- 8 Things I’m Totally Over, Because I’m Too Old And Tired For Bullsh*t
- Singing Loudly Is Good For Your Whole Family, And Here’s Why
- 4 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe From Dangerous Household Medications
- Just Say Thank You, Dammit
- Fainting Is Freaking Terrifying. Here’s What You Need To Know.
- Mommy-Shamers Pile On Jessica Simpson For Letting Her Daughter Enjoy Makeup
- Amber Tamblyn Is Not Having ‘The Redemption Of Men’ In Powerful Op-Ed
- I Got My 10-Year Old A Phone, And This Is Why
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:41 AM PST
I'm pretty sure being an adult is 85% dealing with bullshit you don't want to deal with. And if you're a parent you can bump that number up quite a bit.
First, there's the bullshit we have to deal with like credit card bills, mortgages, and Monday morning conference calls. Then there's the bullshit we grumble about, but do nonetheless because it's with or for someone we love. Watching HGTV with our spouse and spending an entire Sunday afternoon at a youth baseball tournament only to watch our son strike out three times fall squarely in this category.
And then there's the unnecessary bullshit that somehow creeps into our life, cluttering our mind up like a clogged toilet we ignore until shit is literally overflowing.
Well, I say enough. Enough of the bullshit. One of the most beautiful things about being an adult is that we can say NO to the unnecessary bullshit. We can be selective about the fucks we give, and take a hard pass on the craptastic nonsense infiltrating our lives.
Look, there comes a point in every person life when you realize: life's too short for bullshit. I'm at that point, folks. I'm too old, too tired, and too busy for this assholery bullshit nonsense.
1. Fake people.
You know that fake friend who's life is always squeaky clean and she never complains and she loves her kids so much and she's #soblessed all the freaking time? Yeah, no thanks. If you can't be real with me and bitch about how your kids are whining whiners or admit that you've considered escaping to a hotel alone for a week, we just cannot be friends. Don't get me wrong. We can be friendly. We'll smile and exchange pleasantries while we endure those painfully long baseball tournaments, but we aren't going to be real friends. And if you're a lying liar who tells me one thing and someone else something else, I just cannot with that.
2. Humblebrags, passive aggressiveness, and all kinds of petty.
I've been doing so much eye-rolling at the humblebrags on social media lately that it's become an occupational hazard. And the passive-aggressive snarkiness that abounds? My standard response these days is bless your heart, which can basically be translated into STFU. Basically, I'm totally over petty.
3. Light and low-fat butter.
Life is too short for food that tastes like regret and disappointment.
4. Fake news.
The actual news is bad enough.
5. Social media nonsense.
Can we all agree that soapbox videos taken in the car have jumped the shark? And the ALL CAPS SCREAMING? Please. I get screamed at enough by my kids; I don't need it from the Internet too. Okay, okay, so maybe I'm guilty of Internet screaming now and then, but seriously, these days, just a few minutes on Facebook makes me feel like I need to put on a HazMat suit, pour a stiff drink, or stab a fork in my eyes (sometimes all the above). Fortunately, they have this handy little button called Unfriend (or Unfollow if I'm trying to be polite about it), and with one little click I can say goodbye to the nasty filth that makes me fear for humanity and the cringe-worthy posts that make me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.
6. Racist, homophobic, sexist assholes.
This isn't a grey area. Basically, if you think you're better than anyone because of your race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, I do not have time for your assholery. Bye Felicia!
7. Judge Judy's.
Lately it seems that parenting and judging others go hand in hand. Enough. Listen, we're all doing a good job. Well, a good enough job anyway. And good enough is good enough. Believe me, I do enough second-guessing of myself; I don't need to worry about the judgments coming from other people too.
8. Assholes the Comments Section
Not only am I too old and tired for your Michael Jackson popcorn-eating meme comment bullshit, but I'm also too busy to correct all of your assholery. To put it bluntly: If you didn't read the article, don't comment. If you're going to be an asshole, do not comment. If you're going to spout out a bunch of misinformation, do not comment. If you're going to write something about how woman should just write about motherhood and diapers, do not comment. It's that simple.
The list of unnecessary crap we have to deal with goes on and on but, like I said, I'm letting that shit go. None of us is getting any younger, and our kids fill up a good chunk of our bullshit bucket so we've got to dump some of that other crap out when we can. I would say #SorryNotSorry or some such trendy hashtag slang but, well, I'm too old and tired for that too.
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:40 AM PST
I plugged my iPhone into the car and flipped it to our favorite album. "Now remember, boys," I told my three sons, "the only things worth singing are worth singing loud."
And so my seven-, five-, three-year-old and I busted into, at the top of our lungs, "HOW DOES A BASTARD/ ORPHAN/ SON OF A WHORE AND A SCOTSMAN/ DROPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF A FORGOTTEN SPOT IN THE CARRIBBEAN …" for all the world to hear.
It was Hamilton, of course. My kids even know the R-rated parts of the song, though we had to have a conversation when we visited Grandma about how we can't sing certain parts of the musical.
But every time I hear my kids singing "Boom goes the cannon/ Watch the blood and the shit spray/Boom goes the cannon/ We're abandoning Kip's Bay," my heart swells. Not because they know Hamilton necessarily, but because they are singing — unabashedly, unashamedly, and loud.
Bottom line: Singing is good for you. And singing loud in a group is best of all. That's why riotous drinking songs are so much fun. And this isn’t just bar room bullshit either. There is actual, serious scientific research to back this up. If you sing enough — whether it’s in your shower or car, or belting out the Sunday hymns in an off-key voice — singing has numerous physical and psychological benefits.
A London study comparing the prevalence of snoring in semi-professional choral singers and people who don't sing found that, all else being equal, singers were less likely to snore. So if your hubby is sawing logs at night, you might want to encourage him to belt out some of his man-music that you can't stand. This is because, as Prevention says, "When the muscles of our airways are soft or weak, they vibrate, causing that disruptive nighttime noise." When you strengthen them, you cut back on the snorting yak sounds.
Singing also helps your heart. In a study of choral singers – which can be extrapolated to any kind of people singing in a group, including my kids and me belting out "Yellow Subarmarine" – cmuse reports that, "Researchers discovered that members of a choir saw their heart rates beat in unison in relation to the speed of their breathing. Heart rates were directly affected by the melody of the music, and the pulses of those tested rose and fell at the same time when they sung in a group."
And the more you sing, the better the benefits. So while it might not be a free pass to go out to bar and belt out "Finnigan's Wake," it might mean a lot more car sing-a-longs, though I recommend something more stimulating than "The Wheels on the Bus" or "The Farmer in the Dell."
Music also might help mild asthma. A meta-study done in 2014 by Complementary Therapy Medicine found a weak association between between "positive effects on lung function in mild asthma." Other conclusions found it was just as good as breathing exercises or playing an instrument, but that singing did definitely lead to "mood improvement, decrease of depression, [and decreased] anxiety."
In fact, a study found that choir members with depression, after one year, sometimes no longer met the criteria for depression. This is a big deal, folks. Yes, they likely had mild depression, not major, serious, horrific depression. But this reason in itself is good enough for us to drag out whatever our jam is and make the whole family sing it aloud, over and over. Who cares if it's “Champagne Supernova?” No one's judging you here.
Actually, study after study has shown that music does wonders for mood. A study from Psychology of Music found that choral singers had significantly "higher psychological well-being" than solo singers or those who play team sports. Choir members also reported that "they considered their choirs to be a more coherent or 'meaningful' social group than team sport players considered their teams."
In other words, singing brings people together. It makes them feel all warm and fuzzy about each other; it releases endorphins, which TIME Magazine explains are "associated with feelings of pleasure." Singing also releases oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” the article continues, and singers have "lower levels of cortisol," a hormone which signifies stress.
More pleasure, less stress? Yes please!
Don't you want that for your family? I certainly want that for mine. So we're going to keep singing Hamilton loud and proud — including the curse words. Whether it’s The Beatles, David Bowie, or The Velvet Underground, we’ll sing it loud and proud. And soon we'll be walking through Target singing "The Ten Duel Commandments" and not giving a fuck what anyone thinks, because we're singing our hearts out. And it's beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing.
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:00 AM PST
My 4-year-old is a bonafide candy and sweets addict. He spends all day asking if it's time for dessert, and if he can please, pretty please have a lollipop, just one teeny-tiny lick. Oh my lord, it drives me bananas.
Like any addict, he'll basically take what he can get, at any time. So it came as no surprise to me that he would be really into the kid's chewable Advil I gave him when he had an ear infection. I mean, it looks like candy, and even though it tastes like bitter medicine, it's sweet enough to give him his sugar fix.
Now, you'd think that after I noticed how obsessed he was with medicine, I would take some care to lock it all away, but I figured it was safe in our medicine cabinet, with the child-proof caps on it. It didn’t even dawn on me that he’d take the initiative — or be skilled enough — to get his grubby hands in there to score any of it.
Well, I was wrong—very wrong—and within a few short days, shit got painfully real. (Don't worry, he ended up being fine, but it was a close call).
Here's what went down: my son ended up having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he was given to fight his ear infection, and we had to start giving him Benadryl every 4-6 hours to help deal with the hives and swelling that were overtaking his little body.
Thankfully, it didn't bother him too much; he was mostly just smitten that he got to take chewable Benadryl a few times a day. Those little purple pills were things of beauty to him.
So beautiful, in fact, that a few mornings into the incident (the kid had that damn rash for almost a week), he woke up earlier than we did, climbed up onto the bathroom counter, and snagged a little purple pill for himself. These pills came in one of those pop-out pouches, and were totally unsecured, right there in our bathroom cabinet.
Oh my God.
Thankfully, he only took one. At least I'm pretty sure it was only one. We quizzed him on how many he took (and he stood by his story that it was just one). We knew roughly how many were left in the box, we did some quick math, and he didn't seem to be heavily drugged or anything. But boy was it a rude awakening. And you can bet we moved any and all medications (even the ones with the kid safety seals) way the hell out of his reach.
Soon after, I did a bit of research, and found that my story was far from uncommon. In fact, I am one of the luckier ones when it comes to the issue of kids getting their hands on potentially dangerous medications.
According to the CDC, kids ingesting household medications are the #1 cause of emergency room visits for "adverse drug events" for kids under the age of 5. Yikes. And get this: a whopping 53,000 kids are taken to emergency rooms each year because of unsupervised consumption of medications.
Even those of us who think we've got things under lock-and-key could probably use a refresher course in household medicine safety. So here are some tips (top three courtesy of the CDC):
Don't ever leave your kid alone with medications.
Yeah, I know that none of us intends to do this. But maybe you're popping your monthly Aleve while texting your husband to pick up some extra tampons on his way home, and you leave the pill bottle out as you head to the bathroom. It only takes one second for a precarious toddler to get their hands on the bottle and down the whole thing. So just be really mindful about where you leave that kind of stuff, especially if it's left opened.
Put your medicine away immediately after you are done using it.
Let's say you are done with your Aleve (or whatever it is you're taking), you securely close the top, and then leave it on the counter just for a few minutes until you know you'll be heading down the hall to the bathroom anyway to wipe your toddler's butt. We all know what can happen in just a few minutes when it comes to curious kids. And even a child-proof pill bottle can be opened by a child with a little know-how. The best place for your pills are in a child-proof medicine cabinet, way out of reach of any of your kids, at all times.
Always check to make sure the medicine you buy is child-proof.
Not all medicine is! Those pills (like the Benadryl in my story) that pop out of pouches are very easy for crafty little fingers to get into. Same goes for many of the potentially hazardous things that line your medicine cabinet, including topical ointments, cleaning solutions, and certain liquid medicines.
Get on your child's level and imagine every possible way they might "get into" your medicine cabinet, and make sure it is 1000% childproof.
Children are little monkeys, and even if you think there's no way they would possibly get into the highest shelf of your medicine cabinet, you might be in for a surprise. Sometimes the best place to store your most dangerous household items is out of reach from anyone in the house. That is what we did, at least. We started storing our meds in a cabinet that even I can't reach. My husband has to stand on a stool to retrieve my heachache meds, and it sucks, but it would suck even more if our 4-year-old was able to reach them.
Of course, no matter what you do, sometimes the worst thing does happen. That's why we should all have the number for poison control (1-800-222-1222) on our fridge, saved into our phones, and within reach of anyone who is caring for our kids.
And when your instincts tells you that something is seriously amiss, please don't hesitate to call 911 and get your kid to the emergency room ASAP.
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:00 AM PST
Most of us are taught that manners are important, and that we should say things like “please” and “thank you.” Likewise, most of us want to hear someone thank us for the things that we do, even if it’s for something we’re supposed to do anyway.
So it's surprising to me how few people actually take two seconds to say, “thank you.” Or say it so sparingly, as if they're afraid they only get so many to use in this lifetime, so they hoard them as if they're saving them for a special occasion.
This isn’t hard, people. Just say thank you, dammit.
Instead of saving up our “thank you’s,” we should be tossing them around like confetti. We should say it at every opportunity we get, and we should mean it.
I am a total stickler about this with my kids. We've been teaching them to say “thank you” for as long as they could talk. At first it was as if we were teaching them a habit, like saying “hello,” or a behavior to be practiced at certain times, like buckling their seatbelt.
But in time they were old enough to understand and practice actual thankfulness. Now we regularly talk with our 5-year-old daughter and help her reflect on the things that she appreciates and she's truly grateful for. (If a kindergartener can grasp this concept, everyone else should be able to.)
The words “thank you” mean so much more than their two syllables let on. By taking the time to thank someone, you’re telling them you recognize and acknowledge their efforts. You’re treating them with respect, and letting them know you appreciate the time they took to help you, even if it’s their job.
I think it's important to encourage our children to say, “thank you,” but I think it's even more important to instill these feelings of respect and awareness for their own feelings, as well as the feelings of others. It's this empathy that begets kindness and compassion — things we could all use a little more of in this world.
I want to teach my kids to understand this. I’m confident that they’ll want to be treated with that same respect and kindness, and I am hopeful that they’ll treat others the way they’d want to be treated.
We all thrive on recognition. Feeling appreciated can motivate us in ways that little else can. A tough day, or hard work, can feel worthwhile if we know that we’re valued.
And as it turns out, parenting is some of the toughest work around. And unfortunately, it can feel like one of the most thankless jobs too. Double whammy. As a mom, I often feel like my efforts are unnoticed or taken for granted. So when my husband or child takes the time to acknowledge me and tell me they’re grateful, it makes a big difference. HUGE.
We could all use a little more goodness in our lives, so let’s start by saying “thank you” to others more. It’s free. It’s easy. And it can be incredibly powerful to say these words, especially if the person you’re thanking really needs them or isn’t expecting to hear them.
Whether it comes from our children, spouse, relatives, friends, or a complete stranger: a little gratitude can go a long way. So let’s lead by example and make it a point to practice gratitude at every opportunity we get.
I’ll start. Thank you.
See how easy that was?
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:00 AM PST
If you've ever had a child faint while in your care, you probably know that it is pretty much the most fucking terrifying experience ever.
When my son was two-and-a-half, he passed out for about five full minutes while taking a bath (and yes, this is another reason to always, always supervise your kids while they bathe). It was a hot summer day, and after filling the bath, I realized that I'd made the water too hot. A few seconds after, I added some cold water to the bath, at which time my son proceeded to turn ghost-white, lose all color in his lips, and fall limp into my arms.
Holy shit, right?
I did exactly what you are not supposed to do in situations like this: I freaked the fuck out. I should have checked his vital signs, but instead, I flew into a raging panic, feeling certain that he was dying, or already dead. I called 911 in the midst of my full-blown freak-out, and the operator had to remind me to remain calm so I wouldn't scare my son.
Luckily, by the time the paramedics arrived, my son was starting to come to, and although I was still completely emotionally traumatized, I knew he was going to be OK. We took him to the hospital after that, where he got a full health scan, and was diagnosed with a "vasovagal syncope" episode — most commonly knew as fainting — that was probably brought on by a sudden drop change in blood pressure that happened when I changed the bath water from hot to cold.
After chastising myself for being an awful mother because I had given him a hot bath in the middle of summer, we all came out of the experience relatively unscathed—which seems to be the case for the majority of young children who faint. THANK GAWD.
"In the majority of cases, fainting is not a sign of a dangerous medical condition," says the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It happens when the brain doesn't get adequate blood pressure, and fainting is the body's way of compensating for this until your blood pressure returns to normal, says the hospital.
This is good to know, of course, but while you're dealing with an unconscious kid—especially if it's your first time—it doesn't feel at all like a non-emergency.
And yet, medical professionals take this kind of thing in stride, at least in most cases. In fact, as the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia points out, the vast majority of fainting episodes in kids happen when they are dehydrated, and the Captain Obvious answer is to keep them hydrated.
"When the body doesn't get enough fluid intake, the blood pressure can drop, which can cause inadequate blood flow to the brain," says the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "In many cases, as a first step, pediatricians will recommend that children who have fainted simply drink more. They may also recommend increased salt intake, not skipping meals, and eliminating caffeine. Often this will 'cure' the problem."
Besides dehydration, the hospital mentions fear, pain, hot or crowded environments, hot showers (or baths, in my experience) as common causes of fainting. Additionally, certain medications or drugs can cause fainting as a side effect. Fun times, I tell you.
Of course, there are some cases where fainting can be an indicator of a more serious medical condition, and doctors recommend your child go in a for a full medical work-up if they faint to rule out other more serious causes.
"It's important to talk to your pediatrician about your child's fainting and not gloss over it," says Dr. Jennifer Silva, a Washington University pediatric electrophysiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "Pediatricians are good at sorting out what's serious and what's not, and they know when to refer children to a specialist if needed. If fainting starts to happen very frequently, there are things we can do to help."
Given that fainting can be so freaking scary — I know I can't be the only one who has almost shit their pants upon seeing their child turn sheet-white and pass out — most parents probably get the situation checked out pronto. But if your child has fainted before (or more than once) and you’re hesitating about whether to go to the doctor, here's your wake-up call to do so.
Most of the assessments that are done to your child will be pretty easy and non-invasive. According to the St. Louis Children's hospital's website, these tests might include an EKG, an exercise stress test, heart monitoring, and possibly an MRI of the brain. (My son did not need an MRI, but your doctor will decide what tests are best for your child on an individual basis.)
Interestingly, according to the Academy of American Pediatrics, it turns out that the tendency to faint is often genetic—and this is definitely true in my family, as my mother and I are prone to dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
And word to the wise: if you have a child who has fainted once, be prepared for other possible scares.
Although my son has never fully fainted again, he has almost passed out a couple of times, like when his blood was drawn, and a couple of times when he has been overheated or dehydrated. He is also sensitive to hot temperatures and gets easily nauseous/dizzy when his environment heated or stuffy. He takes after his mama in that regard as well.
Most of all, if you ever are in a situation with a fainting child, try to remain calm (though I understand it's nearly impossible), and know that most likely your child will be totally fine, and one day it will just make a very entertaining—albeit slightly horrifying—story to remember.
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:02 AM PST
Jessica Simpson takes her daughter to MAC, mommy-shamers freak
It seems like Jessica Simpson is a magnet for the Judgy Parents of the internet. Nearly every time she posts a photo of her kids online, people flock like pigeons to bread to try and find a way to criticize her parenting skills. The latest photo that’s got the internet trolls pounding their keyboards? Simpson and her five-year-old daughter Maxwell enjoying what looks like an awesome day of shopping at MAC Cosmetics.
What I see in this photo is a cute little girl who’s a carbon copy of her mom showing off some fun purple lipstick, and my all-time favorite popstar (sorry Britney) looking like she’s having a fantastic day with her daughter. What mom wouldn’t want to share such a cute photo?
Of course the armchair parenting police feel differently. Deciding that whole, “If you don’t have anything nice to say” adage doesn’t apply to them, they took it upon themselves to tell Simpson that she’s failing as a parent by letting Maxwell wear makeup. Here are a few of their comments.
Gotta love it when an internet rando assumes they know how to raise your child better than you do. And who says kids can’t enjoy playing outside and enjoy getting creative with their appearance at the same time? Jeez you guys, it’s almost like they’re little humans with complex personalities and the ability to have multiple interests. Oh sorry, I interrupted the concern trolls — they weren’t finished.
Because saying “that’s just my opinion” somehow makes insulting someone okay.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a child experimenting with makeup. They color on the walls for crying out loud — their face is another canvas for them to express their creativity on. And furthermore, it’s no one’s business how Simpson choses to spend time with her kid. She’s rich and famous and could probably order all of MAC from her couch — or better yet have her assistant do it. Instead she’s taking the time to go out and spend some quality time with her daughter, and from the looks of it, loving it. A mom and her 5-year-old were having a fun moment where no one was crying — can’t we all cheer for that and move on?
It wasn’t just the fact that she and Maxwell enjoyed some time at the makeup counter that got people’s panties in a wad. It was the fact that they went to MAC in particular.
This isn’t the first time Simpson’s drawn the wrath of the internet over her parenting choices for Maxwell. People lost their shit when she posted photos her daughter playing on her bike while wearing a bikini, claiming the swimsuit was inappropriate for a child. And not everyone was laughing when she quoted Kelis’ Milkshake alongside a snap of Maxwell having a snack last year, saying she was sexualizing her kid.
If history is any indication, Simpson’s not going to let this latest batch of naysayers stop her from doing what she does best — being an awesome mom who somehow makes an ugly sweater jacket look like high fashion. Oh, and Maxwell? That lipcolor looks great on you.
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:38 AM PST
Tamblyn urges us to keep the focus on the victims
Many people have been wondering “what’s next” for the powerful, famous men who have seen their careers come to a screeching halt because they’ve been outed as sexual harassers, abusers, coercers, and assaulters. Are they just done now, never to be heard from again? Isn’t that what they deserve? Amber Tamblyn is here to let us all know that yes, that’s exactly what they deserve.
In a scathing, powerfully written op-ed for The New York Times, Tamblyn steers the focus from the consequences of the atrocious actions of these men and places it where it belongs: on atonement. For the victims.
She notes she was inspired to pen this essay after engaging in conversation with “two influential, Emmy-winning writers, one a man and one a woman.” She says they were discussing the consequences that come with the recent influx of sexual misconduct allegations. The male acquaintance of Tamblyn’s focused on the difference between Louis C.K’s misconduct (whipping out his penis and masturbating in front of and next to multiple female colleagues) and Harvey Weinstein‘s (masturbation in addition to rape, assault, coercion, and harassment).
“‘We shouldn't lump them all together,’ he insisted. The woman was firm with her response: ‘Yes, we can and we will. Choosing consequences doesn't belong to you anymore.’" Tamblyn says the two went back and forth for awhile before the man asked, “Do you believe in redemption?”
To which Tamblyn writes the most epic response: “It's a valid question. But it's also a question that makes me deeply suspicious of its timing. Why do we need to talk about the redemption of men when we are right in the middle of the salvation of women? Not even the middle, but the very beginning? Why are we obligated to care about salvaging male careers when we have just begun to tell the stories that have plagued us for lifetimes? It seems some men like a revolution only when it's their kind of war.”
Pardon me, I just fainted from an overdose of relief and admiration. YES, Amber Tamblyn, YES. Why is anyone worried about what will happen to the careers and lives of these men right now? Women are just at the very tip of the iceberg here; we haven’t even crossed the threshold into what this movement will produce in terms of, as she puts it, our “salvation.”
“We've been silent because we've been silenced,” she writes. “But women now feel comfortable telling such stories. And maybe even more important, we are seeing consequences for those actions. This is more than a watershed moment — it's a flash-flood point.”
Women are finally taking down the Weinsteins and the Louis and the Lauers without fear. This is just the beginning.
Tamblyn says not everyone in her industry is happy with the way things are panning out. “There's a lot of collateral-damage dread, a cloud of unease that has covered the industry lately with talk of potentially harmful side effects of such decisive actions.”
Which is true. Matt Lauer is a prime example of “here Today, making a cool $25 million a year, gone tomorrow.” That’s it, caput. Done. Finished. Don’t want a swift punishment? Don’t be an abusive asshole.
“The only way to enforce seismic, cultural change in the way men relate to women is to draw a line deep in the sand and say: This is what we will no longer tolerate. You're either with our bodies or against our bodies. The punishment for harassment is you disappear. The punishment for rape is you disappear. The punishment for masturbation in front of us is you disappear. The punishment for coercion is you disappear.”
The discouraging truth about these consequences is that almost any one of these men could come back a year or two from now, spouting any number of bullshit apologies and lessons learned. And many people would be quick to forgive and forget and line up outside whatever giant venue Louis C.K. ends up headlining. But, as Tamblyn’s female friend put it, he’ll have to “find a new power” if he ever wants to make a comeback.
Perhaps that’s what we should be focusing on right now. Can there even be a “new power” for these men? Do they deserve redemption — in any form — for what they’ve done?
“We're in the midst of a reckoning. It's what toxic masculinity's own medicine tastes like,” Tamblyn writes. “And people should allow the consequences to unfold, regardless of how it affects those they consider to be friends.”
“Redemption must be preceded by atonement,” Tamblyn concludes. “It is earned, not offered. If you want amends, you have to make them. You have to acknowledge the line in the sand. Once you do this, the next step is simple: Pick a side. Choose us.”
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 08:00 PM PST
When my soon-to-be 5th grader started begging me for a phone last summer, I laughed right in his face. "Are you kidding me?" I said. "I didn't get my first phone till I was 23. Why on earth do you need a phone—one that will cost me an arm and a leg, and that you will likely lose in about 5 seconds?"
At the same time my son and I were engaged the Great Cell Phone Debate, we were preparing for 5th grade, which is the first year that kids are allowed to walk home from school alone, and my son was begging me to let him do that. We live close enough to the school that it would work well—and I knew it would make my life that much easier, especially since I also have his rambunctious little brother to contend with.
Along with walking home from school, we also talked about walking to friends’ houses, the deli down the block, the library, and the pizza place. And that's when it hit me — when I was his age, if I wandered around town with my friends, there were payphones literally everywhere, and I could call my parents if I needed anything. If I spontaneously decided to go to a friend's house after school, it was no problem because I could use my friend's house phone to call home and tell my parents what was up.
Now, there are literally zero payphones in our town, and half of the families we know don't have home phones anymore. We live in a mobile phone world, and if I wanted to keep the lines of communication open with my son as I let him become a more independent tween and teen, I realized I was going to have to get him a phone.
A goddamn phone. At ten years old. It seemed so wrong, but it also seemed to be the best choice.
So I did a bit of research and decided that I would get him a cheap, old fashioned flip-style phone, just for texting and calling. That way, he wouldn't be sucked into the addictive qualities of a smart phone, my data usage bill wouldn't be through the roof, and if he lost it, it wouldn't be a big deal. He was totally smitten with this idea (and he was quick to point out that even flip phones have simple video games).
When I found out that a basic phone plan was only $20 a month, my son even agreed to pay half the bill with his allowance, which we both thought would be a great way to teach financial responsibility.
So here we are. Much to my initial chagrin, my kid has a phone — and so far it's been working really well. When his little brother wants to play in the playground after school, I send my big kid home alone. He texts me when he arrives. On my way home, I text him if I'm going to the deli to get a bagel, and I ask him if he wants one. Sometimes we text each other cute little jokes, and sometimes he even opens up to me about little worries he has, or his feelings about this and that. It's a pretty rad way for us to communicate, actually.
So far, he's one of the only kids in his grade with a phone. I know that eventually other kids will be getting phones, and his texts won't be limited to his dear old mom anymore. Like many parents, I have real concerns about the impact of texting and social media on my children’s lives. I have read the research showing that cyberbulling is a serious concern, with one recent study out of Bridgewater State University suggesting that it hits elementary school kids the hardest.
But it seems to me that it's all about being smart, and educating your child at a young age on how to deal with these situations if they come up—and most importantly, how to avoid them in the first place. My son already uses social media a little when he plays interactive video games online, and we talk about internet safety all the time.
He knows to never ever give out personal information to anyone online, including his age or where he goes to school. Here and there, he has reported back to me if anything someone says rubs him the wrong way, even in the slightest way. I have the password to every online subscription or account he has, as well as the passcode for his phone, so I can check in on his phone-related activities from time to time.
And I will continue to until I feel he can handle this stuff on his own (which I admit may be just about never).
I’m not adverse to him getting a smartphone someday either, and I don’t think we will necessarily need to take the "wait till 8th pledge" as so many are encouraging. The older my son gets, the more I see him needing to use the Internet and even mobile apps for school, and I know this is only going to increase as he gets older.
As scary as this whole new tech landscape might seem to us parents, technology is here to stay. It's a part of our lives now, and we need use it smartly, and trust our kids to do the same.
I know the whole thing can be terrifying, but it's all about open lines of communication with your kids, monitoring the technology they have access to, and teaching them about stranger danger and Internet safety. Most of all, it's about teaching them to be kind and respectful to everyone they meet—in real life or online.
And then, just closing your eyes and jumping in. Technology ain't going anywhere, and our best bet is to embrace it.
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