Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolution Makeover



I am a resolution addict.  I love the rush that comes with the midnight countdown. THIS IS THE YEAR, I think. This time I'll do all the things I didn't do last year ... or the year before that. 

Since fourth grade, I've created lists of adventures to have, foods to try, places to go, and changes to make. Over the years, Become a spy and Discover unicorns have changed to standard basic adult-y things. Save $1,000. Lose weight. Don't stab anyone with a fork. It's a part of growing up, of course, but I've noticed my goals have morphed from things I want to do because life is supposed to be fun and lovely and exciting to things I feel like I have to do because I hate the way I am. Basically, every resolution I've made in the past ten years could be summed up as "Stop being a fucking loser." Not exactly healthy, especially when mixed with mental illness.
So THIS year, I'm examining the underlying motives for every goal I make. Guilt-based, self hate-based, "should"-based, all the things I resolve to do because I don't want people to judge me, all the resolutions that stem from the idea I'm somehow not good enough just the way I am - ALL OF THOSE - are getting canned.

ONE WOMAN'S STUNNING MAKEOVER! 
From this ...


To this!


If you haven't seen either of those movies, sorry. I don't do relevant very well. Also, you should probably resolve to watch more oldish children's movies.

As a completely hypothetical example, say I can't button my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans without damaging internal organs. Instead of Workout nineteen times a week and Subsist on kale, I'm resolving to GIVE IT UP AND BUY BIGGER PANTS, ALREADY and Substitute a candy bar for an apple twice a week.

Small, measurable, specific. Not completely impossible (which is, you know, kinda important.) I'm not setting myself up for failure, I'm not contributing to low self-esteem and feelings of failure, and I don't have to eat fucking kale. WIN.



In 2016, be the awesome person you already are. HAPPY NEW YEAR! <3
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

God Made Dirt. Satan Made Legos.

I'm a clean freak by design. I love order and labels and pretty much everything at The Container Store. Messes make me twitchy. Dirt gums up my mental processes. I have uttered the phrase, "Put your clothes in the goddamn hamper or so help me GOD" at least a thousand times.

Which means almost every single day for the past four and a half years, I've looked around my house  and silently WTF-ed.



Does it shock you? Disgust you? Make you wonder what the hell I do all day? (That'd be a "yes" for me.) Maybe you just feel relief that you're not the only one who can't see your floor. (I see you and send you a virtual hug, fellow parent.)

This is life. Every single day. MESS. For me, it's one of the hardest parts of parenting (the other three, in case you're wondering, are not knowing what the hell I'm doing, not being able to protect my kids from pain, and Legos. MOTHER FURCKING LEGOS.) I pick up twice a day, deep clean at least once a week, and "mini-clean" every two or three days. If anything, I clean too much when I should be spending time with my kids and family or doing something I enjoy ... or bathing. #guilt

But no matter what I do (or don't do), IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER. In the space of an hour dirt, germs, Hot Wheels, Barbie shoes, half eaten bagels, paper giblets, crayons, discarded clothing, mother furcking Legos, puzzle pieces, odd gooey blobs and various suspicious brown stains magically appear. All. Over. The. House.

Because kids? FREAKING MESSY.


Are there ways to deal with it? Sure. And they mostly suck.

For instance, I could police my kids every second and scream PUT IT AWAY a thousand times ... and completely stifle their imagination. (Done this.)

I could follow them around picking up their messes like a fucking cleaning fairy and make them think fucking cleaning fairies do indeed exist. (Also done this.)

I could plant their butts in front of the TV for ten hours at a time. (Maybe not a full ten hours, but this has happened, too.)

I could get overwhelmed, sink into my depression cloud and live in utter filth. (One of my favorite non-coping mechanisms.)

Or I could find a balance. Of course that would require figuring out how to temper my own virulent reaction to messes and what other people think of those messes. 

I could not base my sense of self worth on the relative sparkliness of my windows ... because seriously, how sad is that?

 I could accept that my carpet is stained and my walls are dirty and my heart is full and my hands are busy doing the important work of raising good people.

I can and will keep doing everything humanly possible to keep us afloat in a sea of Fisher Price crap, but it's going to be messy again in approximately two minutes.

So, if you happen to come over and you can't see the floor (because that would mean I duct taped the children to the wall and that's like, illegal or something), don't be scared! Grab a cup of coffee (and maybe a shovel) and join in the joyful chaos of our lives.

 (And please pry the Windex bottle from my cold clean freak fingers.)
P.S. Just realized I could also hire a maid. I better go dig up all that gold buried in the backyard. Ha.
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Why Gender-Stereotyped Toys Are Bad

Hey, happy Black Friday! If you're out and about looking for great deals today, may the odds be ever in your favor.

I forgot to share the following post during the Internet blitzkrieg over Target's decision to remove gender-specific decor from their toy section. It comes from research I completed for a gargantuan college essay on gender stereotypes. Keep it in mind as you start (or finish) your Christmas shopping this year. :)

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Gender-stereotyped children's toys are more prevalent today than they have ever been before. The primary reason for this is money (because it's always about the money). You can't just buy toys; you have to buy a Barbie for Sally and an action figure for Bobby. Twice the shopping, twice the cash, and there's still a 99.9 percent chance they'll end up playing with fighting over the boxes the toys came in.

The reason this is a problem is NOT because of the only thing anyone ever seems to think about these days (hint: it starts with an 's' and ends with 'x'). It's NOT about transgenderism or inclusiveness or the "gay agenda" or the breakdown of America's values. There are NO studies linking the types of toys children play with to their sexuality choices later in life, and people who say so (on both sides) are not only drinking the Koolaid of their media outlet of choice, they're injecting something as innocent as child's play with scuzzy undertones.

The reason splitting children's toys up according to traditional gender roles is bullshit is two-fold. First, society has changed dramatically over the past few decades. There are now stay-at-home dads and engineer moms and this is a good thing. Teaching and reinforcing 'traditional' gender roles with toys because we're trying to control our child's future is futile and irresponsible. We are supposed to be preparing them for the world they'll be living in, not clinging to the past because we're afraid or unfairly biased.

Second, children learn primarily through play. Cutting out half of the "tools" of their trade does nothing but destroy learning opportunities and stunt development. Art, science, dramatic play/dress up stuff, sports equipment - these things are all marketed to specific genders and there is no good reason for it.

Do you want your son to be a good dad? Let him play with dolls. Does your daughter love to build? By all means, get her some Legos (not just the pink and purple ones).

Let your sons make friendship bracelets. Let your daughters blow stuff up with chemistry sets. Let your kids be kids. It's not going to hurt them. In fact, they'll probably thank you for it.

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