I Confronted My Congressman About His NRA Support.

My husband interrupted my Saturday afternoon of chasing toddlers and landscaping to alert me that our congressman, Trey Hollingsworth, had just knocked on our door.

Hollingsworth has never held a town hall and has not been readily available to speak with his constituents. He’s like a congressional Bigfoot I had never sighted. Although my hair was a mess and I was covered in literal dirt, I couldn’t let the opportunity to share my thoughts pass by.

The 10 lives senselessly lost at Santa Fe High School just the previous day weighed heavily on my heart and mind. I don’t fear ISIS or violent immigrants no matter how much Trump tweets about them. But I worry about the terrorism regularly occurring within our own borders.

I introduced myself to the congressman, offered my hand, and told him exactly that. When I reminded him that 10 lives were lost at yet another school shooting, he shook his head and responded, “Yes, it’s sad.”

I recalled images of the congressman shooting at a firing range and proudly proclaiming that he was the only district candidate to be endorsed by the NRA. So I asked him — how much money did he accept from the NRA?

9th District Congressman, Trey Hollingsworth, via his official Twitter account @VoteforTrey

He crossed his arms, stepped back, and shook his head. “Oh, I don’t know. It’s all public record though. You can look it up.”

I already had.

I told the congressman how much money he had accepted from the NRA and the only response I received was a slight shrug. But I understand the thousands of dollars from the NRA may have seemed minuscule to the multimillionaire.

I asked him what specifically he planned to do to combat gun violence. Beyond thoughts and prayers, what policies would he support or implement? He suggested “hardening schools” and supporting school resource officers.

He claimed when it came to gun control, many just want to repeal the second amendment. But he doesn’t want to do that and insists we can’t do that. I told him, reassuringly, that in fact there are very few advocates of repealing the second amendment compared to the many Americans who support common sense gun reform. He asked, “Like what? What do you suggest?”

I brought up a few common sense solutions to reduce gun violence, including keeping firearms away from convicted domestic abusers. Perpetrators of domestic violence are a deadly threat to both their intimate partners and the public. Nearly two-thirds of women killed by guns were killed by their intimate partners. Domestic violence has also been a commonality in mass shootings, with 57 percent of mass shootings involving the killing of a family member or a current or former intimate partner.

Like many other states, Indiana currently has some laws preventing convicted domestic abusers from owning firearms. But there are significant loopholes. For example, the laws in Indiana bar domestic batterers who are married or share a child with their victims from owning firearms. But, if the domestic batterer was dating their victim, there are no laws preventing firearm ownership.

I used this as an example to show that there are many loopholes in our current gun laws both at the state and federal level. But closing these loopholes and keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of potentially dangerous people just makes sense. Common sense gun reform isn’t about disarming all law-abiding, responsible Americans. It’s about identifying those dangerous individuals at a risk of committing gun violence and reforming the process that makes it so easy to obtain lethal weapons.

The congressman asked his assistant to write down the name of my favorite gun control advocacy group, Moms Demand Action. He said he had never heard of them but would look them up. I encouraged him to please do so. I thanked him for his time, shook his hand again and even snapped a selfie with his blessing.

I urged the congressman to take action against gun violence because we need a response beyond thoughts and prayers. No parent should fear to send their child to school. No victim of domestic abuse should die a statistic. No one suffering from mental illness should be able to obtain a firearm easier thangetting care for their condition.

From Congress to the White House, our officials do not work for the NRA. They work for us.

Most Americans don’t believe our current gun laws go far enough and favor stricter measures including raising the legal age someone can purchase a firearm and banning semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15By embracing the gun lobby and refusing to take action on gun violence, Congress is ignoring the voice of the people they vowed to represent.

And we will vote them out.

We demand our representatives propose new laws aiming to save lives lost from gun violence. We ask that they vote with our interests in mind, not the gun lobby. We will confront them about their contributions from groups like the NRA. We will implore them to turn their inaction into action.

It doesn’t matter if we have to leave our homes with messy hair and run down the street to do this, we will. We will because we have to. Our lives depend on it.

This is Being Recorded.

If you happened to have just recently risen from a coma… do I have some news for you. In the past few years, things have gone absolutely batshit crazy here in the good ol’ U S of A.

The president of the United States is Donald Trump.

Yes, this fucking guy.

And Donald Trump has said and done some truly atrocious things during his time as president. He lies a lot. He’s made many bigoted statements. For many Americans, every day a fresh new Hell is exposed and we’ve perfected internal screaming.

Recently, Trump implemented a policy that forcibly separated families who crossed the border into the U.S. Instead of detaining the families together (like that’s a picnic), the children were detained isolated from their parents or family members. In glorified cages. There also has not and is not a plan to reunite the families.

To those of you who did not recently awake from a years-long coma, you already know all this. But bear with me here — detaining innocent children in cages away from anyone they know and love is objectively bad, right? I mean, if the question, “Hey, what do you think about kids in cages?” came up in the 2016 GOP Presidental Debate, I think even Zodiac killer-looking Ted Cruz would say, “No way. That’s definitely bad.”

But, what you may find even more shocking than the fact that this guybecame President of the United States, is that despite the administration indisputably lying and holding children effectively ransom in exchange for a wall Mexico was supposed to pay for anyway — is the horrifying fact that many Americans don’t care.

A disturbing number of Americans believe the lies coming from the Trump administration and have been fooled to distrust the media. Even worse, many have dehumanized migrants, just like Trump, and have shown no empathy for their plight at all. This is not a political issue, it is a moral one.

These times are being documented and recorded not only for the daily news roundups but for history.

At some point, we will all have to answer for this. I just can’t imagine history will be kind to those who have shown such cruelty and openly embraced bigotry. I believe the horrors of this period will be solemnly filed away with the shameful horrors of our past.

I believe the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. However, I don’t believe it happens inherently. We have to work together and do the bending. We have to be better than our past and build a better future for all.

The past doesn’t stay in the past. It will be discussed, studied, and used as a terrifying example of history that must not be repeated. Anyone who lived through a historic moment when morality is tested will be asked what they believed.

Can you imagine having a grandchild or even a great-grandchild asking what you believed? Would you be able to tell them that you believed some children should be locked away in cages because they landed on soil they weren’t fortunate enough to be born onto? Decades from now, could you really dust off your red “Make America Great Again” hat and proudly proclaim you fully supported this administration and their oppressive policies?

This is being recorded. History has its eyes on us — every one of us. Your story will be written and you are ultimately in control of the narrative. Make it one you’ll be proud to tell.

Afterall, you know what the history books call Germans who supported Hitler because they favored his economic policies, but not so much the stuff about exterminating Jews? Nazis.

What We’re Really Asking Teachers to Carry

The mass shooting in Parkland, Fl. rekindled the ongoing debate in our country regarding gun violence and mass shootings. Parents are scared. Students are furious. NRA members are defensive. Everyone has ideas to save us from ourselves.

But of all the proposed solutions — gun control, security measures, common sense reform — one of the most American solutions to our uniquely American problem is gaining traction and some support from President Trump…

Arming the teachers.

Now, let me just say explicitly — this doesn’t make any sense. Carrying a firearm doesn’t suddenly give you superhuman powers. It’s just a gun. If you’re in a dangerous situation without a gun, that situation is still dangerous with a gun. Police officers are killed in the line of duty every few days in the United States, even though they’re trained to use the firearms they openly carry. They don’t even have to teach algebra while they’re on duty.

Even if the teachers undergo extensive firearms training, it doesn’t change the fact that shooting is well, still very difficult. The difficulty of shooting is the basis for teaching officers to shoot to kill, not shoot to wound or shoot the gun out of someone’s hand like an old Western. According to a Firearms Discharge Report from the New York City Police Department, officers hit their targets 28.3 percent of the time.

Trained officers miss their targets most of the time, so why wouldn’t a trained teacher?

We also already have guns in many schools. Unfortunately, in the case of a mass shooting, no “good guy with a gun” successfully stopped the massacre happening inside. The armed deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School never even entered the buildingColumbine had an armed guard. Look at Fort Hood, even somewhere as secure and armed as a military base has been ravaged by gun violence.

History has not proven that more guns successfully prevent gun violence and save lives in the event of a mass shooting.

More guns in schools don’t make our children safer, they put them at a greater risk. There are countless instances of guns accidentally discharging in schools, injuring or killing students. An armed resource officer accidentally discharged his own firearm in a Washington-area middle school. An armed teacher accidentally discharged his firearm, injuring a student. A teacher’s semiautomatic weapon accidentally discharged during a firearms safety exercise, injuring three students. Those incidents just happened this week, by the way.

Logically, arming teachers is not the solution. But I know the motivation behind arming teachers isn’t logical. It’s emotional. Children are being senselessly killed in this country and people are scared, angry, depressed, and feeling lost in seeking change. So, let’s explore why it’s still a terrible idea from an emotional standpoint.

President Trump said an armed teacher could stop a maniac trying to attack them. Most of the country who consumed information from the news about the latest mass shooting would probably agree with this sentiment. After all, who would kill innocent children? A maniac. A monster. A terrible, terrible person.

That’s what everyone would see in the alleged shooter’s mugshot. Almost everyone. Except for a teacher.

To a teacher confronted with a school shooter, they may not see a maniac with a gun. They may see a troubled former student. They may see someone who was bullied. They may see a bright kid who was intellectually gifted. They may see a young child. Then it may be too late.

We ask teachers to care for our children, entrusting them every day. We ask them to protect them and keep them safe until we see them again. We ask them to look for signs of abuse and neglect. We ask them to be highly educated themselves and keep on the latest regulations, training, and teaching methods. We ask them to prepare our children for the next grade, college, and adulthood. Oh, and of course, we ask them to do all of this for a salary far less than what they deserve.

But by asking them to be armed, we’re asking them to care for our children until one of them approaches with a firearm. Then we want teachers to kill them.

The psychological trauma of killing is well documented. I won’t argue that killing a mass shooter in defense is unjust. But I do wonder if those individuals willing to carry are also willing to carry the psychological trauma that comes with making such a difficult decision if a shooting takes place.

Let the teachers teach. They carry enough already.

Melania Trump Summed Up Her Tragic Marriage in One Response

The Twitterverse and political blogs are buzzing with the latest example of First Lady of the United States Melania Trump appearing to be as exasperated with her husband as most Americans are. If you missed it, as the Trumps exited the Tel Aviv tarmac, Donald Trump reaches a hand back for Melania to hold. Without breaking stride, Melania coolly swats it away.

After the past eight years of witnessing countless adorable displays of affection during the Obama administration, the new first couple looks absolutely despondent in comparison. But the Trumps are not the Obamas. The Trumps themselves have depicted their marriage as shallow as the sand traps at Mar-a-lago.

In 2005, the newlywed Melania Trump addressed a business class at New York University. A student asked the supermodel if she would still be with Donald Trump if he was not rich.

“If I weren’t beautiful, do you think he’d be with me?” she quipped.

This candid response from the FLOTUS illustrates a marriage as lackluster as any failed Trump business venture. Donald is rich. Melania is beautiful. And so, they are married.

Of course the glimpse Melania gave into their marriage happened long before Donald Trump became candidate Trump who wooed the Republican party while touting his support for “traditional marriage”. But now that he’s President Trump, no moment of martial discourse goes unnoticed.

Many have joked about freeing Melania as if she’s unwillingly stuck with her husband and is looking for a way out like many of us are. But Melania has never given any indication that she isn’t a willing participant in the marriage, whether it’s a sham or true love behind the golden curtain.

If Melania now finds herself in a hypothetical marital prison, she holds the key to her own emancipation. No one needs to free Melania but Melania.

During one of many times Donald crudely spoke with Howard Stern, Melania flirtatiously joined alluding to being practically nude during the conversation. When Donald gained political notoriety during his crusade for then President Obama’s birth certificate, Melania appeared on the Joy Behar Show and claimed the American people demanded to see proof of the president’s birth, not just her provocateur husband. When a tape was infamously released of Donald bragging to Billy Bush about his sexual assault tendencies, Melania quickly dismissed them as locker room talk.

Many mothers may be appalled to hear their husbands claim they’re happy to have children, but refuse to do anything to raise them as Donald said during another crass conversation with Howard Stern. But, not Melania!

“It’s very important to know the person you’re with,” Melania told Parenting magazine in 2006. “And we know our roles. I didn’t want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed. I love every minute of it.”

Trump’s atrocious behavior has been consistent through the years and so has Melania’s devotion.

During Trump’s years of transgressions, Melania has been right there on his arm. She conducts interviews in her comically luxurious penthouse in Trump Tower, where her only son has his own floor. (Not room, his own floor) She blazed the campaign trail with him, despite her apparent aversion to personal media attention. She has spent years standing by her man in Louboutins, flashing her 25-carat diamond ring and her supermodel smile.

Moments, like the swat heard around the world, are not just fuel for memes and late-night punchlines. Like the newlywed Melania’s candid response in 2005, these moments could be just a genuine glimpse into the Trumps’ marriage beneath the presidential façade.

Teaching My Son to Get Into “Good Trouble”

One unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon, I walked around downtown, holding hands with my son. He’s four. So his inquisitive mind is always bursting with unrelenting questions and on this day, I had the time and temperament to answer every one.

What’s that place? Can we go inside?

What’s your favorite dinosaur?

How do street lights work?

Can we get ice cream?

I relished this rare moment with my first born. Since his sister joined our family, our lives became so much fuller. Full of love; full of blessings and of course– the chaos and commotion that comes along with another child. Quality time spent alone with my son became less frequent and more cherished now. But on this day, I took the time to notice the new, tiny freckles on his nose and how much more mature our conversations had become while he still wanted to hold hands and insert spontaneous “I love you”s into conversation.

Then I saw it—a poster haphazardly affixed to an abandoned store front window with black, electrical tape at the corners. The poster featured two stone-faced, white-skinned, blond figures who stared back at me with piercing blue eyes. The words “DEFEND YOUR PEOPLE” appeared beneath the image along with more information about the white supremacist group sponsoring the message and how to get involved.

I knew the words “your people” did not include me. I’m suddenly the opposition to the stranger who displayed the poster, . I’m an enemy in a battle in which I did not enlist. By association, the message was not for the sweet boy with the kind heart and cherubic face whose hand I was holding either. The message is that we are the threat.

The ugliness of the message was difficult to process on such a beautiful day. Immediately, I ripped the poster down from the window, leaving behind four unsightly, sticky marks from the tape. I wadded the poster into a ball as tightly as I could and shoved it in a nearby trash can, where I hoped it would remain buried under fast-food wrappers, spilled sodas and the filth—where it belonged.

“Why did you do that?!” My son exclaimed, not comprehending why his rule-following mother would deviate so abruptly.

“The poster was not nice,” I quickly replied, trying to explain as concisely as possible and direct the conversation back to dinosaurs and sunshine, far away from the topic of white supremacy.

“But you’re not supposed to do that!” My son protested.

At this moment, it was difficult as a parent to explain how I justified my seemingly bad actions as the right thing to do. How could I justify, to a child—my child—that getting into a little trouble could actually be a good thing to do?

Fortunately I thought of civil rights icon and congressional representative John Lewis who frequently addresses this paradox and coined the phrase “good trouble”. Rep. Lewis led Democrats in the house in a sit-in to force a vote regarding gun-control. During the protest, Lewis praised his colleagues and thanked them for getting into trouble—good trouble.

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I used this concept to explain to my son the complexities of rules and determining what is right. If a rule is unjust, it’s not only permissible to break the rule; it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes you have to get into a little trouble for a greater good, just as Rep. Lewis has a collection of personal mugshots along with a historic civil rights victory. lewis_cops_arrest_goodhisotry3-1500x1081

Civil disobedience was not a topic I was prepared to tackle on this afternoon walk and I feared the concepts might seem confusing and contradictory, but my son seemed to understand that the poster belonged in the trash can and not on display.

“But, Mom, what if they come back and put up another poster?” My son asked as he furrowed his tiny eyebrows and looked up at me, in anticipation of my response.

“I’ll take that one down.”

“And if they do it again?”

“I’ll take that down too.”

“And again?”

“And again.”


John Lewis released an amazing graphic novel trilogy about his life in the civil rights movement. It’s fantastic for young adults and adults alike. You can get it on Amazon here.

Rosie the Rabbit Helps Others Talk about Cancer.

I connected with Sarah on Twitter after I wrote The 10 Things Parents of Children with Cancer Want You to Know for the Huffington Post. I loved her story and thought it would be perfect for children touched by cancer. I have no commercial investment or benefit in Sarah’s book.

At 33, Sarah Josefsberg was vibrant, healthy and on top of the world—literally. She faced and conquered enormous challenges like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. At 34, she was stunned by a unexpected cancer diagnosis and soon found herself too physically fatigued by chemotherapy to even cross the street, much less conquer mountains like she did not too long ago.rosie1

“While most of my friends were pregnant and dealing with the joys of life I was facing death,” said Sarah. “I could feel my life force fading and I fought against it with every ounce of my being. I would go to spinning classes and drink six cups of coffee. I did everything I could to feel like my old self.”

Sarah is bringing an original story about cancer to others with the publication of “Rosie the Rabbit: The Thing about Cancer”.

The story of Rosie, an adorable cartoon rabbit, came to Sarah one restless night after rigorous chemo treatments. Sarah found telling Rosie’s story helped her discuss the difficult topic of cancer with her friends and suddenly she was able to “speak of the unspeakable”. For many families touched by cancer, they’re not sure where to begin. Rosie is there to show them that they’re not alone and although cancer is a big thing, it is not all cancer patients are. Rosie helps celebrate all the things that make you YOU and cancer can’t take that away.

Sarah’s personal experience with cancer allows her to craft a story her readers will relate to and find comfort in. Although the illustrations are charming and Rosie is lovable, the words are candid and poignant. One excerpt from the book reads: “This won’t make you stronger. Or braver. Or true. But every experience, will make you more you.”Rosie in space.jpg

When asked what she would tell a child with cancer, Sarah said she’d first want to give them a big hug. She would advise them to try and not to succumb to the sadness and fear of cancer treatment. But mostly she said that children are very smart and will tell you everything you need to hear in their own way, so she would just listen. She hopes everyone affected by cancer will find comfort in Rosie’s message that despite being affected by cancer, you are still you.

“I hope the book helps people connect and share their experiences with the people they love. I hope this book makes conversations about cancer easier for families and friends. My biggest hope is that one day someone writes to me and tells me that Rosie’s story helped them feel a little better. If Rosie can help people through this ordeal, I know she will have been a success.”

This illustrated book is available for pre-order now and due to be shipped in mid-April of 2017. Sarah named Rosie after a dear friend’s mother, who tragically died of cancer. Sarah wishes to dedicate Rosie’s story to everyone touched by cancer so she’s printing the first 100 names of those affected by cancer who request to be included in each printed copy. If you wish to be included, you can submit your own name or that of a loved one when placing your order at the Rosie’s website before March 1. You can order your copy here.

Get IKEA Favorites Without Going to IKEA!

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I love, love, LOVE IKEA. As all parents know, children will destroy everything you love in their path. So, this time in my life is just not conducive to Italian leather sofas and delicate crystal. Sofas costing less than a mortgage payment and simple, practical pieces are much more my speed right now.

Unfortunately, I live in a suburbs of a city that not only doesn’t have an IKEA, it probably will never get one due to population density requirements. So, in order to get my reasonably priced Swedish home furnishings and meatball fix, I have to make the two-hour trek each way. The $99 delivery charge is reasonable if you’re furnishing a room, but maybe not worth it for a couple small items.

Then I discovered some of my IKEA favorites on available on… (((drumroll))) Amazon Prime! Suddenly I can get a Poang chair to my doorstep in two days time?! The prices vary a bit. Most of the items are very close to the grab-and-go price at an IKEA store. Some are a little higher. But, if you don’t have an IKEA store nearby, it’s perfect!

Here are some of my favorite items I found:

Mala Easel ($34)–This is a great children’s easel at a great price! My four-year-old has this in his room and it’s great to have a chalkboard, dry erase board and a roll of paper to create!41v5erxkpal

Plastis Dishwashing Brushes ($9)– I love this daggone things! They scrub great and suction to the side of the sink. Then throw in the dishwasher to clean. I always stock up on these.

Magnarp Floor Lamp ($39)– This floor lamp with rice paper shade is a favorite for giving your space a soft glow.

Fornuft Flatware Set ($15)– An entire flatware set for 15 bucks! Perfect for a housewarming gift or a new college student.

41btziyuqlKnappa Pendant Lamp ($39)– Love this stunning pendant, which at less than 40 bucks is a total bargain.

Blahaj Shark ($29)– My marine-obsessed son LOVES this cushy shark, which he sleeps with and takes up about half the bed.

Bevara clips ($5)– I have about one million of these and they’re great.

Kladd Prickar bibs ($11)– These are AMAZING for toddlers. From finger painting to messy spaghetti dinners, they completely protect your little one’s clothes from messes!

Poang Chair ($134)– This classic chair is so comfortable, versatile and practical. I love it.

Notudden Hanging Organizer ($15)– You could put one of these in every room of your house from pantry to bedrooms and find something to organize!

Not Floor Lamp ($17)– Modern floor lamp for less than 20 bucks!

Latt Children’s Table and Chairs ($48)– Perfect little set for dining, playing, creating, whatever!

Sylt Lingon Lingonberry Preserves ($34/pack of 4)– Yes you can even get the iconic lingonberry preserves to complement your meatballs at home. Price is a bit steep, but worth it if you have a serious craving. 😉 0416950_pe574583_s5

Fratka Bags ($9/ set of 4)– These super durable bags are great for lugging groceries, beach gear, etc.

Forskitig Stool ($10)– I keep this in the kids’ bathroom and it’s great for when the kids need a little help brushing their teeth and washing hands.

Kalas Flatware Set ($5)– An entire kid’s flatware set for 5 bucks! I love their kids dinnerware. It’s very durable and easy for little kids to use.

Variera Pot Lid Organizer ($13)– I will glad pay $13 not to have my lids scattered everywhere. Please and thank you.

Lack table ($22)– This is a great little table. The hacks make the possibilities endless!

Hope you enjoyed this list! Knowing I could get IKEA goods on Amazon was a total game changer for me! Quantities are often limited on these items, especially if the price is very comparable to IKEA’s catalog, so if you see something you want– snag it quickly! Although the Amazon selection isn’t as vast as an IKEA store, it’s worth checking! So if you’re searching for a specific IKEA item, search Amazon and you might get lucky.

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here

Trump’s New Reality Show is the Worst.

I must confess—I love reality TV. It’s like junk food for the brain. When life gets too heavy, you’ve had a rough day and you just want to tune out, reality TV provides the perfect escape. I was really looking forward to the new show from Donald Trump (of The Apprentice, the Celebrity Apprentice and WWE fame), but it’s just awful.

In previous seasons, there was always a villain shaking things up and providing a bit of drama. But almost everyone on this show is a villain! It’s hard to root for someone when they’re all despicable. The producers really took things up a notch. For example during a previous Celebrity Apprentice episode, super villain Omarosa poured a glass of wine over Piers Morgan’s head. That was the old standard in reality TV drama. All-Star Celebrity Apprentice - Season 13

This season, the super villain is this disheveled looking guy who has a quite passionate fan base and allegedly doesn’t like Jews. Whoa! Too far! I like my reality TV without the added dose of white supremacy, please.  The drama used to be limited to shouting matches across a board room table—not anymore! In only the first few episodes of this season, they’re sending desperate refugees fleeing crisis back to their war-torn homes! They took the reality show villain from cheeky to just plain evil.steve-bannon

The host, Trump, is woefully unqualified and hopelessly clueless. In previous seasons, his foolishness was entertaining. Now his old “You’re fired” shtick has lost its novelty. He’s firing those actually doing their jobs and hiring people who are as horribly unqualified as he is. I thought this formula would yield hilarious consequences, but it’s not funny. It’s just terrifying!

The rest of the cast is dreadful as well. Some of them said they wouldn’t participate in this disastrous show, and yet here they are. Some of them look sad, as if they’ve really compromised their integrity and wondering if they get a refund on the souls they’ve sold. Others are willing and enthusiastic to be a part of the show and seem to really enjoy basking in the limelight.paul-ryan-beard-sad-ap

I know reality TV isn’t typically known for their diversity. But trying to find a person of color on this show is almost as difficult as finding an ounce of sincerity in anything the host says.

Every episode is pretty predictable. Trump says or does something unorthodox and completely asinine. Then his side-kick runs to his defense, even if this involves deceit and inaccuracies. Then his Press Secretary (kind of the Ryan Seacrest of the presidency) blames the media and contributes his own false claims. They coined a new term for this called “alternative facts”. But it’s really just lying, which isn’t cool.

Even if you tune into shows like the Bachelor like you wouldn’t look away from a train wreck, you might still find the dysfunction in this show to be unbearable. So much of the show is just Trump talking about how great he is, how great everything is going to be and calling people names like a playground bully. He hasn’t expanded on how he’ll make things great and things don’t seem very great so far.29atlargea

For what it’s worth, I didn’t even want to watch this show. I’ve been calling my provider, but they’re not even picking up the phones. Unsurprisingly, the ratings so far are terrible. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it’s canceled before renewal is scheduled in 2020.

Sad!

I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom and a Proud Feminist.

Every morning, I send my husband off to work with a packed lunch and a kiss. While my husband’s at work, I spend my days making block towers, sweeping up Cheerios and continuing the absolute endless cycle of laundry. I wear a frilly apron while I cook and bake, which I love to do. I love to craft. I live in the suburbs.

And I’m a feminist.memarch

What? You expected feminists to be a little more Pussy Riot and a little less Carol Brady? You’re not alone. The overwhelming success of the Women’s March put feminism back en vogue, while anti-feminists resurrected cringe worthy stereotypes that feminists are anti-family man haters. This myth is not only comically inaccurate; it perpetuates a negative stigma that hurts our cause.

The heart of feminism is truly just the radical notion that women are people deserving of equality. The dictionary definition of feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Most Americans believe in equality of the sexes. At the same time, most Americans do not identify with feminism. So, it’s not the principles of feminism most Americans take issue with, it’s just the label.

Hurting our cause and impeding feminist progress is exactly the goal for anti-feminists, so they promote these stereotypes because it’s the only card they have left to play.  Think about it—they know most people believe in feminism so they can’t simply chant, “Aurgh! Women aren’t deserving of equal rights and men are better in every way!” So they resort to the cheap shots– stereotyping feminists in this lame us vs. them dichotomy. Those who demean feminists are feeling threatened and are not exactly skilled in the art of factual debate.

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My bus headed to Washington, D.C.

After the hugely successful Women’s March, many women quickly sought to separate themselves from the movement as well, declaring “Not my March!” The truth is– it doesn’t have to be your march. Across the globe from our nation’s capital to tiny towns to Antarctica, millions of women marched. Millions! It was the largest protest in the history of the United States. For many of us, we marched for ourselves and it felt good.

As a mother, I fit right in as a feminist at the Women’s March. The values affecting my own and millions of other American families were clearly represented:

  • The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that denies our working parents paid family leave. I believe my fellow parents deserve the chance to have children without financial burden.
  • Working mothers not only compete in any environment not conducive to parenting, they’re paid less than men. I believe hard-working women should not be paid less on the basis on their sex alone.

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    Yours truly pumping on a bus to the Women’s March on Washington because women gotta do what we gotta do.
  • In 2012, every parent’s nightmare became a reality when 20 children were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We swore never again and yet, we have had 186 more shootings on school campuses since. I don’t want to send my children to school and fear it will be the last time I see them.
  • I believe women are deserving of reproductive healthcare and preventive cancer treatment.
  • One in three women are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. I believe my children should be free to pursue their educations without sustaining trauma for the rest of their lives.
  • I don’t believe my marriage to my husband should be any more valid than if I married a woman. I strongly believe everyone deserves the right to marry whomever they love and have a family.
  • I believe black lives matter just as much as my own and those of my family.
  • I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I don’t believe thousands of Americans like me deserve to needlessly die due to a lack of coverage. I believe children deserve care whether or not they were born disabled or into poverty.

I don’t believe in these principles because I’m a liberal, Democrat or feminist. I believe in these issues because I possess a certain level of common sense and human decency. I marched with my own mother surrounded by strong women whose voices demand to be heard. We’re not backing down because a few knuckle-dragging Neanderthals on the Internet called us names.

The spirit of the Women’s March and feminism is inclusive, compassionate, patriotic, supportive and powerful. It’s not about division, attacks or hurling insults at others. We may be nasty women in terms of our anger, passion and perseverance. But we’re not mean, hateful or vindictive. Don’t believe a false narrative that tells you otherwise.lincoln

Feminism is not a dirty word. If you believe in the radical notion that women are people, you can sit with us. The Women’s March was only the catalyst for a much bigger movement and it’s just begun.  History has its eyes on you and no matter who you are, it’s not too late for you to join us.

 

 

10 Ways Parents are Dirty Liars.

I read Tobin’s spectacular article, My Son Is a Gifted Program Reject, and I’m OK With That  on Scary Mommy and loved it. I found more of Tobin’s work on his blog and soon discovered he’s not only wicked funny, I also found his perspective on parenting to be refreshing and insightful. From tackling difficult topics to the logistics of adoption to toddlers dropping f bombs, Tobin shares it all with good humor and kindness.

I’m thrilled to share this collaborative post Tobin and I created together. Do yourself a favor and follow Tobin and his beautiful family via the links at the bottom of this post!


There are no supermoms. Do-it-all dads don’t exist, either. Sure, we smile at the pick-up line – hiding the tired bags under our eyes and fighting the urge to uncork the Pinot at an earlier-than-socially-acceptable hour. The truth is that parents are fantastic liars. We have Ph.D.’s in painting lipstick on the pig of struggle.

Tobin Walsh of The Good-Bad Dad and I can prove it.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircleYour mom’s a liar.

I understand how you might think moms are flawless super humans. But, alas, we are not without fault. Frankly, starting a sentence with “I don’t know” should have been a dead giveaway as we obviously know everything. Fellow moms, forgive me, as I reveal five half-truths, omissions and flat-out lies that have escaped my lips.

tobinheadYour dad is full of it.

The deception doesn’t stop with moms.  I’m guilty and so are my fellow dads. From the outside looking in, dads are the perfect combination of macho and sensitive, attentive and firm, and masters of the art of work-life balance. 

We’ll try hard at misdirection. Outwardly, we love to be spending Saturday doing nothing more than hanging out with the family.  Inwardly, we regret that “sleeping in” now refers to snoozing until 8 a.m. None of us miss our golf clubs or a chance to watch a football game without interruption, in its entirety.

But, let me tell you – we’re lying.

Dads lie to feel better, to hide insecurity and keep up with the other fake, do-it-all dads that waive at us joyfully at soccer practice.

If you’ve heard a dad say the five lies below, please don’t judge – the deception provides us a frat-boy bond our middle-aged selves miss.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircle“I don’t know how we go through so many fruit snacks.”

It’s me. My four-year-old’s worst nightmare is a reality—while he’s napping soundly in his bed, I’m noshing on his fruit snacks and desperately hiding the wrappers that reveal my guilt. Those little sugary nuggets have no nutritional value and are absolutely delicious.

tobinhead“I cannot wait to have another baby!”

To a dad, the word “baby” initially has no human ties – it’s an adjective, describing work that no father would otherwise sign up for.

Moms think of baby-cuddles.  Dads see sleepless nights, cutting teeth, midnight feedings and another hefty daycare bill.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircle“Sometimes the baby just takes so long nursing.”

True, sometimes nursing sessions are especially long. But more often than not, the baby stopped nursing at least 20 minutes ago and I’m just enjoying the quiet escape, cuddling a knocked out baby. I might be browsing Facebook. I might be just using the baby to escape your uncle’s political tirades during a family dinner.

tobinhead“Traveling on business is such a drag.”

Having to travel for work is the “get out of jail free” card for dads.

A few days of restful sleep, unbridled gym time, and prepared dinners on the company’s dime is not exactly roughing it.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircle“I don’t know why I’m so tired.”

Yeah, I do. It’s a lack of sleep and the utter exhaustion that comes with raising small children with boundless energy. But if I’m being honest, the lack of sleep is typically not due to the kids getting up in the middle of the night. It’s usually due to the lure of the midnight hour. After the kids go to bed, there’s calmness unlike any other time of day. There’s Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s calling my name! How can I just turn down Joanna Gaines and a pint of Half Baked in a peacefully quiet house?

tobinhead“The cost does not matter as long as it makes them happy.”

The dollars matter.  Always.

Dads beam with pride as our kids hoist a championship trophy while complaining about the check written a month ago for league fees.

A steep price tag might not prevent us from signing our daughters up for the dance academy but, it might, have us trying to hide our joy when they lose interest for “Jazz-Hip Hop Fusion” after a few weeks.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircle“I don’t really go to Target that much.”

OK, yes, I am familiar with most of the cashiers and have my favorites. Yes, I do know what seasonal items are featured in the dollar section right now. And OK, yes, I am monitoring the price of a few clearance items right now. Sure, I am able to help a customer find items if an employee isn’t readily available.

Actually, speaking of Target, I think we’re a little low on a few things. I’ll run out super quick. I’m sure I won’t be gone more than a half hour.

tobinhead“I know that he/she won’t be doing this professionally.”

Dads are keenly aware of the “one-in-a-million” statistics for being professional athletes or entertainers.  No matter the odds, we all have that hope.

When dads watch sports, we cannot squash the fleeting thoughts of our children showing flashes of LeBron’s greatness, Tom Brady’s charm or Usher’s silky-smooth dance moves.

farrahalexanderheadshotcircle“I’m running to Target, be back in a half hour.”

tobinhead“My wife really doesn’t go to Target much.”

Parents don’t lie to hurt, we lie to salvage – a smile, a sense of calm, and to garner courage to win tomorrow.

And, sometimes, whether you’re a Mom or a Dad, we lie because Target just put up the Easter candy display and that sounds better than changing another diaper.

About Tobin Walsh:

Tobin Walsh is a husband and father of 5. Tobin’s rambunctious family life provides ample opportunities for thoughtful pieces about fatherhood. Check out his writing at goodbaddad.com. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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