Not All Heroes Have Capes- Some Wear Mom Jeans

Not all heroes have capes. Some wear mom jeans.

A few months back, during a certain impeachment trial, a certain political figure’s son sent out an image of a certain U.S. Senator, wearing high wasted jeans with a caption that read, “Because Mom Jeans are for Wussies.” (Except, it didn’t exactly say “wussies”, but you can Google it for the R rated version.) Anywho, while the post was meant to be derogatory to the politician due to the way he voted, I couldn’t help but be a little offended by the tasteless humor.  It was quite off putting for those of us who kick butt and take names wearing mom jeans. Clearly, somebody did not realize that the people who are really running the world, rock mom jeans on the regular.

Mom jeans. Those up past your belly button, comfy on a post-baby body, perfectly lovely pant option. The most suitable article of clothing for tucking in your pooch and keeping everything covered while you lean over to pick up a basket of laundry or load your car with groceries.  They are perfect for weekends on the soccer field, or answering work emails in the school car line. No, they are not always that flattering, and no, you wouldn’t have caught me dead in them back in college, but man can I conquer life in them now. And there is nothing “wussy” about a mom taking charge.

Not only do mom jeans provide comfort while tackling an assortment of tasks, dare I say, they are cool now? Celebs such as Beyonce, J-Lo and Jessica Simpson have rocked them over the years. And if it’s good enough for Queen Bey, it’s good enough for me.

And while we are on the subject, I happened to notice a certain animated character in the new movie, Onward, pretty much saved the world while wearing, you guessed it, mom jeans. Thank you Disney Pixar, for making high waisted pants the Super Hero cape of the mom world.

onward-Julia-Louis-Dreyfus-Laurel-Lightfoot

So, while they may not meet the standard of “perfection” or “sophistication” that some people have set for women, a good pair of mom jeans should never be underestimated. Because, no, moms don’t always have low-rise pant friendly bodies, but that’s because we are raising tiny humans and quite literally take on the weight of the world every day. We help shape the future and deserve to be comfortable and confident while doing it. So the next time you see a woman wearing mom jeans, know that you are in the presence of greatness. Mom jeans aren’t for wussies- they are for freaking super heroes.

Dear Rule Followers, Thank You.

If I’ve learned anything throughout this Coronavirus pandemic, it’s that fighting it, is a group effort. There are the obvious fighters like the first responders, healthcare workers, retail employees, truck drivers, and delivery people who are risking their lives to run the world right now. They don’t have the luxury of staying home, and we simply couldn’t do it without them. And then there are the non-visible, less heroic type of fighters, who are quietly and diligently following the rules of social distancing, and helping us all get to the finish line of this crazy situation sooner.

We often praise the front line essential workers for their amazing efforts (as we should continue to do), but we also need to give a shout out to the regular folks who are doing the challenging “work” of staying put. We need to recognize the amazing people who have put forth their best efforts to follow C.D.C. guidelines and not leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary.

I’m talking about the single people who have endured weeks of solitude with little to no outside world interaction. Also, the folks who have gone a month without visiting their elderly grandparents. The moms who have repeatedly told their children that, no, they can not have a play date with friends. The parents at their breaking point who would love nothing more than to drop the kids off at Grandma’s house, but choose to stay home because it is the right thing to do. The families that choose Zoom meetings over an in person get together for their Easter celebration or little one’s first birthday party.

There are countless people who have been forced to give up vacations, graduations, weddings, proms and other momentous life occasions in an effort to keep all of us safe. They deserve our respect for their sacrifices. But, we also need to recognize those people who have been tempted by opportunities for a quick trip to browse Target or a “harmless evening” with fellow quarantined neighbors, and still managed to make the CHOICE to stay home and put other’s health and safety above their own wants- they are life savers too.

It is so easy to find ways to justify leaving our homes. We are all desperate for our old ways of life and can convince ourselves that our actions “aren’t that bad” or “won’t make a difference.” But, the best way to honor those essential workers who don’t have a choice about whether or not to stay home, is for us to choose to stay put. It’s not easy (doing the right thing rarely is) but is saving us all.

So, thank you to our selfless front line heroes, and thank you to the rule following stay-at-home life savers too. We will beat this thing together.

Thank You note

Keeping It Real: Why I Like People More During the Coronavirus

Canva - Woman Sitting on Wooden Planks

A funny thing has happened since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our world. While my interactions with humans (other than my immediate family) have been on average, zero, I have come to see so much good in people lately…from a distance that is. Not just good in the traditional “good deed doer” sense- although there has been plenty of that- I’m looking at you, healthcare workers! I mean good, in the real, raw, “that’s how you should act as a flawed, authentic, human” way.  It’s hard to be “fake” or “phony” when you are in crisis mode.

Throughout my life, I’ve come to realize that my circle of friends stays pretty small and close knit. I may have lots of acquaintances in my day to day activities, but I keep the friend list to a minimum. When I do slide someone new into the friend category, I do it selectively. It has to be someone I consider genuine and able to share their real flaws, emotions, and feelings with me. I don’t know how to do surface or fake friendships well. I am my most uncomfortable in a big group setting where I have to pretend to be interested in someone’s “on” or “polished” version of his or herself. I imagine this is why I work with kids. They are honest to a fault. They tell it like it is. They show every emotion that they feel, which I love.

That is what I’ve noticed about people since this whole Coronavirus things has started. People are scared, frustrated, sad, messy, anxious, and they are expressing it. No one has the energy to pretend to have it all together anymore. No beautifully edited vacation pictures filling up my social media. No perfectly styled family portraits with the caption “they’re my whole world.” And no filtered out version of people dressed up for big events. We are just all hot messes and owning it.

While I would never wish long term suffering on anyone (not even the fakest of fake Kardashians), I can’t help feeling so much more connected to people throughout this whole experience. Whether it’s the common bond of going through such an unprecedented crisis with my fellow human, or the fact that the veil of perfection finally has permission to come off, I can see so much more good in people. We are sharing our fears of job losses. We are commiserating about the hardships of homeschooling. And we are cheering each other up with endless, laugh or you will cry at the situation, memes. We are acting like real people, and it gives me hope.

Quarantine Sanity and Happiness

In the words of Joey Tribbiani, “How you doin?”

No seriously, this new life we’re all experiencing is no joke. The sudden change of all our routines. The abrupt halt of life as we know it. It can take a huge toll on our mental well being. I find myself having moments where I actually mourn my normal, mundane life stuff. Like, remember the good old days when we could run to Target and browse the hand soaps without fear of the National Guard showing up?! Remember when running out of toilet paper was just an inconvenience and not a White House Press conference situation?

I am incredibly grateful for the hard work of healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, truck drivers…(the list goes on and on.) And even though I know how lucky I am to be home with my kiddos during these uncertain times, I still miss my students and the structure of my work life. I’m sad for my boys and this new, weird stay at home situation and all the things they have already missed. And, I’m not going to lie- I’m worried for the future. But, throughout this past week (which, OMG doesn’t it feel like a year?!) there have been moments where I felt optimistic, cheerful and dare I say it, sane. So, I thought I’d share my instances of happy to spread a little positivity, and maybe you all can share some of yours?

What's Making You Happy_ What's Keeping You Sane_

  1. Routine. I have always been a routine, planner kind of girl. And while I don’t have anywhere to go and nothing is on my agenda, just the act of having a morning routine is comforting. I’m up when my kids get up, which is usually around 8:00 AM. I put on fresh clothes, make their breakfast, and sit with a cup of coffee. It’s similar to our weekday routine, but less rushed and more enjoyable.
  2. Exercise. Thankfully I’m an at home workout person anyway. Just keeping up with my normal routine of exercise (yoga practice, bike rides, walks) has really helped my mental state.
  3. Making a to-do list. I have loved to-do lists since I was a child. I keep making lists to keep my sanity. Sometimes my lists are simple (laundry, take chicken out of the freezer, etc.) and other times they are inspired by my kids. We create our “what do we want to do today?” list together and it gives us a purpose and plan for the hours ahead that can feel a little endless at times.
  4. Creative Outlets. I go a little stir crazy without a project to work on. Having something to write or an activity to plan for my kids helps me tremendously. Recently I have been creating virtual lesson plans for my students and it has been surprisingly enjoyable.
  5. Getting outside. We are so lucky to live in the South where we can spend our time doing outside chores and play. Today I went for a walk while listening to an audio book and it completely transformed my mood.
  6. Talking to my friends. My text message game has been strong lately. Whether it’s sharing funny memes or checking in with my besties, having that space to vent has been so helpful.
  7. Watching my kids play. Honestly, it’s so nice to have a chance to slooooow down and watch my boys find ways to entertain themselves. I am so impressed with their creativity and what they are able to come up with when they actually have the time to be kids.

So those are my life saving activities for the moment. I’m sure it will evolve as we get deeper into our new social distancing lifestyle. What’s working for you? How are you maintaining your mental health and finding a little joy? Stay safe, sane, and happy, friends!

International Women’s Day

Here's to strong women May we know them May we be them may we raise them ...and may we raise our boys to respect them

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how we can create a more gender equal world and raise awareness against bias. It’s a day to celebrate the achievements of women. And, it’s a day to think about how we can raise our next generation of women to find their voices and strength from a young age.

It’s no secret that we live in a society that was designed to be a place for men to be in power. Women’s voices were silenced for the majority of our country’s history and their opportunities were limited. We’ve come a long way in making it a more equal world, but there is still a lot of work to do. From equal pay to being able to see more leaders that look like us, we women need to keep up the good fight for the little girls we are raising and teaching.

We know we need more examples of strong women highlighted. We need little girls to know that they can grow up to be anything a boy can. From doctors, to scientists, to CEO’s, to even one day (hopefully, maybe!) President of the United States. But, we also need little girls to know that it is just as important to do work that is stereotyped as “women work.” Jobs like nurses, teachers, and caretakers are the backbone of our society. These roles have primarily been filled by women, not because they are less important or easy, but precisely the opposite. They are the hardest jobs on the planet.

It’s also essential that the boys we are raising grow up to see women in a different light than previous generations. We need our boys to know that girls are just as strong, just as smart, and just as worthy of having opinions. We need them to know that women come in all different shapes and sizes. We need them to understand that there are many forms of beauty and strength. And we need them to appreciate that women can be loud & opinionated, or quiet & understated, and it’s all good.

wp-1583675406243.jpg

Mostly I hope this is a day that girls can reflect on how cool it is to be a woman. Yea, a lot of the hard stuff in life tends to fall on us- childbirth, caring for elderly loved ones, heavy mental loads… And we aren’t always given credit for our work. But, we have grit and toughness that can’t be matched. We have fierce female friendships that show us how lucky we are to be women. We come from generations of hardcore women who fought for our rights and would be blown away by our accomplishments. Let’s keep up the fight.

wp-1583626013544.png

Hand Washing- Not Just for Epidemics!

Wash your hands like a teacher who just touched a mystery substance...

If you’ve spent any time around kids, whether working in schools or hospitals, or raising your own, you’ve had that moment when your hand has come upon a dreaded mystery wet spot. Sometimes it’s a shoe lace. Usually it’s the sleeve of a jacket. And often times, it’s on your own pants. Is it snot? Is it slobber? Is it pee? The possibilities are frighteningly endless. And when one has encountered said nightmare substance, one scrubs her hands until the skin is begging for mercy. Antibacterial soap, hot water, under the nails…like you are prepping for surgery. This, my friends, is the gold standard of how we should all be washing our hands on the regular. And, our kids should be doing the same.

Funny story. I once had a parent share with me that her son was looking forward to homeschooling the following year because “then he wouldn’t have to wash his hands so much.” That’s right y’all, I am a hand washing freak in my classroom (and home.) We wash hands when we enter the room. We wash hands before meals, after meals, after the playground, after group bathroom breaks. We wash hands all.day.long. And we don’t just save our hand washing for flu season or world wide Coronavirus epidemics. We do it every blessed day.

Might I suggest that we all adopt these practices into our daily lives? Whether you are 2 or 102, consider making hand washing your “thing.” Make it the thing that people complain about you. Make it what your friends make fun of you for. And do it like a teacher who just touched a mystery substance.

 

 

Welcome to the Blog!

So I’ve had something on my heart. You know that nagging, won’t let you go, keeps popping in your mind, feeling? The one that God keeps nudging you to do something about? It’s that thing that you try to convince yourself to ignore because life is busy and can’t you see I have other things to focus on?! That thing, for me, is this blog.

It’s no secret that I’ve got some thoughts about the state of the world…specifically the world we are leaving our kids. I’ve given glimpses of my beliefs through social media, our family website, and my posts for our local moms blog, but I have been searching for another (more appropriate) vehicle to share everything that’s on my mind.

From education, to parenting, to the health of our planet and demeanor of our society, I feel the intense urge to bang everyone over the head with my strong opinions which are always on point. Juuuust kidding! I don’t have it all figured out (by a long shot), but what I do have is a deep longing for everyone to be reminded of what really matters. And for me, that’s our children. The ones we are raising, teaching, setting examples for, and in most ways, should be trying to emulate. Because the truth is, the more time I spend with kids, the more I want to be like them. So here’s my vision for this blog…

Consider it a one stop shop for the following:

-Ways to deal with the grown-up world while maintaining a childlike heart & faith

-Big thoughts/questions about the state of our country as it pertains to our children

-Education tips and ideas that are kid tested (hello human guinea pigs in my classroom and home!)

-Embracing small joys, random fun, cute stuff, little adventures, and laugh-out-loud-at-yourself moments (like kids do!)

-Personal anecdotes that I hope fellow women/moms/teachers/humans can relate to (i.e. cheap therapy that writing provides for me!)

I think our kids hold the key to what life is all about. (Cue Whitney Houston singing.) I think if we watch them more closely and live our lives more like they do, then we’ll all be alright. My hope is that this blog will help me (and others) make that happen.

Keep adventuring, and stay not a grown up.

— J. M. Barrie