On Raising Girls

Jul 22, 2014 by

From every direction I am being inundated with advice on how to raise my daughters and they all contradict each other and no matter what, I’m doing it wrong. The recent social media campaign #YesAllWomen was a tipping point for me. The gist of it is to raise awareness about violence against women, misogyny, sexism in general, and that, yes, all women experience this – often multiple times a day – and often at the hands of men they know. yes   Of course, Twitter exploded with differing opinions on this. Not all men perpetrate crimes against women (which is what prompted the #YesAllWomen tag to be created), not all men are sexist. Not all men are rapists (date or otherwise).  Poor, targeted men. How can they know what’s off limits and what’s not? To me, it’s  personal  for every woman. And while some may argue that might be confusing to men, my hope is that just like I’m trying to raise up smart, respectful women, boy moms are doing the same with their sons. For example, some women might not be offended by, say, Robin Thicke. And to me, that’s fine. I’m not going to tell them, “HEY! He’s objectifying you! Feel outrage! Feel violated! TAKE ACTION!” Why? Why should I do that? It’s not my job to tell other women how to feel. Isn’t that… not any better than what he’s doing? Isn’t that assuming I know better than them how to digest information? blurred If I like a song like Blurred Lines (I dance my ass off to no fewer than a hundred questionably-lyric’ed songs — I’m a hustlah baby, I just want you to know.), am I objectifying myself? Am I teaching my daughters it’s okay and even expected that they be paraded around like dumb, pretty things? In my heart, the answer to that question is not unless I believe that crap myself. I don’t.  decide how I react to those songs.  It’s fun to dance to and, um, yeah. That’s it. I don’t know why the models in that video chose to be in it, and it’s not my business. What is my business is teaching my daughters how to think for themselves. To practice respect (both self and otherwise), kindness, independence, and to be smart about their choices. If some guy cat calls my daughter, my hope is that her reaction is to be unaffected. That guy has no power over her or her self-worth. Why give it to him? Why care at all what he thinks? someone1 My youngest loves to dance. She’s three. Her style of dancing includes a lot of booty shaking. We always clap and cheer and, to be honest, admire her confidence and moves. But, should I be discouraging this behavior? What will PEOPLE THINK? Is she inviting the wrong type of attention? Again, for me, the answer is fuck that. If my daughter wants to dance (I mean, I hope she doesn’t twerk because, well, there are just so many better dances), then by all means, get out tha way. I am not about to teach her that expressing herself is wrong or dirty. Society does an excellent job of beating that into us already. Slut shaming anyone? wearwhatiwant I will, however, be realistic. My girls will know that, sadly, there are plenty of people (mostly men — again, REALISTIC) who might feel like they are entitled to them and their bodies. They will know that there are, unfortunately, repercussions to the way you dress, what you say, how you dance, alcohol consumption, and where you hang out. I want them to be safe, but I want them to live. I want my kids to know there are plenty of people who will blame them for someone else’s actions. “You asked for it by wearing that dress/putting your hair up/wearing makeup/painting your nails/dancing like that/walking alone/BREATHING.” That is some kind of bullshit, my friends, but it’s the reality of this world right now. And I don’t think teaching my daughters to “behave” is going to help change this reality. I think teaching them to own their bodies, thoughts, intelligence and choices might. grownup Oh, and another thing I don’t buy into is the idea of not leading men on. I don’t think I should have to teach my daughters that if they say yes one time then the next time they can’t possibly expect their partner to understand that no means no. THAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARTNER THE END. I think it’s pretty obvious when a woman wants the session to end. If you are unsure, fellas, always side with YEP, SHE’S DONE. I don’t give a tiny rat’s ass about blue balls. I don’t.  Of course, they will know what the risk is. OF COURSE. I don’t want them to be assaulted. But, that doesn’t make it right or ok. I don’t care how many times she’s been a consenting partner before. I don’t care what happened before she told you to back off. I don’t care if you’re buck nekkid and raring to go. Don’t. Care.  No exceptions. safety_consent What I’ve decided to run with is teaching my daughters about the realities and risks that come with being a woman, but not to let them dictate their lives. In short, shake away, little booties.

The time I took a stand… against goodie bags

Jul 3, 2014 by

My oldest daughter turns five on Sunday. Don’t even get me started. I start hyperventilating just thinking about it. MY BABY. Sorry. Tangent. Anyway, since her birthday is so close to the holiday, we decided to have her party last weekend. I knew for months what date we’d be celebrating. Months, people. You know what I did with all that lead time? A whole lotta pinning stuff on Pinterest. That’s pretty much it. I had grand ideas, guys. HUGE. But in the end, I did… not a lot.

I realized about three weeks out that I hadn’t, um, invited anyone yet. So, instead of the glorious handmade invitation I’d been daydreaming about creating, I whipped up an e-vite and called it a day. And NOBODY EVEN CARED THAT THEY DIDN’T RECEIVE A REAL INVITATION.

Swagger Wagon

Jun 26, 2014 by

I need you to know something…

I am a proud minivan owner.

I’ve got two words for you: SLIDING DOORS.

I’ve got two words for you: SLIDING DOORS.

When I was pregnant with my second baby, Audrey, one of things I was giddy about (seriously!) was buying a minivan. Yes, we’d only technically have two children, but we do like to spend a lot of time with my nephew and the idea of squishing that poor guy between two carseats? Well. Let’s just say Olivia puts him through enough.

So, my hugely pregnant self said goodbye to my cute little Camry and hello to a new (to us — good GRIEF, minivans are expensive. Makes sense, what with ALL THE AWESOMENESS THEY PROVIDE.) Toyota Sienna.

Aw, yeah. The original Swagger Wagon:

Beer Me the Strength: Vacations with Kids

Jun 19, 2014 by

My husband and I are a few weeks away from embarking on our first family vacation to the Outer Banks. We are really excited: going with good friends whose kids are very close with ours, a week to lounge on the beach or at the pool, a break from real life. Good times.

What is making me nervous is the 12 hour car ride. That’s a long ass time in the car for anyone, let alone an antsy three year old. Our kids are good travelers and definitely sleep in the car. They are fine during our five hour trek to upstate Vermont each August, but five hours ain’t NOTHIN compared to 12.

We have gotten some great tips from fellow parents who’ve BTDT (been there, done that), as well as some Pinterest inspiration, so I’m going to share with you our potential plan of attack in the hopes that maybe it’ll help you, too. OR. You’ll laugh at my naivety and just tell me to pack a few flasks and power through it.

Books, books, and more books

Jun 5, 2014 by

I have written about what we’re reading in the past and figured it’s high time I add an update. My kids are three and almost five years old and this is high on the bedtime reading list in our house right now:

Silverlicious, by Victoria Kann. Olivia’s almost at the tooth fairy stage and this book in the Pinkalicious series is one of her favorites. I like that it teaches a little lesson about being gracious, too.
Where Is Home, Little Pip?, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Audrey is obsessed with Pip, a little penguin who inadvertently wanders away from her Mama and Papa and gets lost. She encounters many animals and none of them can tell her, “Where is home?” When her parents finally find her, she realizes that home is not where you are, but who you are with. Warm fuzzies, y’all.
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