Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Parents: It Gets Better

Tomorrow is a day I've anticipated for years. Actual years. It's here.

*****

For years I've talked about having a campaign for parents: #ItGetsBetter (though I don't mean to be disrespectful to It Gets Better in any way). Parents sometimes find themselves in well-documented (or not) throes and need something, anything to hold onto-- which is to say something, anything OTHER THAN, "Oooh, these years pass so quickly, don't you just love it?" and that ilk.

I'll be honest: I've found myself actually loving most of those crazy moments. I laughed heartily when I walked in on this scene:



I've also cried myself straight out of stores, out of church, away from social events, and straight to my bathroom only to find that there isn't any place to be safe from the inevitable heartache occasionally brought on by parenthood.

*****

When my youngest was born, my second-to-youngest was 18 months old. I remember saying to myself at that time, "Three years. I'm giving myself three years. I won't go anywhere, I won't have any expectations." It was a survival tactic, and it was effective. It's not (necessarily) the best kind of thing for every parent to do, but it was the best thing for me to do then.

My oldest was born 8 days after I turned 22. My youngest was born 14 days after I turned 31. I like being a young mom, but I don't remember my twenties.

*****

In September of 2008 my kids were 5 months, almost 2, 4 and a half, turning 7, and 9 and a half. Things were going on, despite my 3-year moratorium. Kids still had school and lessons, speech therapists still had to visit my house, and I was doing fundraising things online.

I don't know which day in September I did it, but one day I walked over to the pantry, opened the door and looked at my calendar. I grabbed a green marker and made a chart.



I needed to know. For whatever reason that day, I needed a timeline. I didn't feel desperate, just wondering: How long until they were all in school? Maybe more than that, I needed to know: When would they all be in school all day?

Even I was surprised by this move. I'm not a mom who rejoices at her kids going back to school. I like having them home, I like being with them. I'm also a mom who recognizes the benefit of the structure that comes from their days of school and other activities, days which just aren't the same during summer break.

*****

And here we are. Tomorrow's the day.

All the kids will start the school year, that school year I wrote down back in 2008. 14-15. That's tomorrow. It's not some abstract date I wonder about while I have babies on my hip and Kraft dinner on the stove (again).

So, Dear Parents:

It Gets Better.

Not that you shouldn't enjoy whatever stage you're in, but you're the boss of that. I'm not, your mom isn't, strangers at the store aren't, even well-meaning friends aren't.

Maybe you are enjoying this stage. Super, and GoodOnYa. But maybe this stage is really hard for you, in which case, it's okay, hang in there, and keep going.

*****

It's a new season. Yeah, I'm going to call it better.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I posted in April. What happened next will BLOW YOUR MIND!

Taking a two-month break from blogging wasn't intentional, yet here we are.

I have some things to say, and some other things to not say.

Today I'll stick with this: Can we stop sharing/encouraging these posts with crazy-bait headlines?

"This Mom Thought She Was On Her Way To Church. What Her Family Did For Her Will Have You In Tears!"

"You Won't Believe What This Dog Did For A Little Girl!"

"Watch The Video From This Guy's Nature Hike! The Last 45 Seconds Will Change Your Life!"

Blech.

Pointing out a specific time(frame) in a video (with or without lauding any degree of life-changing virtue) is a way to guarantee that I'm not interested. Why? Because I'm smart enough to figure out what I like on my own, thankyouverymuch.

Hi, Summer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Turning Dirty Water Into Clean Water #ad

Happy Earth Day!

Yesterday I posted a short video to Instagram, and it got some good response, and also some questions, so I thought I'd talk about it more here.

In 2004, Procter & Gamble (P&G) created the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program to raise awareness about the global water crisis. Since then, much effort (and millions of dollars) have gone into providing clean drinking water to those who need it most. The P&G Purifier of Water product was developed, which is a simple-to-use packet of powder which can be used to turn liters of dirty and potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water in just minutes.


With the help of 140 partners, P&G has provided billions of liters of clean water, saving an estimated 39,000 lives. In fact, the 7 billionth liter was recently delivered to a family in Brazil.

Check out this quick video:



It's a really cool product, and I'm glad to have been able to work with P&G in spreading the word about it. Since it's Earth Day, I want to let you know that until 11:59 p.m. EST tonight, for every share of the hashtag #7BillionLiters on facebook, twitter, or instagram, P&G will donate an additional liter of clean drinking water (up to 1 million additional liters) to people who need it around the world.

I love to see when social media and social good go hand-in-hand. So, please, for Earth Day, tweet, share on fb, or share on IG something with the hashtag #7BillionLiters.

Thanks to P&G for sponsoring this post, and for all the work they do to to invest in a cleaner planet. #ad

You can find out more about P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water on facebook, twitter, or follow them on instagram.

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Note from the General Women's Meeting

**Edited with added updates below**

I’m not sure why I feel the need to share this, but I do feel it, so I’m guessing maybe someone needs to read it:

Last Saturday I took my three oldest daughters to Salt Lake to attend the first General Women’s Meeting. It was a good experience, and I’m glad we went. There’s a lot I could say about it, but what I feel inclined to say just focuses on one aspect. I’ll attempt to be brief.

Something happened repeatedly that afternoon and evening. It happened only to me and not my daughters (thank goodness), but it happened. As we rode the train, as we walked the sidewalks of the city, I saw it—watched it happen, over and over again. It was subtle, but I can’t pretend it wasn’t real. And the more I think about it the more I’m surprised…not only that it happened, but surprised that I found myself surprised that it was happening.

Women, one by one, looked at me, did a double-take, and looked me up and down. After that, with pursed lips, they’d do one of two things: either make an effort to make eye contact with me and deliver a scowl, or whisper to their friend(s) who would, in turn, do the exact same thing.

It did not happen with men (except for when a man was the recipient of the whispering I mentioned). One woman, after making eye contact with me, rolled her eyes (this was the hostess of the restaurant at which my daughters and I dined). Another woman was staring at me with such intensity that I initially mistook her stare for that thing where you’re just kind of zoning out and don’t see what’s in front of you, but after several seconds she blinked and I felt her intention.

I presume that the objective was to make me feel uncomfortable and/or out of place. I didn’t feel either of those things.

The one place/group of people with whom it (consistently) didn’t happen was at the Conference Center, with those who were on-site hosts. From those women and men I felt nothing but sincerity when they said to my daughters and me, “Welcome to Conference.”

I don’t think my girls noticed, but I haven’t asked them. It might be an interesting conversation to have.

What’s my point of writing this? I’m not sure. Like I said, maybe someone needs to read this. Maybe it’s someone who can be comforted that they’re not alone. Or maybe it’s someone who might think twice before being so inconsiderate in their reaction to what another person is wearing to a church meeting. 

*****
When I wrote this last night, it was in a bit of a rush, and, like I said, I didn't know why I should share it other than the feeling that it might have been for someone else's benefit. It hadn't been my intention to share it immediately after it happened (which is why I didn't, duh), mainly because of potential misunderstanding that this is Just Another Pants Post: it is, and it isn't.

I shared it on facebook, where some friends added their thoughts (and even more, I suspect, didn't). While the discussion continues there, I do want to add more thoughts here (maybe mainly so that I can come back to my blog post later if I want to, which is often easier than trying to find an old facebook post). I'll begin with a comment I made on fb:

'So, yes: I was wearing pants. And maybe it was because I was Making A Statement, and maybe it wasn't. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we BE NICER to each other For The Love. More kindness, por favor. If you are inclined to scowl at someone for what they are wearing (and the presumptions which accompany) please reconsider that sort of thing.'

Also, in response to another friend who commented: So you went dressed knowing you could get a response from some people, and you did, so now what?, I said the following: 'I don't really know what you mean by asking, 'now what?'. Maybe I wasn't clear in the point that I was not, in fact, dressed in an effort to get a reaction. I have my reasons for why I dressed the way I did, but getting a reaction is not one of them; taking a political stance isn't even one of them, unless you consider teaching my daughters by example that it really is okay to wear pants to a church meeting despite what people around them might (and do) say to be a political stance. Neither my dressing a certain way, nor my writing about it, are a part of any sort of agenda or plan with an outlined next step. When I feel inclined to share my thoughts on certain larger, pressing issues I will, and likely on my blog. But for now, my aim is to share my thoughts about how we all really should incorporate more kindness into our lives, perhaps especially with those with whom we disagree (and, of course, not make assumptions - but instead ask questions - about what one does or does not think based on what they are wearing, when they are wearing it, and where they are wearing it.).'

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

To You, from my 12YO Daughter

Dear Readers, 

Two years ago you all stepped up and helped my daughter when she was participating in a fundraiser, and she has not forgotten your generosity. She's participating again, and her goal is to raise $75 online -- just today and tomorrow. Here, her words to you: 

By the end of this week I'm trying to raise at least $75 online for Jump Rope For Heart and The American Heart Association. I love doing this fundraiser and it's my last year doing it at my elementary school. I love to raise money to help kids with heart disabilities. I actually also love to jump rope. I can do double-dutch, both backwards and forward cross. I can do a cartwheel into a jump rope, and even jump rope while on a pogo stick. I really enjoy doing this and I'd really appreciate if you could help me out. Thanks! ~ Emma Eckton



Here is the link to her fundraising page. (Feel free to share.)

You should know that she has complete confidence in strong online communities. Thank you, all of you, for continuously showing her how good and helpful people can be.