Category Archives: commentaries

three pieces of parenting advice for kate middleton.

Hello Kate!

As you snuggle that new, yummy little bundle of royal joy (now, we have learned, you have named George) I realize that, even for someone who probably has her own staff of child rearers within an arm’s length, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. That’s okay. Contrary to your life circumstances, this is completely normal.

In all your abundant down time, please take a moment to read my three biggest pieces of advice for surviving your first year of motherhood. After all, I AM a mother of a one year old now, so I basically know everything.

will_kate

1. try to breastfeed.

Not only is it best for that little future king, and the snuggles are so great, and it’s cheaper than formula (LOLOLOLOL LIKE YOU EVEN NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THAT) but it also will help you speedily drop the three pounds of baby weight you gained. And don’t worry if it takes you and George a while to get used to it. It took my son and me three weeks to really get it down to a science. Also, don’t worry if you can’t breastfeed or decide you don’t want to. It doesn’t make you any less of a mother. So long as you are feeding your son SOMETHING, you’re good. But regardless of what you do, people (tabloids?) are going to have an opinion. Which brings me to my next piece of advice…

2. comparison is the thief of joy.

You may have royal girlfriends who are giving birth around the same time as you and so you naturally compare George to their kids’ growth and demeanor. Or maybe you know people who had children a little bit before you so they ask you questions about George’s behavior/development/whatever. Or maybe you’re curious about something so you Google it. JUST DON’T. It will steal every ounce of baby-inspired joy you have in your body. The second you ask someone something about their kid, or Google something about “normal milestones”, you’ll be freaking out because George isn’t sleeping all the way through the night yet or talking soon enough or walking fast enough or using the “pincer grasp” or spelling out complete sentences in sign language on his first birthday. It’s poison. Go with your gut instincts. No one knows that kid better than you do.

3. the first year is not indicative of your child’s entire life.

The first three months of your kid’s life may damn near kill you. That’s normal. The first year of his life may be the most challenging 365 days you face as a woman. But hear this — it gets better. Every day it gets better. One day, you’ll wake up in an overtired panic around 4am only to find that your baby actually hasn’t woken up yet, and you’ll rush to his royal cribside to find him soundly sleeping for the first time, and you’ll cry tears of joy and think to yourself that you never thought you’d get there but you did. And one day, you’ll get to the end of your day and realize that, for the first time, there wasn’t a single meltdown (from George or you) and you’ll think to yourself foolishly, “I could have another…”

So when (not IF, but WHEN) things get rough, know this — you’re made to do this. And even on days you don’t think you’re doing it, you are. Because just by being George’s mama, you’re doing it.

Oh you’re also a princess but whatever.

Last thing — is the hair/makeup team you had come to the hospital cheap? Just curious. I’d like to hire them for my next baby delivery.

Cheers, Kate and George! (Oh and William too, I GUESS.)

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Filed under baby love, commentaries, motherhood

the economic cost of obesity. [video]

This Friday marks one year since I became a mom.

That’s right — my baby boy is turning one.

But something else turns one on Friday — my freakish paranoia about the food industry.

Something about becoming a mom made me extremely fearful of the food that’s available out there; as it stands right now, if I can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from and how it came to be, I don’t want to feed it to my kid.

Because of this, I’m choosing Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the Green Wise organic section of Publix instead of my used-to-be go-to WalMart. And it’s getting expensive.

Like, really expensive. (Here’s a figure for you — I spent $42 at Publix today on TWO dinners for my family. TWO. Either I’m doing something wrong or healthy, organic, clean food is just that much more pricey.)

A couple weeks ago, Dan and I were out running errands. While out, I remembered that I was out of sandwich-makings, so I asked if we could stop by the nearest grocery store so I could grab some spinach, tomatoes, meat, and hummus.

The neighborhood we were in was a poorer one, but there was a WalMart nearby. So we stopped and went in.

I was so saddened by what I saw.

There was nothing — I repeat — nothing in the grocery section of this lower-income store that wasn’t processed. Nothing. Not a single piece of fruit. Not one vegetable. Nothing. Only boxes and boxes of fatty, sodium-rich, nutrient-free garbage.

And we wonder why America looks the way it does.

This video by Academic Earth illustrates just how much money we, as a country, are putting toward healthy food versus junk food. It was eye-opening but after this trip to WalMart, it also makes a whole lot of sense.

Take a look at the video here.

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what i learned from a social media fast.

It’s as if I’m waking up from a long nap. I’m rubbing my eyes and stretching and grunting, recoiling from the blinding sunlight that’s screaming through my window.

But that’s not what I’m doing at all. I’ve been awake this whole time. The sun has risen. It has set. Numerous times, in fact. But I just haven’t tweeted about it.

My social media fast is officially over. 

As I’m slowly starting to ease back in to the world of status updates, tweets, and likes, I am also carefully redefining what it means for me to live in an over-connected yet under-personal world.  And, like any good blogger, I’d like to thrust upon you my new-found knowledge.

Free of charge, of course.

four things i learned from my social media fast:

1. posting on the internet is like getting a virtual tattoo.

I know you can technically “delete” posts and photos and tweets and whatnot, but honestly, nothing is ever really gone once it’s on the internet. It’s as forever as a butterfly tramp stamp, so it’s important to be really intentional and (gasp) think before you post/tweet/Instagram. (This was really convicting for me to learn, actually. I still haven’t re-downloaded the Twitter app for this reason. I’m pretty sure that 90% of my tweets were like bad tattoos I can’t get removed. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to go under that needle again just yet.)

2. boundaries are important.

Social media is built on relationships. In IRL relationships (oh yeah, busting out the internet lingo) it’s important to have boundaries, so why would social media be any different? Before, I had absolutely zero boundaries regarding social media. People I hadn’t talked to in ages could post something that would ruin my entire day. That’s not fair to the people with whom I actually do maintain real relationships. Coming back into the world of social media I’ve set my own personal boundaries to make sure I’m in control of the consumption and not the other way around. (For example, I have disabled push notifications on my iPhone. I found that if my phone told me I had notifications on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I would put everything on hold until I checked and cleared them. With push notifications off, I can check my social media at designated times during the day, when I’m not doing anything else that is more important, to make sure I’m intentional, timely, and still engaged with what’s going on around me. This also discourages mindless scrolling through updates, which is important because…)

3. i don’t really care.

Yep. I don’t. This is probably the most valuable lesson I learned on my fast. The truth, no matter how harsh it may sound, is that I really don’t care if one of my 900-some Facebook friends posts a status about doing laundry or making dinner. I just don’t care. I have better things to do with my time than scroll through countless empty updates of the mundane. The people with whom I have real relationships? I know what’s going on in their lives because we intentionally seek each other out through phone calls, texts, and (wait for it) coffee dates and lunches.

4. real life is so much better.

It seems like this should go without saying, but life is so much more fun to live when you don’t have to worry about whether or not you need to post about it. A few weeks ago, my phone fell behind the couch a few minutes before I was to leave for bible study. I almost left it there because I really felt like I didn’t need it. But I did retrieve it in the event that I were to get in a horribly debilitating car accident on the way across town. I also intentionally left my phone at home last night when Dan, Dax, and I went out to dinner. It was so liberating to know I really, truly, didn’t need it because the only people with whom I needed and wanted to engage were right there with me.

I feel really good now. Really good. I feel refreshed, renewed, and like I have a handle on this again.

Have you ever done a social media fast? Are you considering it? Why or why not?

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if a tree falls in the woods and you don’t tweet about it…

I know. I need to blog. But what’s a blog? I don’t even know. I’ve been spending so much time pretending the Internet doesn’t exist that I don’t even remember how to interact with it anymore. I haven’t Facebooked, Tweeted, or Instagrammed anything in weeks. What am I doing? Where am I going? I have no direction in life!

And this is what befalls a blogger who goes on a social media fast.

Can’t I just tap dance for you? I’m really good at it. Promise. Took lessons for so many years.

Speaking of lessons, here’s something I’m slowly learning on this social media fast.

You know those people who put pictures of their food on Instagram? Or post a Facebook status about finally being able to fit into their skinny jeans? Or tweet about getting a promotion? 

I’m not so far removed from the social sphere that I don’t understand the appeal of doing any of those things. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I love me some food (but not as much as my baby). But I think now that I’ve stepped back a bit, I have a better grip on the why behind this behavior.

Before I go on, I’d just like to dust my shoulders off and say that I do have a degree in mass communication with a minor in psychology from a Florida state school so I obviously know what I’m talking about to an extent. (I also know which bars you should go to and on which nights in order to get the highest volume of alcohol for the lowest amount of cash.)

The old adage asks the question, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” I’d argue that today the question is, “If you do something in life but don’t tweet about it, did it really happen?”

While I don’t know for sure if this is the root of our Internet addiction and our need to be virtually affirmed, I definitely know that our culture does suggest that if it isn’t on social media, it isn’t real.

How sad.

That’s why when you tell your best friend that you’ve started seeing someone, she immediately asks why it isn’t “Facebook official” yet. Or why you upload a picture of your baby smiling to Instagram (but not a picture of them screaming). Or why the first thing you do when your alarm goes off in the morning is sleepily scour your Twitter feed.

I’ve been struggling a lot with this. Inner parts of my being are wracked with guilt over the fact that only a handful of people (those who I can show it to in person) have seen my baby say “dada” because I haven’t uploaded the video to Facebook. So, like, what if no one believes me? Or cares? I can’t gauge the world’s affirmation of my personal life because no one can like or comment on this video! It’s terrible!

I don’t think I’m ready to come back just yet. But I’m really enjoying re-learning how to process things and experience life in private.

That said, if you’re struggling with being affirmed by trolls on the Internet, just look at this gif.

i_can_typing-26439GOD IT JUST GETS ME EVERY TIME! I CAN’T STOP LOLLING RIGHT NOW.

 

 

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update from the dark.

Oh hey, there. I know. It’s been quiet around here. Here’s why.

One week ago, I read this disturbing article about how the Internet — social media in particular — is making us crazy. It really freaked me out. It gave me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.

So I decided to go on an indefinite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) fast. Not just a “fast”, either. Like I legitimately deleted the apps from my iPhone and EVERYTHING. (Crazy, right? My smart phone is pretty dumb at this point. Unless you give some cred to the Uno app which, by the way, is super duper and I’m so glad I spent 99 cents on it!)

It’s not that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are inherently bad, perse. That’s not what I’m saying and I don’t think that’s what the article is saying. But it did raise a lot of harrowing truths about our society’s obsession with and actual addiction to these sites and the Internet as a whole.

I’ve been on this “cleanse” for about a week and already I see how I was basically tethered to social media. So many times in the first 24 hours of this fast I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone, unlocking the screen… only to come to and realize that — oh yeah — I have nothing to look at. I “tried” to tweet FOUR TIMES while I was at the farmers market with my son. Four. Times.

Yikes. What in the name of all things holy would I need to tweet at 9am on a Saturday outing with my baby? That the carrots look extra orange today? The yellow squash is just a tad squishy for my taste? That the Maya Wrap is still ruling our world at 8 months? That there is a Girl Scout cookie booth set up for the first time? (Okay, that one almost deserved a tweet. Also I did buy Thin Mints and Trefoils, obviously.)

It’s been quite the sobering experience. But also liberating. I feel like I’m finally back in touch with reality.

That said, this week has been one full of things that are actually kind of social media worthy. So, without further ado:

HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS I’VE BEEN DYING TO TWINSTABOOK (Twitter-Instagram-Facebook) ALL WEEK:

1. my son’s milestones.

Well, this week was fit for the baby book, y’all.

  • FIRST WORD. Yep, this is a biggie. Dax said his first word just hours after I went on my social sabbatical. Of course. His first word was “dada” and everything is dada right now. Dada is dada, of course. But I am also dada. Also the pacifier. Also food. Also you. Yes, you reading this. You are dada, no paternity test required.
  • We are fitting him for his first suit! He’s the ring bearer in my cousin’s wedding next week. You guys. Wait until you see. You will pass out from the cuteness.
  • FOURTH TOOTH. There are four little chompers in that mouth now. In case you are wondering, we are still breastfeeding like champs and he doesn’t bite. * phew *
  • EIGHT MONTHS OLD. Ack. Time. Where are you going?!

8 months

2. i got straight bangs. 

Y’all. I haven’t had bangs like this since I was SEVEN. That is literally TWENTY YEARS AGO. Yikes. Anyway, my normal stylist is on maternity leave for another month but I had some serious roots showing and am in a wedding next week. So I saw my other friend and let her run wild on my head, which meant straight bangs and ombre color. Here is the before/after photo.

before_after

3. we’ve got some prospects.

We’ve been doing a lot of interviewing in central (and even south?) Florida, so I think we might not actually be homeless at the end of April. Hooray!

4. i’m learning photography.

I’m taking an online photography certification course which is, eh, okay I guess. Not because I want to be a professional photographer by any means but because I have a kick-butt DSLR that I’ve been treating like a point-and-shoot and I’m just over it. The whole point of me shelling out the cash for a DSLR was so I could take good pictures of my baby and not fork over money to legit photographers. Sorry for the honesty, y’all but we broke folks GOTTA BRING THE HUSTLE.

So. What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this photography class?

It’s freaking hard, okay. So much more difficult than just having a nice camera. Pat a photographer on the back next time you see one. Respect.

Alright, so, now you’re caught up! Back to your regularly scheduled Internet addiction.

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mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, food bytes, life, motherhood, rants

a clarification.

Yo. Readers. Sup.

I get a lot of comments on my blog, both in the actual comments section and on Facebook, that are really encouraging. Stuff like, “OMG don’t feel bad about yourself! You are great! You are lovely! Don’t worry about pleasing other people!” And so on and so forth. Very uplifting, very sweet, and very much what I need to hear sometimes.

But I need you all to know something.

I don’t write this blog to fish for encouragement. That is not my intention at all.

At this point in my self-love journey, I get all the encouragement I need from my own self-talk, the people closest to me, mentors, my faith and prayer time, and all the bags of salt and vinegar chips I can get my hands on. Fear not! I am not lacking in that department at all. I write this blog because I want to normalize and talk about the very real insecurities a lot of us women have that, for whatever reason, we feel the need to cover up most of the time. I write to point out what is real and what is true so that everyone who stumbles across my little corner of the internet can heavily EXHALE and think, “Thank goodness I’m not the only one.”

That’s really it.

Don’t get me wrong — this is not to say that I don’t enjoy your comments. I really really do. They bring me life and joy and peace. So keep them coming if you so wish. I just don’t want you to think that if you don’t comment on my blog a rebuttal to every satirical self-deprecating post I write, I’ll jump off the nearest bridge. Don’t worry. I won’t.

Unless the nearest bridge crosses over a river of chocolate. In which case, well… I can’t make any promises.

creep

Mmmm. River of chocolateeeee…

 

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