Dear Parents…

Something has been on my mind recently & I felt compelled to share. I’ve heard a child or three on a few different occasions make mildly derogatory statements about girls.

  • I don’t follow girls. 
  • I don’t have to listen to you; you’re a girl.
  • You should have been a boy because you’re way too cool to be a girl. 
  • Don’t be such a girl.

& the most upsetting:

  • Boys △⃒⃘lways lead, girls have to do what we tell them. 

Now, before anybody tries to interpret this differently I want to assure you this isn’t some anti-male rant. It’s just a gentle reminder that our children are watching and emulating everything we’re teaching them, whether we are teaching it on purpose, or by accident through our actions, words, or even our choice of entertainment. 

Let’s teach our boys that girls are infinitely precious. Valuable. Powerful. Capable. That they bring something vital to the world & to our relationships. Let’s teach them to cherish & celebrate the girls and women in their lives; the ones who provide them with a strong, graceful example of what to look for in a friend, or future partner in life. I want to invite men to model this for your boys. Don’t just tell them; show them in the way you treat their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts & friends. 

Likewise, let’s teach our girls that boys are valuable. Capable. Strong. Intelligent. Worthy of respect. That they bring something different & extraordinarily important to the world. Teach them to celebrate the boys and men in their lives for all the things they are, rather than shaming them for all the things they are not. Ladies, I invite you to stand up and model this for your girls by being encouragers & supporters of the good men in your lives. 

Equality can be a touchy subject. Equal does not necessarily always mean “the same.” We are not all meant to be the same. We are all equally deserving of respect, of course, but I don’t believe we were all meant for the same purpose. Some of us can do things that others cannot. It’s not bigotry or sexism; it’s biology, personality, individual life experiences, & a hundred other things that play a part in the unique roles we are meant to enjoy in this life. I think it’s only wise to have the utmost respect for the people in our lives who are strong in the areas where we lack & vice versa. That balance is what makes businesses & organizations thrive, friendships flourish, & marriages last.

Can we teach our kids to celebrate differences? Can we teach them to respect each other as ‘different, but equal’ & to acknowledge that sameness is not equivalent to worthiness? Can we teach them self-control & personal accountability? That they are responsible for their own actions? Can we help them learn to value wisdom over pride, integrity over dominance? Can we be intentional in the way we parent & the ideas we expose our children to? 

I think we can. 

Feel free to share if you agree. 

#wisdom #differentbutequal #respect #parenting

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Why Your Girlfriend Drags You To Chick Flicks & What To Do About It

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Your girlfriend drags you to chick flicks because she wants you to be more romantic & thinks The Notebook (& every other movie like it) will inspire you to be less boneheaded. She wants you to be more romantic and less boneheaded because…you’re a bonehead. Because you’re a bonehead, you will gain nothing from the chick flick that your girlfriend so desperately wants you to use and even if you do you will pretend you didn’t because doing otherwise negatively impacts your “MAN” status. Which is why she will forever be dragging you to chick flicks.

Solution: do something really romantic for her every once and while and don’t half-ass it. Anything the lead male character in a Nicholas Sparks novel would do is fair game & will likely earn you some nice bonus points. Maybe even a few Get Out Of Chick Flicks Free passes.

Let’s Be Like Negan

You know what I HATE? Those articles I see all over facebook about what everyone hates. You know the ones. You’ve hidden & blocked & snoozed, yet they still keep cropping up in your news feed.

  • 10 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong Your Whole Life
  • 11 Ways You’re Making Your Face Look Old
  • 97 Things You Should Never Say To Your [insert title here] (Hair Stylist/Photographer/Massage Therapist/Yoga Instructor/Life Coach/Pre-Schooler etc.)
  • 7 Types of Parents Teachers Hate: Which One Are You?
  • 8 Super Unattractive Things You’re Definitely Doing & How You’re Destined To Die Alone
  • 5,972 Ways You Totally Suck At Life

If you hate those articles I’m here to make you a very happy person. I’ve seen it suggested multiple times that someone should even the score. For every “7 Things Every Makeup Artist Hates About Their Clients ” article it’s been suggested that there be one “7 Things Your Client Hates About You” article to counter it.

Well…I’m not here to do that.

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Don’t you think our society has enough needless anxiety already? Trusting someone else with your hair/face/health/safety/memories/children is hard enough without the constant pressure to tailer yourself, or your actions & reactions to ones deemed acceptable by your current company. Courtesy is one thing, but if the anxiety of needing to be accepted is interfering with your daily life or your sense of self, it’s a problem. It seems the #2 way to get someone to click on your post is to prey on their insecurities. (We all know what #1 is *bow chicka wow wow* I gave up rolling my eyes for lent or else there would be a fantastic gif here.) Tell them you’ve got something they don’t & they’ll feel like they need it to be happy. Make them feel like they’re lacking in some way and they’ll want to know how to fix it. Or maybe they just want a feel a little better about themselves so they click on the article to read about all the things that other people are doing wrong, but surely they’re doing them right…right?

How about we just do away with all of that?

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For once, this is an area where it pays to be a little bit like Negan.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather read something nice about myself. I already know all the ways I’m failing. I’m so good at anxiety that I can even second-guess myself over things I’m mostly confident about. I KNOW that I’ve been bathing correctly my entire life (or at least since I hit 13 anyway, if we’re being completely honest) but those articles still have a way of making me doubt myself enough to click on them occasionally. My kids are pretty great – respectful, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, sarcastic, funny, resilient (and I’m not just saying that because I’m their mom) – but some days I just don’t know if I’m doing this parenting thing well enough. Maybe I’m guilty of saying something to my kids that is going to destroy their spirit & counteract every good thing I’ve ever taught them? As if the second-guessing wasn’t bad enough on its own, I then get mad at myself for taking precious time out of my day to read even one sentence of that kind of subversive garbage so I close it out & silently berate myself for being stupid. Productive, huh?

So, let’s shut it down.

I’d like it way better if people led with compliments rather than criticism, confidence instead of conceit, kindness in lieu of hostility, authenticity over comparison. Humor. Humility. Honesty. So, that’s what I’m going to do, and not just today; every day. As often as possible.

Anytime I feel like saying something I’m going to ask myself if it’s constructive to do so. Is it true? Can anything positive come out of what I’m about to say? Is it being said with love & good will? If not, then I have two options:

A.) Do what my mama said and keep it to myself

B.) (If I still feel like it needs to be said) Reframe what I need to say in a positive light so as to be clear about the good intentions behind it as opposed to just word vomiting all over someone & leaving them like this poor guy:

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He does not know what life is right now. He “can’t even.”

So, this is what we’re gonna do (& yes, the self-proclaimed grammar nazi is comfortable saying “gonna”):

Let’s flip the script & use those articles for good. Send me an inane article you hate. Inbox me. Email me a link. Tag me in it on facebook when you see it. I’ll take as many as I can and reframe them in a positive (hopefully hilarious) way and post them here with a nod back to the original. Then, maybe we can share the shitaki mushrooms out of ours & replace a lot of the negative junk in our news feeds. So, go ahead – don’t be afraid of, annoyed, or “triggered” by those posts anymore. Let’s be amused, affirmed, & enlightened by them instead. ❤

Dude, Where’s My Porch?!

I need a bigger porch. Attached to a house measuring over 2,800sqft, my porch is the size of a postage stamp in comparison. Not that I’m trying to complain; I’m grateful for my postage stamp and the enormous quantity of happiness that has occurred under the roof attached to it, but it does make it hard to sit outside and write when my nephews keep hitting me with the screen door every 2.7 seconds. I thought about bringing coffee out with me and enjoying the temperate weather, listening to the birds sing, soaking up the sunshine while I peacefully mind-dumped, but then I realized the only thing I’d be dumping is hot coffee all over my MacBook when the 3 year old plows the door into my shoulder for the 57th time.

What comes next is just a tiny glimpse of my real life juxtaposed with my fantasy life.

All parents have a fantasy life I think. All people, really, but since the only people I know anything about happen to be parents, we’ll just narrow it down to all eleventy billion of us. maxresdefaultIn my fantasy life, I get paid to travel to beautiful places. When I’m not working my “real job” I earn “extra” cash for effortlessly churning out brilliant blog-posts while a soundtrack of ocean waves crashes in the foreground and my toes are resting in the soft white sand (which doesn’t fly all over me & my computer when the wind blows). In this fantasy, I also have a perfect, sun-kissed body, look good in wide-brimmed hats & enjoy a never-ending supply of books, as well as free beverages ranging from water to coffee, to sweet iced tea, to bourbon depending on my mood. sourceAdmittedly, the need for bourbon may alter in direct proportion to the number of children trotting in and out of this fantasy. At this point that number is nil. The space in front of me is vast and insanely gorgeous, and there are no screen doors within 1000 miles of where I sit. While I’m at it, I’ve taken all the fat and calories out of food & chocolate is now the most densely nutritious thing on the planet.

In my real life…

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Again, I’m not trying to complain. My real life is more wonderful & full of blessings than I ever could have imagined, but the closest I’ll ever come to getting paid to write is being awarded a $1,000 grant for school based on a two page essay about my personal goals. And I’ll be doing that writing (in hours rather than minutes) with a caffeine headache on a partly cloudy day from a small porch in a small town while listening to a combination of train whistles & the screeching sounds of my 4 year old nephew doing what he calls laughing while repeatedly smashing a poor pink monster truck on the concrete as hard as he possibly can, and being jostled by the repeated opening of the screen door as the 3 year old comes out to play with my ears. The cute little weirdo has a thing about ears.

Still…while I wouldn’t ever say no to a deserted island with clear, turquoise water, palm trees and a bottomless sea of books, my current circumstance is – in its own much less serene way – a sort of paradise. I am fortunate enough to have the privilege of being a full time parent to my three children and a temporary surrogate to my nephews. It’s a hard job with long hours, few breaks & infinite shoulder bruises, but as challenging and frustrating as it can be it is equally fulfilling. To see the fruits of my labor progressively manifest in these little people is pretty awesome. I won’t be able to do this forever though. I’m usually not a plan-for-the-future sort of person, preferring to usually just go with the flow, but my husband has rubbed off on me in that way recently and if things go the way they should, our home will be empty of ear-pulling, truck-smashing toddlers & fridge-emptying, soul-sucking, ride-needing, wallet-draining teens and pre-teens in as few as 8 years. I’m going to need something fulfilling to do other than stay home & watch Supernatural reruns & flip through baby books. Something that will help me to afford all this fantasy traveling I want to do.

That is the reason I’m sitting on my 8×4-foot porch procrastinating writing potential grant-awarding essays to help afford a future education in a field that pays in a more practical currency than ear-tugs and kisses. Unlike my husband, (who worked very hard & deserves every single benefit he sacrificed for) I don’t have a service-connected education allowance to pay for things like that, so essay-writing it is. My ultimate goal is to get myself trained in something that might get me a little closer to my fantasy life and still benefit my family in the meantime.

Why am I telling you this?

I hadn’t intended on producing (or publishing) this particular piece; it was meant to be a warm-up exercise destined to live out the rest of its days as #64 in my drafts folder. Yet, here we are. CgY5Qi8WEAAkU39I decided half-way through to publish it because there’s a parent somewhere who has a fantasy life they’re not expecting to even partly achieve & I want to encourage you to take steps now to make some version of it happen. Our circumstances could change at any moment & while I don’t want to take for granted the blessing I’m currently living, I do want to set myself up for a future that contains a little bit more than Empty Nest Syndrome & some kind of life crisis. Who knows? Maybe I’ll need this post in a year for my own encouragement or as a reminder for why continuing my education seemed like a good idea at 32 years old. The only way I’ll get to spend my 40s on a beach is if I take steps in that general direction now (I imagine it takes a while – & a sprinkle of Jesus juice – to walk to Hawaii). In the meantime, I’m going to sweet talk my husband into building me a bigger porch.

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What are you thankful for right now? Tell me about your fantasy life! How close or far away are you? Is there any small thing you could change right now that might help put you on a new, potentially more positive path? Is chocolate also nutritious in your fantasy? (I’m asking because I wonder if we might make it happen if we put enough heads together. We should work on that fat and calorie-free thing while we’re at it).

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And by this I mean that I really need to get to that grant essay & having finished this post, I now have no excuse not to be working on it. Pray for me. Lol

The Most Generous A-hole I Know

To my husband,

Today, we have been married for 14 years. In that time, you have both amazed and irritated me in almost equal measure. I want to dedicate this post to telling you how much I love & appreciate you, with specifics! Don’t worry, as you read through these your head may inflate a little, but you can count on me to keep you humble. 😉

These are not listed by importance, and I couldn’t possibly list everything, but I figured it would be okay since we’re going to have a whole lifetime to add to it. ❤

So, here goes. I love and appreciate you for many reasons, but here are just a few:

  • The K-cups you buy just for me even when we don’t really have the money
  • We could have $.11 in our bank account, $4 in your wallet, $2.37 in change in my ash tray, & a handful of pennies from underneath the couch, but as long as we had a full tank of gas in the truck you would still buy me Chick-Fil-A if I asked. It’s insane, unnecessary, and super sweet. PS – I’m hungry.
  • The way you bring me coffee in bed

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  • The frequent breakfasts in bed, especially when those breakfasts are pizza.

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    Did I mention I’m hungry?
  • The fact that you actually seem to enjoy spending time with me enough to make an effort to do so; even when our lives are chaotic and our schedules only sync up long enough to enjoy one meal or movie together, you △⃒⃘lways make time for me.
  • You kinda sorta almost smile at my dorky puns. Sometimes you laugh. That’s how I know you’re in a really good mood. Or high.
  • You listen to me. Mostly. I joke that you don’t, but I rarely mean it. When it’s important stuff regarding our relationship, our children, or any other big decision (like not buying another motorcycle or setting our house on fire), you try very hard to take my feelings into consideration.
  • You remember little things: the way I like my coffee, certain foods I like or don’t like, my favorite drinks, things I said when I was 16 (which has never, ever come back to bite me in any way whatsoever) and you also remember what I said as early as yesterday.
  • You are gracious about it when I need time for myself. It doesn’t matter if I need 15 minutes, an entire day, or a weekend. You’ve become very thoughtful and patient with me in that area and I can’t thank you for that enough. I hope you know that I will always do the same for you.
  • Vanilla Frappuccino’s.
  • I love and appreciate the way you love me when the kids are watching. Okay, so maybe the butt-grabbing is a little inappropriate and embarrassing, but everything else is okay. 😉 I don’t think we’re doing a terrible job of exemplifying a healthy, loving, supportive marriage. They say the best thing you can do for your kids is to love their mother and you’re doing an amazing job in that department.
  • Thanks for saying ‘I love you’ too much.
  • For always giving me a kiss before you leave, even if it’s just outside to the carport.
  • You open doors for me even when no one is watching.
  • You do not try to slide my chair back and up for me at restaurants. I’m not sure if that’s because you know I’m way too clumsy for that to end well so I prefer to do it myself, or if it’s because we generally only dine in restaurants with booths and crayons…either way, thank you.
  • You know that I’m capable of handling my own business – opening my own doors, getting my own food, carrying my own groceries, coming up with my own solutions, defending myself, etc – but I don’t always have to.
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    Thanks for being the first kind of person & for teasing me about being the second. 🙂
  • You are sweet to both our moms. You call them both “old farts” and make jokes about them having changed Jesus’ diapers, but you’re still pretty sweet to them. I appreciate that.
  • You have not decapitated my life-size Dean Winchester cardboard cut out. Probably just because it was a gift from my sister and not because I like him, but still…thanks for not killing Dean.
  • If I’m going to mention my Dean Winchester cut-out I have to also give you credit for not shredding the Damon Salvatore pillowcase also gifted to me from my sister. Especially since I actually sleep with that one.
  • You have this habit (that drives me CRAZY) of not eating until I do. It’s annoying because I often end up eating when I’m not hungry just because I know you are hungry and I’m fluffier than I’d like to be as a result; however, it’s still a sweet gesture & I appreciate where your heart is.
  • When the kids talk back, break rules, or fail to obey something I said, whether you agree or disagree, you are often the first to say something to them on my behalf. We could be in the middle of a disagreement about what course of action to take and as soon as one of the kids tries to take advantage of that, your super intimidating Dad Voice suddenly comes out all, “you will respect my wife” and stuff.
  • I kinda like how you say “my wife” when “your mother” would be just as appropriate.
  • You don’t complain at all much when I warm up my cold feet on you at night
  • I love when you warm up my side of the bed before I get in it during the winter months
  • You go to church with me. I am pretty certain that even if you didn’t also enjoy the church we go to, you would still go with me if I asked you. That, to me, is HUGE.
  • You support any stupid thing I want to do. I could say I want to take a course in basket weaving and you’d ask me when it starts. Admittedly, I get a little frustrated at your lack of enthusiasm when I’m trying to share certain things with you: my hobbies, my goals, my accomplishments. But, I do understand that your lukewarm responses are not meant to be discouraging; it’s just how you are. You may not jump up and do a jig or anything, but you support me in a thousand other, very practical ways. ***Still, I would like to use this opportunity to ask you to at least send me an excited gif if you can’t manage to muster a solid smile on your own face. Lol

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  • I sometimes wonder if you’re even capable of objectivity where I’m concerned. Read the previous point again. If I ever say I want to take a course in basket weaving, or cat herding, or hippo racing – you may want to ask some other questions besides how much it costs and when it starts. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me that something isn’t a good idea, but I kinda love that you’re not that person for me. You seem to think I can do any damn thing I put my mind to. Even herd cats, and nobody can do that.
  • You make me laugh when I REALLY, REALLY don’t want to. When I’m in one of those foul moods where I don’t want anyone to come near me or touch me or even bat an eyelash in my direction, you can usually do something crazy, immature, impolite or inappropriate and I end up laughing in spite of myself. It annoys me & I’m grateful for it.
  • You are reading this list even though you don’t particularly like to read. Never mind the fact that I’m making you…
  • We complement each other. I haven’t always regarded our very evident differences as a strength – or even something to be grateful for – and I’m sorry for that, but I definitely see it as such now. Where I am weak, you are usually strong & vice versa. We’re just better together.
  • I love you for remembering that my primary love language is words of affirmation & for all the nice things you said about me today. If you haven’t done that yet, don’t worry, you will. 😉
  • I love you for finding the above statement charming rather than bossy.
  • You respect my intolerance of mayonnaise enough to make your own damn sandwich.
  • In 14 years we have never had a single argument about who should make whose plate. You do it for me. I do it for you. We both do it for the kids. I know this seems small, but for reasons I can’t adequately explain right now, it’s huge to me. Thank you for not expecting me to carry all the plates and wear all the hats when you’re home to help me.
  • You tell me I’m beautiful even when I look like this (& worse):

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  • Relationships take work and through all of our peaks and valleys you have △⃒⃘lways shown up ready to get your hands dirty. ❤
  • Thank you for being someone I can respect. We may disagree on a lot of things & express ourselves in vastly different ways, but our core values are pretty much the same. You are △⃒⃘lways true to your word & I appreciate that about you.
  • I love that you’re so sweet to animals & old people. I wish you were that sweet to our kids, but I guess we can’t have everything. giphy
  • Sarasota. ❤
  • For being the reason we got to experience Germany
  • NOLA
  • For our future trip to a certain Brewery in Texas….
  • For all of this & more:

Happy Anniversary. Here’s to many more:

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Parent Trap

ATTENTION PARENTS:

As great as it might seem to teach your children to do their own thing, be confident in who they are & not to concern themselves with the opinions of others, IT’S A TRAP!  DON’T DO IT.  I’m here to tell you from experience.

One day your boy will turn 13, grow his hair out to the shaggiest degree, refuse to wash it unless threatened with clippers (a threat which has a small shelf life before you just have to own it) and he won’t care when you tell him he looks homeless & dirty, and like he never showers. In fact, he will say, “thank you, I look amazing, right?” 

He will live in pajama pants & shirts that are 2 sizes too big, which only adds to the whole 90s grunge effect he thinks he’s rocking, but really casts a poor light on his parents. He will take a shower under duress, but put his dirty PJs back on.

When asked to change into real clothes he’ll say, “these are real clothes; you see them don’t you?” p3cs44175775de7ea8546355791974You’ll give him the Mom Look – you know the one – and he will try to argue that it’s a Saturday and he’s comfortable, then you’ll TRIPLE the intensity of the Mom Look & he’ll reluctantly put on jeans but keep on the same shirt (& probably the same underwear if I were brave enough to ask) that he’s had on for 3 days. A small act of rebellion.

You’ll notice that his hair still looks wet after an hour or so & then it will just hit you like a tub of Crisco – this fool didn’t wash his hair. giphy
So you send Grease Lightening back to the shower with explicit instructions to use shampoo – because after all it’s not like he’s been bathing himself for the last 8 (or more) years or anything – to which he responds with very little under-the-breath-mumbling because he knows you will cut him.

After all this they will, of course, ask you how they look now, but it doesn’t matter what you say because they already feel amazing even though you made them wash the future-fry-cooks-of-America Grease out of their heads.

I’m just trying to help you guys out. Don’t make the same mistake I did;

Cleanliness > Confidence!

I just realized…I didn’t ask him if he brushed his teeth.

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Beginnings, Endings & How I Suck At Both

I struggle with beginnings. Sometimes I just don’t know how to greet my audience. Good morning? Hey! Dear Reader…sure, if I want to sound like an advice columnist.

Because I struggle with beginnings, I often choose to just jump right into a post. Welcome to Exhibit A, I’m glad you made it this far. This is the part where I tell you that I’ve totally tricked you as this post has little to do with my struggle in acceptable beginnings; once again, I changed my site name to 1BadBlogger for a reason. It’s actually about my on-going struggle with endings. You can pretty much click on any of these posts to see that completing things is an issue for me: try this one, or this one, or maybe visit here.  Those posts are from a 30 day blog challenge it took me approximately 60 days to complete, however that’s a huge improvement from never finishing things at all. Need more proof? Just try searching through my blog posts from the last couple of years and you’re sure to find a few where I’ve said I’m going to share or do something and then only partially followed through. I have an idea, I get excited, I do a few things with it & then, inevitably, I get to a point where I simply lose steam & the whole project shrivels up and quietly dies where it sits. I’ve been practicing seeing things through regardless of my current level of “steam” but as previously mentioned, it takes me twice as long as it’s supposed to. But hey – that’s progress!

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 9.49.52 AMAt the end of February I challenged myself to a 30 day Social Media Detox. I was going to spend the entire month of March avoiding Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat & Pinterest. The idea is to reconnect with people and the world around you by disconnecting, just a little, from the internet. I was told numerous times that it would be great for stress-relief, my anxiety levels would decrease significantly & I would, overall, be able to experience more real-life joy instead of worrying about trying to document everything for social media. I believe those things to be generally true, but specifically – for me – I was surprised by what happened. Clearly I didn’t make it the full 30 days because here I am on 29th day already summing up the experience for you, but in this case I’m not really upset that I didn’t see the challenge all the way through. If you’re curious, keep reading. If not, you’ve probably already closed the tab and this sentence is completely pointless.

Day 1 – It was hard to stay off Facebook in particular. Once, I even wanted to log in just to post a status about how hard it is not to log on to Facebook to post a status.

Day 2 – I failed. Already. I found myself feeling forced to log on to Facebook to post about a fundraiser the girls were having for school. It was fruitless and I should have just told them I posted to Facebook instead of actually doing it, but I have this annoying policy about trying not to lie to my children. I couldn’t even pull off the Santa thing for a whole 4 years. Or the Tooth-Fairy thing, or the Easter Bunny thing, or any of the commercialized, supposedly-magical, (or actually magical) things. The only thing I’ve successfully lied to them about (that I can think of at this current moment) is that boy babies come from Home Depot & girl babies come from their store of choice. (Girl babies started off at Wal-Mart and then I thought wait…why do girls have to come from Wal-Mart? Why can’t they come from Bath & Body Works, Sephora, a fancy shoe store, or I don’t know…Game Stop?) It’s a double standard, I know, because clearly I didn’t struggle with Home Depot as the birthing place for boys, but my only son loves Home Depot so it was an easy lie for him to swallow until he hit the age of 9. This is a rabbit I don’t need to chase right now, but maybe there’s a blog post on that in the future? No promises though; remember, I’m bad at finishing things. The point is that on day 2 I was already allowing my arm to be twisted into making exceptions on my 30 day detox. It’s a good thing I’m not addicted to anything more dangerous than an iPhone.

Day 3: I wanted to log onto Facebook to see if anyone responded to the post about the girls’ fundraiser, but I refrained. I thought Instagram was going to be the challenging one to stay away from but Facebook was clearly the biggest challenge.

Day 4: It was hard not to check Facebook in the mornings like I usually do. I had no trouble staying off everything else, but all it did was give me more time to play Candy Crush. I told myself I didn’t want to defeat the purpose of staying off social media by continuing to spend an inordinate amount of time on my phone so I deleted Candy Crush too.

Day 5: I reinstalled Candy Crush.

Day 6: My diary of notes that I was keeping on my phone tells me that I hadn’t noticed many positive effects of not using social media at this point. My husband was still sharing (mostly fake) Facebook news and stupid survey posts with me (“hey babe, this says my spirit animal is a bear.” Okay…) so the things I was really trying to get a break from, I was still exposed to even after actively trying to avoid them. Now I’m thinking day 6 was a little early to be expecting any benefits.

Days 7 – 14: On day 7 I was too busy getting ready for a trip home to worry about social media. I spent the day cleaning, packing and not really missing it at all. Day 8 was all driving home so no time for it then either. Days 9-12 were spent at home with family and that’s always a busy whirlwind of events which don’t give me time for much else, though I did log on to both Facebook and Instagram on day 9 to post an updated picture of my freshly-styled hair. I couldn’t NOT share this. 17201376_10154883514554845_625678593497360933_n

Day 13 was mostly driving back to Florida & crashing once I got home. Day 14 was getting the kids back to school & using the day to recuperate from the trip. Plus, I had insane hives; so many that my face swelled up to twice its normal size so Instagram selfies were out of the question. I was so annoyed that I did post a status on Facebook about it. I promptly closed Facebook out and didn’t visit or reply to any comments that day though.

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Days 15 – 18: were spent indoors hiding from world due to a red, swollen face that looked a lot like this: Stinging_hex_effect

It’s safe to say I was more interested in my bed and SOA on Netflix than I was in being sociable with anybody, but still – I did reply to a few comments on my previous Facebook post.

Day 19: I felt & looked a lot better by this time, but I didn’t make any notes on this day so I can’t remember exactly what we did. I checked my Facebook page and there are no posts or comments from me so I can only assume I successfully avoided it on this day. I do know that I had successfully avoid Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat completely. I didn’t even miss Twitter (because I never actively use it anyway) or Snapchat. Pinterest was harder because I wanted to search for house decorating ideas, but Google sufficed in that instance and I didn’t pin a thing. Success!

Day 20: I got several email notifications of having been tagged on Facebook. I did not succumb to the temptation to check them.

Day 21: This is where my Facebook and Instagram activity both go back to being used at least once a day. I had to share this lovely picture from the beach. I still wasn’t logging on to Twitter, Snapchat or Pinterest though.

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Days 22-29: I logged on to Facebook at least once daily (multiple times on the 24th-today, the 29th) and Instagram quite a bit. I had pretty much given up on the need to “detox” so much as just really limit my exposure. If I caught myself scrolling mindlessly I would check myself and close the apps out to go do something productive.

The final result of the detox:

As you can clearly see, I technically failed, but I can honestly say I’m not disappointed about the experience at all. I didn’t go a full 30 days completely avoiding all social media – and maybe my results would have been different if I had – but here is what I noticed in a nutshell:

It did not decrease my anxiety or stress because none of that stuff was coming from social media. If anything, the use of social media (in appropriate amounts) really helps me with those things.

The vast majority of the people I follow share funny, inspiring, wonderful things that really uplift me. I try to do the same with my posts. It didn’t free up anymore time than usual because all I did was fill that time with Candy Crush & internally cussing out Licorice Larry (pathetic, I know). As long as I’m not spending an inordinate amount of time on it and overloading, I feel great. I accomplish what I need to during the day, I sleep enough at night, I have time to exercise, I have time for my family, I have time to write…social media isn’t taking away from any of that. It used to a few years ago, but I have actively been trying to correct that and I can see now that I’ve done a pretty good job. I’ve learned how to use it in small doses that have more of a positive impact than a negative one. Social media isn’t the problem; it’s how much time you actually spend on it and the quality of that time when you do. If you’re always reading someone’s drama, sharing sad stuff, using it to avoid your real life, finding yourself annoyed or depressed, or comparing your life to someone else’s life then of course it’s going to be kind of a crappy experience for you. So don’t use it that way!

If you want the longer, more detailed novel-like explanation that I wrote before I wrote the “in a nutshell version” here it is (just because I can’t stomach having written all that stuff and then just deleting it). Otherwise, feel free to skip to the section in bold at the bottom as I know you have way more important things to do than stay here and read my (redundant) babbling. 🙂

People told me I would experience a decrease in stress and anxiety, I’d find myself with more free time, spending more time with my family, etc.; all great things, obviously.  What I noticed was that I already do a lot of those things. I already spend A LOT of time with my family and when I am actively spending time with them the desire to check Facebook or be on my phone isn’t really there at all. I easily avoided taking phone calls when I was having conversations with my husband. On several of those days I took forever to respond to texts because I was too busy talking to my hubs or my kids, or driving, or any number of other things. We visited Georgia, we did household chores together, we went walking, riding bikes, we went to the beach, we went to the pool several of those days. Each time, I posted a photo or two (in one case an album with more than 5 photos) and then I logged off, OR I waited until we were home and the kids were cleaning up or otherwise engaged to post. The point is that I realized I don’t spend a lot of time on my phone when I’m actively engaged in activities with my family. I already try to be as present as possible in those scenarios and I discovered that the time I spend on Facebook or social media is usually what I would consider my free time anyway. I may use Facebook during the day when the kids are at school to procrastinate washing dishes, but I don’t neglect my family in favor of scrolling, liking, or seeing how many surveys or “name-tests” I can take.

I also noticed that my anxiety doesn’t come from being on Facebook. I don’t socialize very much with people who share things that make me feel annoyed, sad, or just generally bad after having read it. I promptly delete or simply unfollow those people once I recognize that as a pattern. (There’s a difference in sharing the occasional rant, bad mood, sad news, vent, etc. and doing it all the time.) If I notice that I regularly feel bad after spending time with a certain person I either cut that person out of my life or, if it’s someone I can’t really cut out due to family relations or other deep ties with them, I really limit my exposure to that person to decrease those negative feelings without completely cutting them out of the picture. Social media is meant to be fun & to keep you in contact with people you can’t regularly see or hang out with and that’s mostly how I’ve been using it. All you people complaining about the stupidity and drama in your lives: newsflash – you have complete control over that, especially online. If you don’t like it, change it.

I did this challenge because I felt like I needed a reset. Maybe I was getting back into a bad habit of using social media too much and that’s why I felt the need? I’m not really sure. I just know I heard a little voice tell me to take a break & I went with it. The only thing I really found out is that I need to delete my Twitter account & maybe my Snapchat, because I REALLY didn’t miss one and I barely missed the other. I haven’t logged on to either of them once in nearly a month, nor have I been tempted to. Facebook and Instagram is all I’m really interested in & I discovered that I do a pretty good job of managing my time on both of those. I didn’t need 30 days of social media detox from them because I find that using them is beneficial to me rather than the opposite, but like I said: if you find that is not the case for you, change it! Maybe a 30 day social media detox will be more successful for you than it was for me. Have you done it before? How did it go? What were your impressions during and after? Do you plan to do it in the future?

 

 

How To Respond To “K”

Happy Monday Friends!

The last time we were together I talked about text etiquette and that obnoxious little letter, “k.” Now that we know why “k” is a little annoying, let’s talk about ways to respond to the “k” people in your life. Here are some funny things I came across online (& a few that were sent to me by other people). Snowflakes beware, there’s an F word in here somewhere. I apologize in advance for the 4 swear words.

PS – I don’t take myself seriously half the time. You shouldn’t either.

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K…an We Talk About Text Etiquette?

Good Morning Friends! Happy Friday! (If you’re reading this from Facebook, for the love of all that is holy, just CLICK THE LINK. Thank you) 🙂

Now that the 30 day 60 day blog challenge is over, it’s time to talk about something else & today I want to talk about the alphabet. There are numerous languages, each having its own unique means of written communication, but for today we are going to focus on the English alphabet; just 26 letters is all it takes to create all the words you see here & many, many more. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. We can say anything we want to say with the use of just 26 letters, & maybe the occasional emoji (or not so occasional if you’re like me & people don’t know you’re kidding unless you use a smiley at the end of everything). What happens when we have all these magnificent options at our disposal and we choose to use only one of them? You know which one. That’s right…the obnoxious “K.”

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We’re all probably guilty, but let’s examine this for a moment. Why do we do this? Are we just getting so many texts that all we can manage to muster is a single letter before we move on to the next text? Like celebrities: when you get their autograph they always write “best wishes” or something arbitrary followed by an “x” (or an “xo” if you’re really lucky) and a scribble that looks vaguely like it might contain at least one actual letter of their name. Then you get shoved down the line so the super important celebrity can lather, rinse & repeat with the hundreds of people behind you. Are we that important that we can’t wrangle up at least one extra letter? “OK,” perhaps? (Though, to be honest, that’s probably only marginally less annoying than “K.”)

What about the days when you were charged by the text, both incoming and outgoing? I can’t be the only one who got more than a little annoyed when someone cost me 10 cents just to say, “K.” For 10 cents you better have been sending me a full sentence complete with no unnecessary shorthand & proper punctuation.

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I know the point I made above is now considered moot since the majority of us are fortunate enough to be on some sort of plan which allows for unlimited texting, so why is this “K” thing still so annoying? For me there are two reasons:

1.) “K” has too many possible interpretations.

K, what?

As in, “Ok, Cool,” “I’m looking forward to it,” or ‘K’ as in “whatever. I’m done talking to you, you chatty nerd.” Or, “I’m sorry, my hands were bitten off by a t-rex & I can only text with my nose. ‘K’ is the best I can do.” The most terrifying thing to go through my mind might be, “K. Because I’m going to feed you to a shark. Shark has K in it.”

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135ee6abbb34c616b6b3144d97f77e65-jpgWhat do you mean?! There are no tonal clues with the letter K. There are no facial cues, no body language we can assess to determine if this letter is friendly or if this letter has nefarious, diabolical plans which include me ending up with a hole in my neck. Those of us with anxious brains prone to over-thinking need answers to these questions.

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2.) Time. I am busy. Maybe not I get 5000 texts in a day because I’m so important busy, but I do have a husband, 3 kids, a small business, a need to take time out to exercise, errands to run, a dog to walk, bills to pay, homework to help with, & endless amounts of laundry & dishes to do. I’m busy the way most of us are busy so while my time may not be any more or less important than yours, stopping what I’m doing to find my phone (which, at this point, is basically always on a charger which is not in the same room with me) just to read one lonely letter & nearly have a panic attack over the possible meanings of that letter & how to respond (or not), feels like a waste of time, energy, & internet data.

Bonus reason: while I know this is not always the intention, it can be rude.

Of course, we’re all going to do it every now and then, but if you frequently reply with a letter when I’m trying to have a conversation with you, please know that I’ve thought about cutting you.

Me: Hey, love! How are you?

Them: k

Me: K, good? or K, bad?

Them: just k

Me: There is no such thing as “just k.”

Them: k

Me: *screams*

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Can you relate? Does ‘K’ bother you? Why or why not? Do you have any fun reasons to add or creative responses to people who frequently do the ‘K’ thing? I’m planning a post on how to respond to ‘K’ and I’d love to see your best answers!

I Cheated

I am determined to finish this blog challenge, but I’m still behind several days. I’m going to once again cement my status as a bad blogger by speed banging this challenge.

Day 25: My biggest regret – (aside from just using the term “speed banging”)

I regret not fully immersing myself in certain experiences because of fear or anxiety. When we lived in Germany, I feel like we didn’t make the most of that amazing opportunity. I don’t want to miss anymore opportunities; I want to make the most of the life I’ve been given.

Day 26: My hidden talent – is hidden. Even from me.

Day 27: What’s in my closet

I recently cleaned my closet so you won’t be having any fun in there. It’s just clothes, shoes, yoga mats and blocks, & a bunch of empty duffle bags for when we travel. The kids’ baby books are in there on the top shelf, my husband’s folders from previous motorcycle mechanics classes, & my husband’s very sophisticated filing system: a shoebox full of receipts, check stubs & other important documents.

Day 28: My most embarrassing moment

The time I told Ian Somerhalder, “your eyes are so blue” as if he was not already aware of this. I can be pretty witty and awesome if I do say so myself, but for some reason my brain cells chose that moment to melt into a puddle at my feet. I just want to go back to that moment and try not to be a bimbo.

Day 29: A confession

Talk to Usher. He knows more about that than I do.

Day 30: My hopes for my blog

I just want to be able to read it when I’m old & not cringe. I don’t have any high hopes at this point, but that’s because I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up; if I can figure that out, maybe my hopes for my blog will expand.

 

I did it. I finally finished a challenge. It took me 2 months & one cheat post containing 6 different writing topics, but I’m calling this a win. I thought I would feel a sense of accomplishment, but all I really feel is relief that I don’t have to worry about it anymore. How do you feel about challenges? It doesn’t have to be writing challenges like this one; it could be anything. There are workout challenges, healthy eating challenges, yoga challenges, stupid challenges involving food items…you name it, there’s a challenge for it. Do you have trouble completing them? Why do you start in the first place? Do they give you a sense of accomplishment or are you like me and it just starts to feel like a chore? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!