How Could I Have Been So Wrong About People?

Isn’t it funny when you reflect upon friends of your past and there are times when you cringe? Or maybe someone you dated or had a random hook-up? Sometimes it’s funny, other times it’s tragic, but it is definitely part of getting older. I’m in my early thirties, and for the last few years, I have really noticed a disconnect from the person I was and the person I am today. Thanks to evil/genius of Facebook, it seems we never have to completely lose touch with everyone we have ever known. The best friend in 1st grade? The girl scout troop leader’s daughter? College roommate and college roommate’s boyfriend who she isn’t even friends with anymore? The dude you met once at a frat party junior year of college and would never remember his name if it wasn’t for his occasional post on the being vegan or saving the bees? They’re all there.

In the good old days (Again, I’m only in my 30s so this is mostly the 90s I’m talking about) people would be friends, lose interest and never speak again. And you know what? That was fine. It was more than fine, it was natural. Now with social media, we don’t get to just remember people fondly, we have to be reminded of their existence daily. Why do I do it? I know I will just be disappointed by someone. We all do it. It’s sick. It’s like popping people’s zits or reading the intricate details of serial killers on Wikipedia for hours. It’s a waste of time, it’s not healthy, and it’s depressing (which would also be unhealthy since it’s self-infliction).

When I talk to people from the past, which is rarely on the phone or in real life proving how minor our true connection is,  I try to remember why I spent time with this person. Were they always like this? Was their political leaning always this extreme? Did they always hate puppies and engage in hipster culture? Mostly, they didn’t. People change, and hey! that’s fine. I have changed substantially in the last decade. One of the more troubling services Facebook offers is a reminder of what you posted on a certain day each year. This is a horrifying glimpse at the kind of person I have been. There are times I laugh at how silly I was being over something minor. There are times when I feel nostalgic, but mostly I just want to scream “Megan! Why are you the worst?!” No wonder, I know these people, I was a terrible in many ways too.

In reality, I don’t really believe I was all that bad. Typically, I am reminded of how I felt in those moments. When I am having a tough time and am convinced my life was so much easier and I was so much more sure of myself when I was in my twenties, I  am reminded by Facebook that I was much more lost than I am now. It’s a  pleasant feeling.

As for my “Friends”, have I changed or have they? The problem with Facebook is that everyone gives snapshots of who they are, what they’re going through, and what they believe, in such a superficial way that it’s hard to connect with these people on a deeper level. Since I rarely reach out to these friends, some of who I was extremely close to at one time in my life, I never really find out how much they have truly changed.  Even sending a quick message seems like too much of an effort. I’m awkward and don’t know if I really want to carry on a long back and forth, so what’s the point? These people are not really my friends anymore. The likelihood of spending face-to-face time with most of them would almost be the same as spending time with Reese Witherspoon, Kevin Smith and Stan Lee (All of who I follow on Facebook). Is that who these people, who I used to go to dinner with, go to parties with, and believe would be my friends forever, have become? Now more integral to my life than celebrities I find endearing?

Along with the friends who I just don’t feel the desire to contact, there are also the few that I downright despise. Even though I have had the reasonable mind to unfriend quite a few people over the years, there are at least a half-dozen that I choose not to “Follow” but are still on my friend’s list. I haven’t committed to dropping them completely because even though I can’t stand anything they post and if I saw them, I may feel the need to punch them in the face, there is something stopping me from hitting that unfriend button. These are usually the people I try to remember all of the positive things about their genuine persona rather than their Facebook persona. There are also a few who I know will contact me if I unfriend them which would lead me to explain just how awful I find them. It’s not that I mind confrontation, it’s that I hate wasting time on something I care so little about.

I can’t even find it in myself to post something. I’ll glance at the feed every day or even check out someone’s profile, but post something about my own life? Nope. I am not much of a sharer because I’m not sure that anyone is all that intrigued with my life. Other than my mother who I speak to on the phone every single night. She doesn’t need my updates, I have her updated more than necessary.

One thing that I have seen people admit about Facebook and other social media is that people too often post pictures of their children. While I suggest and practice keeping your profile on private to keep the cuties unseen by the general public, I disagree with the complainers. I adore seeing people’s children. Whether the person is a close friend, family member or just an acquaintance I haven’t seen in a decade, I want to see those chubby cheeks and those days at the zoo.  It’s sweet, harmless, and just a relief from being reminded of the terrible politics of today. Be who you are, and I’ll continue to be who I am, but I probably won’t post anything on Facebook about it.

 

 

Little-Miss-Social-Media-Know-It-Alls!

Lately, I haven’t been writing much for this blog. Keeping up with a blog can be time-consuming and problematic when your blog is about parenting and you still have to parent. That statement is false and I only said it as a way to show the sort of passive aggressive attitude that some mothers use on social media as a way to judge each other. The reason why I haven’t had time to write more blog posts has little to do with all of the time I am spending with my children and more about the time I am working on other projects. Currently, I am working on another YA novel and a few essays while also writing freelance for difference websites. I do spend an almost inordinate amount of time with my kids. Since I do spend so much time with my children, make sure they are healthy, happy, constantly learning and feeling loved, you would think that most observers would label me a “Good Mother”. I am confident in that label but I think there is always work to be done and more to strive for when it comes to parenting and making sure we are helping shape good human beings.

Now let’s move on to my main gripe, the social media judgy mothers. I am not an avid social media user and only have a Facebook and Twitter account.I have never had an Instagram and only had Snapchat for about ten minutes before realizing it was a way to pass dirty pictures to the desired sex who are long distance friends and want to get weird but pretend it didn’t happen the next day. I have complained before about hating Facebook. At one point, I even closed my Facebook account but returned to it only to keep in contact with family members because Facebook has become the place to keep in contact with parents, cousins and distant great-aunts who you haven’t seen since you were three.

One particular person on my “Friends” list is not my own family member but a cousin-in-law. I have known her since she was ten and had plenty of spunk. Today, she is going to be twenty-three, married, has two toddlers, and an unending stream of judgemental mother posts. A few of the highlights include; Breastfeeding is the only way, circumcision is basically murder,  kids aren’t expensive and people are just wasteful, vaccines are the devil, you aren’t using the car seat properly, and so many more things that I have lost track. I am not talking trash about this person, I know she is a lovely person but I think she has gotten a bit over her head in believing she knows everything. She’s in her 20s, that’s pretty much how it goes. Now let’s see,

  1. Breastfeeding is the only way- I understand the importance of breast milk and certainly, breast is best but it is not the only way. The very idea that she is naive enough to believe that everyone has the ability for free-flowing breast milk at all times is absurd. Some women just can’t keep up with the supply and demand and no one should tell them that there is anything wrong with that. There is already so much negativity between women, do we really need to add breast milk shaming to the list? I tried to breastfeed with both my children and the one who lasted the longest only managed for two months. After that, I was exhausted and bone dry. I wish there was something I could have changed about my biology but even a lactation specialist told me to stop worrying about it so much.
  2. Circumcision is basically murder: I am not exactly sure where her obsession with circumcision came from considering she does not have any boys but I will ignore that aspect of it. To say female and male circumcision is the same is a bit off but I understand where she thinks she is coming from. I do believe in circumcision because I have spoken to men who were not circumcised and wished they were. They talk about having infections when they were children because it was more difficult to clean and the fear of being naked around others because it is much more common in the United States to be circumcised. That being said, everyone has to make the choice for their own child when they are too young to make them for themselves. Whether the child will grow up to be angry that their parent had the procedure done before they were old enough to stop it, or if they are furious that their parent didn’t have it done. To make someone feel like a monster, no matter what choice they make, is cruel.
  3. Kids aren’t expensive and people should stop complaining- Telling other people that what they do and do not buy for their kids is wrong is the real problem here. Besides the fact that kids do get more expensive when they get older (bigger beds, more space in a home, possible braces, potential ridiculous accidents that end up with a kid in the ER, field trip money, birthday party gifts, more food, so much more food…). Kids are expensive to some degree because life is expensive. Everything cost money and to limit every little thing a child needs just to say you are a thrifty person doesn’t really work. Especially once the kids are old enough to question these decisions.
  4. Vaccines are the devil-Ugh, this is the most annoying argument from the last decade for parents. I am not even talking specifically about what is wrong or right.  I was vaccinated as a child, and my children are vaccinated. I believe in science and have not had any issues that would contradict my decision. I don’t care if you don’t want to vaccinate your child. If you go to Disneyland during a Measles outbreak, good luck. Please just stop posting nonstop propaganda on your feed.
  5. Everyone is putting their kids in car seats wrong. It’s simple, follow the directions on the piece of paper that comes in the box. If you are not confident in how safe the seat is for your child, go to any fire station and they will help you. Using Pinterest or Facebook as a guide, rather than common sense, is what is wrong with the world today.

The last one had me channeling Andy Rooney but I do believe it. I hate to make posts that are basically me ranting about things that people do but there is no way I am the only one who goes through this. Just as this blog gives me the ability to say what I want to a global audience, social media is a way for people to share and sometimes vent to others. To make uninformed statements about the way others choose to parent is shortsighted and even strange. I don’t mind the occasional vent but Facebook should probably be less about constantly re-posting political and social agendas until you alienate every family member and friend that you have, and more about funny things that happened to you in line today or maybe some pictures of you climbing Mount Whitney. Now, those are things that I would like to see.

I am Terrified of Everything because Everything and Everyone is Trying to kill me and my Children (Dealing with Anxiety while being a mom)

I am a self-admitted worrywart. I admit it but I am definitely not the first to diagnose myself with this  problem. I am beyond a worrywart, I am one of the unlucky anxiety-ridden people who often seek out assistance from therapist or pharmacists. I have a tendency to make things much more difficult on myself, so I deal with day to day anxiety without any prescriptions or much help at all.

While I have been an anxious person since I was a child, it seems that having children has only increased my obnoxious tendency to fear the world around me. I thought once my children grew out of infancy, that I too would grow out of whatever it was that I was so nervous about. However, this is not the case. When I take the kids camping, I fear ticks which cause Lyme disease, I fear mosquitoes because of the Zika virus, and I fear bears because THEY’RE BEARS! It doesn’t mean I am going to deny my children the experience of camping and hiking and exploring nature, but there will always be a little voice inside my head that reminds me of potential hazards.

Then there are car rides and long trips. Alfred Hitchcock never learned to drive and hated being in cars  because of the likely chance of a car accident.Car accidents are so common that it would be ridiculous not to be afraid of driving in them or riding in them. Again, I can’t keep my kids from taking road trips across the country simply because of the risk, because otherwise I am doing them a disservice from missing all of the best parts of life that I am trying so hard to preserve.

I am also terrified of dented cans which can expose us to botulism, as well as other risky food situations. Amazingly, I fed my kids peanut butter and sushi at a young age. I cannot explains my reasoning for anything because I do not believe I am being completely reasonable most of the time.

The most recent fear I had to overcome this week was general anesthesia. My son needed to be put under because quite a number of his teeth needed work. He is the first kid, which means we made dental mistakes and now we are dealing with them. Since he was so fussy while still awake, they had to dose him with some night night gas. I was completely against it and have been to four previous dentists who suggested it. I have read about so many children dying or suffering brain damage from anesthesia at the dentist that it was a definite no-go. The problem was that this poor kid’s teeth were only getting worse because the damage had already been done and there was no reversing it. I too had a lot of teeth issues when I was a child and I feel my crappy genetics were partly to blame as well. I am not an anti-vaccine person. In fact, I believe science is magical and I would never deny my children their vaccinations because  even if the autism risk was true (which it’s not) I would rather have a kid with autism than a kid who died from something preventable.

Anyway, after finding a dentist and practice I completely trusted. I booked the appointment and nervously counted the days. I dreaded this so much, I could not sleep the night before at all. Here I am the next day and I am so happy to report that it all worked out fine. He did great. The dentist did great and the anesthesiologist did great. I wanted to share this story because when I was googling experiences of children going to the dentist and receiving general anesthesia, it was all the worst possible outcomes. I am a googler. Any pain or strange feeling I have, I immediately start looking up to see how long I have to live. It is a terrible habit and I am trying to stop. I don’t do it nearly as much but it’s still too often.

I admit, I am a worrywart. More than a worrywart, but I am also a mom and what mom doesn’t worry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Parent Parody Videos on the Web

There have been parody videos for a while, but it seems that the last five years have seen the emergence of the parent parody videos.Some are only mediocre, but some are hilarious and so spot on. Here are a few of my favorites from around the web (In no particular order).

  1. Blank Space Parody

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Taylor Swift’s song about past relationships gets the mommy struggle treatment. Rather than singing a song about lost love, the ladies of What’s Up Moms sing about the desperate need for caffeine just to keep up with the little ones.

2. Baby Got Class

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The Holderness family are adorable with their version of Sir Mix-a-lot’s Baby Got Back. Baby Got Class raps gleefully about the joys of kids returning to school after a long summer vacation.

3. I’m So Pregnant

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What’s Up Moms does it again with a parody of Iggy Azalea’s I’m so Fancy with I’m so Pregnant. Hilariously, the ladies sing about the trials of pregnancy including bloating, peeing, and strangers wanting to get handsy.

4. Bad Mom

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Taylor Swift’s epic and elaborate video Bad Blood has it all; supermodel friends, awesome fight scenes, killer clothes and Taylor sporting some great hair. MyLifeSuckers does an amusing but also relevant parody, Bad Mom. The video goes over all of the things that moms give other moms grief about when really everyone is just making it up as they along.

5. Thrift Shop Parody

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This Macklemore parody comes from What’sUpElle, Elle  being one of the lovely mothers from What’s up Moms. The Thrift Shop parody is from the daddies this time and it pokes fun of just how expensive it is to have a fashionable kid. As a West side parent myself, I am familiar with overpriced shoes and dresses for toddler’s who are going to outgrow them in a day.

 

6. Shake it Off Parody

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What can I say? I think the ladies of What’s up Moms are endlessly funny and right on target with their parodies. Once again, we get a parody of the amazing Taylor Swift because her songs are just so damn good. This particular parody deals with those who dare to try out Pinterest projects no matter how useless they craft may be.

I want to be Taylor Swift when I grow up (Except I am older than her)

I don’t actually want to be Taylor Swift, but how great is she? I am sure it is probably cool to not like Taylor Swift because she is overwhelmingly popular, and rich, and likeable, but  I would totally be on her squad. The media is fairly kind to her too, which is surprising because it’s the media and they are not typically kind to anyone. She donates her money and her time for causes she believes in, and she has proven herself to be quite the role model for young girls and boys alike.

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One of the things I like most about her is that my kids, their dad, and I can share our fandom with the same artist. Rarely is there someone two 30-year-olds, one six-year-old, and one five-year-old, can all genuinely adore. Her music is catchy, her videos are rewatchable to the point of insanity, and the good she does in the world is commendable.

My five-year-old daughter is super stylish. She wears hair bows as bow ties, dresses three sizes too small as a shirt, animal print pants, hats, scarves, nothing is off limits. I never thought of it as anything but an inevitability, because when I was her age, I did the same thing. I didn’t wear hats though, my head has always been too big for hats. Her style is not dissimilar to Taylor Swift, but I am almost positive my daughter began dressing this way before she started watching Taylor Swift videos.

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Similarly, my kids also like watching Katy Perry videos. Katy Perry always has colorful and fun videos, and I am a pretty liberal parent, so cupcake bras are not a problem. I am also not too worried about her videos, Taylor Swifts videos, or Lady Gaga’s videos being a bit too much for my young children because these women are being who they are and having a good time. They do not need to be role models to my children, I need to be a role model to my children. That being said, kids look up to and appreciate elements of the people they see on screen, sometimes wanting to emulate them. I was this way as a child, we all were. I wanted to be Alanis, Fiona, Liz Phair, Mariah , and Whitney, because they were cool, stylish and made good music.

As an adult, I now appreciate Taylor Swift. Taylor is actually close to five years younger than me, not exactly a huge difference. However, Taylor is living the life of a single and free woman in her twenties, whereas I have been married, divorced and have two elementary aged children.  It makes me feel like an old lady in comparison. I like Taylor for that youthful exuberance, but also for her dedication to helping others. Millennials get a bad wrap because they are known for being the absolute worst. Honestly, I hate that I am technically within those ridiculous age guidelines of being a millennial, but Taylor Swift is doing the millennial thing justice. She’s a hipster to the extreme, and uses technology at great length, she even names her cats quirky things. But it works for her. Gotta go, “Shake it off” is playing, time for a dance party.

 

Almost 21 Again, now available on Amazon

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Growing up is hard to do, for Juliet Arden, it seems never-ending. On the eve of her 21st birthday, Juliet is unexpectedly faced with a terrible accident that leads to an uncertain fate for her and her best friend, Sally. The next morning Juliet is terrified to discover it was not death the universe chose for her, but a reset. Each time Juliet is close to reaching her milestone birthday, she once again wakes up on her first day of kindergarten. With little consequences and plenty of tries, Juliet is able to do everything she didn’t do in her first life; befriend the nerd, travel the world, and fall in love. After years of being a terrible person, could this all be some everlasting karmic punishment? Or will Juliet be forced to keep reliving her life until she gets it right?

Available on Kindle and Paperback

I have a new book coming out in December

Scheduled for the first week of December, I will be releasing my new YA novel “Almost 21 Again”. The book is for older teens and features a bit of fantasy, romance and the heartache that comes with growing up. Here is a look at the first few pages of the book.

 

Prologue

      There are some people in the world who refuse to accept unhappiness. Juliet Arden is exactly that kind of person. When she was in the third grade, she unknowingly cut in line at lunch time, causing her to get her card pulled. Having index cards in different colors, all of which identified a certain amount of mischief, allowed Juliet to bask in her daily good behavior. One day she discovered her card was no longer the serene and obedient color of blue. She was mortified by such an unprovoked revelation. Instead of crying about it, instead of accepting it, she simply reasoned with the teacher.                                                                                                     Her level of awareness paired with her calm and persuasive attitude resulted in her teacher rethinking such harsh punishment for such a petty infraction. Her ability to maintain her stellar record of good behavior and excellent grades allowed her the opportunity to visit The White House where she received the President’s Award.

When Juliet was 12, she eagerly donated her time to quite a few volunteer opportunities. She taught the elderly new dance moves, cleaned the animal feces at the local petting zoo and put on puppet shows for ailing children at a nearby hospital. When Juliet was sixteen, she discovered that the most popular boy in school was going to ask her out to homecoming much to the dismay of her best friend, Sally Goodacre, who often walked into walls because she was so distracted by the more-than-high-school good looks of Tommy Dahl. Juliet turned down the invitation with grace, sincerity, and an uncommon maturity while suggesting that he ask Sally. While at the dance, Juliet was surprised to discover Tommy ignoring Sally. Sally instead spent the evening with her and Juliet’ best guy friend, Tucker. Sally and Tucker had a flirtatious good time but after dating for a few weeks, they mutually agreed that what they had was only a friendship. This did, however, lead to Sally meeting Tucker’s neighbor, a local artist who awakened Sally’s own passion and ability as a painter.

While at the dance, Juliet sparked a conversation with Elliott Dennison. Elliot was often picked on for his awkwardly oversized horn-rimmed glasses and undersized jeans that were doubtlessly a hand-me-down from his much shorter, older brother. Juliet decided to date Elliot for a while, which caused Elliot to gain a confidence he never had, allowing him to get into an Ivy League school, where he was considered the smartest and coolest guy on campus. When Juliet was 18, she applied to the top seven universities in the country. Not to her surprise, she was accepted to all seven schools with a full scholarship.

It was the night before her 21st birthday when Juliet sat alone in her dorm room, awaiting a shift she knew to expect, but didn’t know why. The glare of her laptop was the only thing that dimly lit her room. It was not typical for Juliet to be alone, she had plenty of friends and was juggling activities and social events on a daily basis since her first day of college. Awaiting the stroke of midnight, Juliet nervously paced her room like she had so many times before. Trying to keep her mind on other things was nearly impossible and ultimately useless. Her eyes welled up with tears, making it difficult to see the red neon numbers on her digital clock. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

After the Earth predictably rotated, exposing itself to the sun, Juliet’s consciousness remained alert far sooner than she allowed her eyes to open. Instead, she kept them tightly shielded from the outside world. Her pursuit to remain invisible to whatever awaited her failed as a slobbering and aggressive tongue greeted her ear.

“Hi, Bailey,” Juliet squeaked.

“Are you ready for your first day of school Juliet?” A pretty woman, just barely into her thirties, with a messy brunette ponytail, blue striped pajama pants, and a mismatched flannel shirt, stumbled into Juliet’s room.

Juliet nodded, in an overly rehearsed manner.

“I can’t believe my baby girl is starting Kindergarten today, where does the time go?” asked Juliet’s mother.

Juliet shrugged, deciding it was best not to let her mom know this would be Juliet’s fifth first day of kindergarten.