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Redneck Mommy on Rats, Raising Teens and Hating the R-Word

Apr 1, 2013 at 11:05 AM Chime in now

Tanis Miller

Editor's note: Meet our new blogger, Tanis Miller: She's heartfelt, hilarious, a fabulous writer, a testament to mothering well under presssure and a "Redneck Mommy". She uses the word "skeevy" like nobody's business, dyes her pubic hair blue, and has a glasses fetish. But most of all, she's proof of the amazing voices we have across Canada! Woohoo! Let us know what you think. We're sure you'll love her too.

Rats, Raising Teens and How I Became "The Redneck Mommy"
By TANIS MILLER, The Redneck Mommy

I was 11 when I had my first real brush with death. Like the naïve city kid I was I had no idea that it was a bad idea to walk behind an already annoyed skittish horse.
Common sense has never been my strength and as I was sent flying backwards into a stack of straw bales my father’s voice suddenly rang in my ears, “Watch where you are walking.”
Thanks Dad. Wise words I’ve heeded ever since.
Luckily for me, I never damaged what I discovered what was a prize-winning stallion with my face. Not so luckily for me, I ended up with a broken nose and an actual hoof print imprinted on my face for weeks to follow. 
I do believe that was the day all common sense was knocked out of me for good.
Which is probably why I decided to start a blog and call myself the Redneck Mommy. A quick Google search would have revealed there was a rat farmer in Alabama who called herself a redneck mommy and I would have likely abandoned my tongue in cheek blog name and settled on something less rodent-related. But by the time I was smart enough to check on such things, I was already well entrenched in my new cyber world. In for a penny, in for a pound. Or a few rats anyways.
But it was in those wee hours of the night as I sat behind a bright computer screen and typed the words Redneck Mommy for the first time that my life changed once more.
After nine years of marriage and parenting three smalls I had faced death again and this time I walked away with more than just a horseshoe imprint on my face. My youngest son, Shale, born profoundly disabled, had up and died on me a few months earlier, with no fan fare, no warning.
As quickly as I punched the enter key on my computer, my son was gone. And with it, he took everything I knew and left me with a broken heart, a shattered life and a tombstone to visit.
My entire identity was wrapped up in being this boy’s mom, a figurehead in the disability community and the glue that held our family together. His absence created a vortex I have yet to be able to fill and I no longer knew who I was. 
So I created the Redneck Mommy to help remember who I used to be and who I could be once more. I used my words to carve the memories of my son into stories I could share with my kids later and every time I pressed publish I slowly found a new piece of myself I could call Tanis.
Redneck Mommy helped heal the fracture in my life and like Humpty Dumpty I was slowly putting myself together with the glue of my words and the community I discovered on the other side of the computer screen.
I haven’t been able to find out whatever happened to the rat-farming redneck mommy. I’ve always been curious. Why exactly does one farm rats?
I no longer struggle with my identity. I know who I am now, even if it took me years to discover myself. I am more than just a mother, a wife and the Redneck Mommy. 
I’m a gal who writes about dying her pubic hair blue to surprise her husband. I’m a lady who writes about getting her nipples pierced and then having them ripped out by her dog. I’m a woman who publicly documents her adoption journey and is almost sent to the nut house by a government appointed psychiatrist by doing so.
I’m the girl who writes about why using the r-word breaks my heart and I’m a woman who writes about raising teenaged kids without any real adult supervision around. I’m a woman who adopted a deaf, blind, mentally delayed quadriplegic child just because I could.
I’m all of this and more. I’m Tanis, the Redneck Mommy. I’m just starting to scratch the surface of whom I am. And I’m really glad to have iVillage.ca and its community along for the ride as I travel the rollercoaster known as life.
Just remember to watch where you walk and be on the lookout for flying horseshoes. They aren’t as lucky as people like to think. Especially if they're still attached to a horse.

Are you a fan of the Redneck Mommy? What matters to you as a mom? Click to comment below!

Read more top stories in iVillage Parenting:
Her Bad Mother: Why Co-Sleeping Isn’t for Cold-Hearted Baby-Shunning Fools
Her Bad Mother: What I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Mom
Her Bad Mother: Is Hired Help the Modern Mom’s Dirty Secret?


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