where these remarks with such ill-force come from or what they expect to achieve by making them. Just wanted to let you know that honesty is a good thing, especially when a dose of humor is sprinkled on top. Keep it up!

  • fb_avatar

    I, as a single, child-free young woman, appreciate your blog for its snarky reality checks. I've always been afraid to become a mom because I don't think I have the "right" maternal instinct. You know what? You're inspiring someone who's been a career-focused person to say, "Hey, I think I could tackle motherhood and all of its crazy hurdles because this awesome woman has." All the ups and downs that you share? Awesome. Life isn't all peaches and cream all the time.

    So thank you. Keeping you and your friends in my thoughts through your difficult times.

  • fb_avatar

    Amazing event today! Amazing people! So honored to be able to participate and so proud to be bald!!!

Leave a comment