Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Open Letter to the Vagina Cookie Lady

Dear Crazy,

I heard about what happened the other day, and I think we can all agree that bringing a plate of vagina cookies into a second grade classroom is an amazing idea. I can't believe that close-minded, hun of a teacher refused to serve them! I don't blame you for sending those nasty, condescending, faux-feminist messages wishing her physical harm. I'm almost certain the majority of actual feminists out there are super appreciative and proud of the example you set. 

Good for you. 

I for one would have been really impressed if my son had returned home that day and responded to, "What did you do at school today?" with, "I ate a vagina." You're totally right! I mean seriously, if he's not going to learn how to "please" a woman by second grade, when the hell will he? I found your expectations to be well within the boundaries of an elementary school education, and am simply flabbergasted to hear the administration has forbid you from stepping foot on school property. 

Do you do parties? I have a friend whose daughter is turning six soon, and I'm sure she would love the opportunity to encourage a little vagina pride in the form of delicious baked goods. 

Call me. 

**Disclaimer** Snopes has neither confirmed or denied that this event actually took place. Since I get all my "news" confirmed there, I am simply going with the assumption that there is actually someone out there crazy enough to do this. 

    original photo credit: Hoser Dude via photopin cc

Friday, September 26, 2014

If You're A Mom, This Will Probably Offend You

Last week I was visiting my son’s school, and overheard one of his classmates “tattling” on another. One of the girls had said something that he was very bothered by so he told the teacher. The girl was told not to say “things like that,” but the boy was still not happy. He began to move back and forth between taunting the little girl – saying she was bad for saying “things like that,” – and reminding the teacher of what she had said. I couldn’t help but intervene. I asked the boy why he was upset.

"She said all boys are ugly.”

"Is that true?" I asked, "Are all boys ugly?" He said they weren't. It wasn't true. "Do you think it will be true because she said it out loud?" He responded by saying he was going to ignore her, and walked away to play.

Problem solved.

Why was that so difficult?  I believe it’s because we’re teaching our children that other people's opinions matter more than our own. We’re also teaching them that the solution to feeling badly is not within our own power, but outside of us. If you say something that affects me in a negative way, you are to blame for my negative feeling. In order to feel better, I must somehow get you to stop saying that thing. 

The problem is that people are allowed to say and think whatever they want. It’s one of the perks of living in a free country. It’s also possibly one of the devastating downfalls, because everyone here is born with the human right to be a dick (if they choose).

It seems we are often incapable of taking responsibility for our feelings and the power we give others to “make” us feel. We lack confidence in ourselves, and our ability to make our own choices. So when others make comments that confirm our fears of inadequacy or incompetence, it upsets us. It upsets us because we forget that we have power over those words. Our power lies within our own attitudes toward ourselves and our beliefs about who we are. If I have confidence in my ability to do something, it doesn't matter how many people think I can't. My power trumps theirs. However, if I do not have such confidence and someone doubts my ability, I can give them the power to affect my ambition. 

In both cases, I have control. 

Imagine if we spent even half the time trying to change the negative attitudes and beliefs we have about ourselves as we do trying to convince others they’re not true?

Everywhere we look there’s a commercial, television show, or magazine article reminding us we should be “better;” prettier, younger looking, thinner. Our hair is too frizzy or curly, our skin is too ashy, wrinkly, or God forbid, acne prone.

Unfortunately, most quick fixes for these "problems" require deep pockets, so the wealthy and famous get first dibs – which is perfect because they’re often the ones in the television shows, magazines, and commercials that prompt the fear.

We turn to twitter and facebook for “likes” and “retweets” to let us know we’re okay; that people like us. We pray that they will because this is where we find our self-worth. If I share a status about eating a sandwich and no one reads it, can I really enjoy it?

Obviously, I’m exaggerating…a very tiny bit, but it’s really no wonder we allow simple words so much power.

I have written previously about mommy judging, but let’s take a look at the words we use every day.

Over the last few weeks I have read a couple of posts regarding “stay-at-home mom” v. “working mom.” Both posts were written by women I respect and appreciate very much. Both women were offended and upset by another woman’s perceived judgment regarding their mothering choices because of their labels. Reading both posts provoked the same reaction inside me.

Who cares what another woman thinks about my life choices?

I am a “housewife,” and “stay-at-home mom.” I’ll be honest about the fact that I don’t really care how you feel about it. I am happy with this choice and what it means for my family.

I have spoken with women who stay home with their children full time, but find the terms I use to identify myself offensive and belittling, especially if they follow the word "just." Their feelings about these words are obviously quite different from mine, and that is 100% okay. It does not have to ruin my day or destroy any of my friendships. No one is right or wrong in this scenario. We’re just different. There’s no reason to argue differences of opinion or feel hurt because people don’t think the way I do. I can’t imagine living in a world where everyone thought and believed the same things. What kind of dull existence that would be, without the opportunity to learn from one another.

The amount of arguing that goes on between moms in this arena is baffling. Because let’s be honest, it's not the titles that are the problem. It’s the feelings and fear they provoke.

Stay-at-home moms aren’t important in today’s society.  Most are uneducated and don’t contribute to, or help balance out our economy. Housewives are kept women who remain at the beck and call of their wealthy husbands, and a feminist’s nightmare.

Working moms don’t love their children enough to stay home with them. They don’t care that they are missing out on precious moments and experiences with them because their careers are more important. They would rather be at work.

Just because some people in the world may be ignorant enough to believe these things, or even say them out loud, doesn’t make them true. All boys are not ugly just because someone says they are.

Why are we letting other people's words dictate our worth?

How is it that we’ve all become so dependent on other people's opinions of us, that we've forgotten that ours is the most important?

At the end of the day, we're all mothers. We all love our children, and provide for them in different and unique ways.

Those who judge are simply unhappy, insecure people uncomfortable in their own skin. There’s nothing worse than an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. People who are comfortable with who they are don’t need to judge others to feel better about themselves. I try to surround myself with those people, and to not pity others who can’t seem to get there. I have been that woman, and it’s exhausting.

I do not and will not feel badly about my choice to take a break from my career and stay at home with my boys even if Ignorance and Fear disagree with it. 

The choices we make are not anyone else’s business. We don't need to feel offended or belittled by their words. That, in itself, is a choice. We don't have to let go of our power or give others the opportunity to upset us. In turn, we can teach our children what I remember learning long ago, but at some point forgot...

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. 

original photo credit: Icky Pic via photopin cc

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How To (Not) Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for the past few years I have been invited to participate in the "breast cancer awareness" games. This year they started early and include posting something utterly ridiculous or completely disturbing as a facebook status. When someone (obviously) likes or comments on the status, they immediately get this message in their inbox. 
If you have never heard of this game, you're probably confused. Allow me to explain. 

In order to promote breast cancer "awareness," I'm supposed to tell the world, via a facebook status, that my husband has been cheating on me. Then, when my friends and family start responding with concern, I send them a private message telling them I was just kidding in the name of breast cancer and suggest they do the same.

I hope that clears up any confusion. 

Wait... what??

Perhaps I'm slow or just plain stupid, because I don't get it. I don't understand how this game promotes anything but divorce and social leprosy. The best part? Without question...women continue to pass it along. 

Serious Question: What the hairy fuck does that have to do with breast cancer??? There's not even a link to anything breast cancer related! 

I cannot even wrap my brain around how stupid that is. 

It's almost as concerning as the number of "ice bucket challenge" videos I've seen with NO mention of ALS. Nothing impresses me more than people who are willing to dump a bucket of ice over their heads (and the heads of their children) to raise awareness for a cause that shall remain nameless

In order to help, I have compiled two short lists regarding how awareness is and isn't raised. 

10 Things You Can Do that WILL NOT raise breast cancer awareness: 

1. Send a chain letter to every woman you know on facebook that has nothing to do with breast cancer. 
2. Fart into a jar. 
3. Use the words "breast cancer" in a sentence.
4. Tell everyone at the DMV you have Herpes...even if it's true.
5. Tell people on facebook you're going to France for 23 days. 
6. Wear pink.
7. Announce the color of your bra to everyone on facebook.
8. Enrage or scare all your relatives and friends and then tell them you did it for breast cancer.
9. Watch someone else fart into a jar.
10. Video tape yourself doing something brave and/or crazy for the cause, but DO NOT mention the actual cause in your video.

10 Things You Can Do that WILL raise breast cancer awareness:

1. Send an email to every woman you know on facebook with a link to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's website, and remind them that October is breast cancer awareness month.
2. Don't wait until October to talk about breast cancer or remind your friends to do self-exams.
3. Share the Five Steps of a Breast Self-Exam on your facebook page for women who may not know how to do it.
4. Donate any amount of money to fund breast cancer research and blab about it to everyone on facebook.
5. Participate in a 39 mile or 3-Day walk in your area to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. 
6. Talk about breast cancer. 
7. Encourage the women in your life to make and keep doctor's and mammogram appointments even though they use that horrible torture device. 
8. Start an awareness campaign.
9. Make up some flyers with information about breast cancer, prevention, etc. and post them around your town.
10. Share this post right now.


Friday, August 29, 2014

BEAUTY WINS: Kicking Ugly In The Tits - The Final Chapter

This is the third and final chapter of the Beauty Wins - Kicking Ugly In The Tits series. Weeks ago, I sent out a request for "Beauty" in all forms and the response has humbled me. This project has not only given me the opportunity connect with many of my beautiful friends, but also to share with you the reasons I love them.  

Life's too short to focus on the ugly parts, and this has been such a gift to me. Parts One and Deux lifted my spirits while reaffirming my commitment to positivity, and I could not have picked three more incredibly powerful women to conclude this kick-ass series. I hope you'll agree. 

The first time I heard Chandreyee Lahiri's voice, I lost my breath. She was reading her stunning post First Unborn aloud, and I could not control the fiercegut wrenching emotion it provoked inside me. She spoke of an unimaginable loss - a horrific event - with such grace; a spirit that leapt from her words and snuggled deep in my chest, yanking at the strings of my heart. While she spoke of her willingness to find beauty in the brightly colored kidney tray that held her tiny angel, I was overwhelmed with gratitude just to be in the room with her. I don't think she is aware of how much love I feel for her and the amount pure, undeniable beauty and light she possesses. 

photo via Silver Linings Cloudy Days

Chandreyee's submission Lost Keys, is one more example of her relentless commitment to the search for silver linings.

Jessica Cobb of Domestic Pirate is the kind of woman you just want to be friends with. She's kind, loving, and generous, and would totally kick someone's ass for you if it was warranted. She's not afraid to speak up about the shit that's important even if it's not "popular," and I have a ridiculous amount of respect for her. 

photo via @DomesticPirate

She's just like... genuinely awesome. 

Her submission, It's Not Just A Belly, is more than just incredibly beautiful. 

It's REAL. 

Sandy Ramsey of Mother Of Imperfection is one of my newer blogging buddies. You know when you just get a warm fuzzy feeling about someone?? THAT.  She's another one that exudes a sense of serenity, but also might be a secret ass kicker like Jessica. I really enjoy and appreciate her honesty and encouragement to "Say What You Need To Say."

In my humble opinion, she's the shit. She actually wrote this piece specifically for submission to the Beauty Wins Challenge. Seriously, how cool is that? Plus, have a read and try not to fall in love with her. Go ahead...I dare you.

"Several months ago, we found out that my twelve year old daughter has scoliosis. The curve in her lumbar spine is 38 degrees, which is pretty significant. She has to wear a plastic bending brace to bed every night so that while she's sleeping, which is when kids grow the most, her spine will be straight and the curve won't get worse, requiring surgery. 

Twelve is a hard age. To add a significant body issue to the issues a young girl in middle school faces already can be difficult.

Not this child. She is beauty and resilience. She is strength and bravery. Here she sits in the orthopedist office next to the plastic and foam shape of her curved body. She doesn't let the curve in her spine discourage or define her. 

She shines brighter than the light behind her. She is my beautiful hero." ~ Sandy Ramsey, Mother Of Imperfection

The words I would need to describe how grateful I am for this opportunity just don't exist. 

This blog and the friendships I have made as the result have changed my life. No matter the subject, totally hilarious or utterly depressing, these posts represent my truth. Your acceptance, compassion, and encouragement has meant the absolute world to me. 

I love your faces off. The End.

P.S. Don't worry, I have some more hilarious posts coming soon. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

BEAUTY: Kicking Ugly In The Tits - Part Deux

I hope you all enjoyed Part I of Kicking Ugly In The Tits! Welcome to part deux

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share!! I'm aware that because these posts are not about hilarious ways to shave your neighbor, or how to get hot wax off your nipples, they will be shared less. Beauty doesn't always sell these days, and can't always compete. That's okay. That will not stop some of you from blasting these beautiful images and stories out into the universe. Every act of kindness and love makes a difference. 

Again, I would like to thank all that responded to my request for "beauty." I find it so easy to lose hope when the world is noisy, and this project touched my heart, fed my soul, and renewed my faith in humanity. 

I met "Mack" of Is there cheese in it? (because could there be a better blog title??) a while ago via Google+. She is blessed with my kind of humor, and I love love love it. I don't even know her first name, but I'm okay with that because she makes me laugh out loud (which is really hard to do). Her submission,  

"I picked love. and marriage. finding beauty in the midst of the mundane." ~@cheeseinit

Lori Campbell of Pretend Mommy Is Sleeping Beauty is awesome. She's been following the blog for a while, and we've become friends. I love when that happens. She is all things wonderful; witty, hilarious, and full of heart. 

"Okay I couldn't pick just one - I'm sorry. Everything is beautiful ;)

So I am sending you a picture of my kids when they were collecting donations for the food pantry  - they were so happy to help others.

And a picture of my windshield one morning with the frost.  It was so awesome.

And finally  - a picture of some artwork my kids did with contact paper and flowers. So pretty on the window with the light shining through." ~Lori Campbell

Cheryl Stober of Busy Since Birth is an incredible woman. We've been Massachusetts blogging buddies for a while, but I was able to connect with her on a whole new level during the Listen To Your Mother Boston show this year. Her spirit is kind and gentle, but also fierce. I love her tah death. Read her post Don't Ban Camp Body Talk and you'll understand what I mean. 

Beauty is everywhere. We just have to be willing to look for it. I hope you don't mind, but there will be one more post in this second, annual Beauty Wins series.  I know I said that if I received too many entries for a post, I'd have to pick and choose, but I couldn't! These submissions are all too beautiful not to be shared. 

Thanks for understanding. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

BEAUTY: Kicking Ugly In The Tits, Part I

This has been a tough week. Processing the loss of Robin Williams has left me in a shitstorm of emotion. Social media is blasting shit every day, and it's beyond overwhelming. Everyone has the right to grieve anyway they wish, but because of that, it's like WHOA. 

This post could not have been planned for a better time. I need this. I'm honored by the responses to my request for beauty this year. With all the time and energy we focus on the negative, I feel it's important to highlight the good; the beauty that's within all of us. 

Couldn't we all use a little more beauty in our lives? 

I know that if I had sent out a request for stories about something awful, I probably would have been slammed with many more submissions, as it doesn't take much thought or heart to share what sucks. I don't know why that is, but this is my tiny attempt to do something about it. The women who took the time to submit these amazing stories and photos have my complete respect and admiration. It takes an enormous amount of courage to see beauty,  especially during trying times. 

These women are beautiful. They are the women I want in my corner. They are the shit. 

I love that the definition of beauty is different for everyone, and doesn't have to fit any mold. I always appreciate the opportunity to see it through your eyes. 

These posts and pictures are breath taking. 
Like, literally...I lost my breath. 

Starr Bryson from The Insomniac's Dream is an amazing human being. I've known her for years now, and can attest to both her strength and huge heart. She's a survivor, and her boys are so lucky to have her as their mom. 

She decided to send a photo of her youngest son sitting up in his hospital bed. He was eeating for the first time after his appendectomy, with his favorite panda by his side.   

"This, to me is beauty," she said. "It shows the resiliency of children, and the absolute relief I felt when he was alright and on his way to recovery.  A truly beautiful moment for a worried mother."  

The second submission is a post Starr wrote the night her father died.  "'s a raw and painful account of how his death affected me, but ended on a positive note of my very real and last memory of my father.  A legacy of a daughter's love for a truly wonderful man." 

I Will Remember You, Dad is beyond beautiful, because it's about "finding the positives among the negatives, appreciating life, and hanging on tight to memories- what could be more beautiful than that?" Nothing. Starr warned me that this post would make me bawl my eyes out...she was right. SO powerful. 

See? I told you she's incredible!

The next few submissions are via the beautiful and talented woman behind Outsmarted Mommy

Jennifer Lizza is another tough lady who's been through a lot this year, but still makes time to see the beauty. She has helped me through some shit this year, and she's definitely one of my favorite women in the blogging community. 

"If they handed out maps when you became a parent the roads would be filled with twists and turns. A lot of them would be dead ends. There would be steep hills and roads that would lead to more steep hills followed by deep valleys. There would be miles of roads without a light in sight but there would always be a road that would lead to the most beautiful beach with the most beautiful sunset and every night all the parents would gather there to support one another and remember why they began this journey in the first place...because at the end of the day the journey is hard but the destination is amazing. The hardest journeys often lead to the most beautiful destinations." 
~ Jennifer Lizza, Outsmarted Mommy

I met Maggie Draper about a month ago on twitter, and she's been cracking me up ever since. She and her husband recently started a blog called Our Parenthood Adventures and you should definitely check it out. 

"Here's a picture I took of my son holding Daddy's hand. It's always been a favorite of ours. " ~Maggie Draper

Because so many of you were generous with submissions, I'm splitting this challenge into two posts. Not that I don't want to overwhelm you with gorgeous pictures and beautiful stories... I just also want to make sure that the love gets shared and spread around a bit. I also want to make sure that each of these incredible women gets the focus and attention she most certainly deserves. 

This has been such a wonderful experience. I am so grateful to have received such a response. I'm 100% confident that, because of your commitment to love and beauty, we definitely gave Ugly a bitch slap today. 

Please share this. There's so much beauty in the world, even when we're not looking, and people might appreciate the reminder. 

Life is short and precious, damn it!! 

I love your faces off.

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