- GOOP Is Trolling Us With This $135 Coffee Enema
- Ivanka Tweets Support For Oprah’s Speech, Has Apparently Forgotten Who Her Father Is
- New Tax Law Rewards Rich Parents For Sending Their Kids To Private School
- When You’re ‘Too Functional’ To Have Your Mental Illness Taken Seriously
- We Feel Our Kids’ Feelings, And It’s Exhausting
- Teachers Have To Spend Too Much Money On Supplies For Their Classrooms
- Raising My Black Son Is A Cursed Blessing. Here’s Why.
- Shout Out To The Friends Who Love My Kids So Well
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 08:07 AM PST
Coffee enemas for health — brought to you by GOOP
Have you ever wondered what your morning cup of Joe would feel like if you squirted it into your butt? Well, for those of us who have, lifestyle “expert” Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOP troop are here to make dreams come true — with the Implant O'Rama at-home coffee enema.
GOOP’s annual detox guide came out last week and if you missed it, in addition to spraying coffee up your bum, there are a few other doozies designed to "supercharge your detox."
For instance, for a mere $68 you can rub organic body oil all over yourself. It says you can “use alone, or incorporate into your dry brushing ritual,” but it’s called a “body oil” so am I supposed to brush my body? Is that a thing now? When did this become a thing? I have so many questions.
There’s also some $22 mascara (though it’s unclear how this helps you detox) and of course a $4,099 two-person sauna, because it’s GOOP. But let’s get back to the coffee in the colon, I say while my own butthole puckers and retracts fully up inside my body out of sheer terror.
The Implant O’Rama is a $135 glass bottle that comes with a squeeze pump and two silicone catheters, which “allows the liquid to be pushed in with a small amount of force, delivering the liquid to areas higher in the colon.”
Oh dear God.
Colonics have been around for years and are used as a way to hydrate and irrigate your colon. According to the Implant O'Rama website, "Coffee enemas can mean relief from depression, confusion, general nervous tension, many allergy-related symptoms and, most importantly, relief from severe pain."
But according to the National Institutes of Health, "There isn't any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health," and "may have side effects, some of which can be serious."
If you’re still intent on trying it but have concerns about, well, coffee in your butt, have no fear. The Implant O’Rama’s website has a coffee enema song on their site, presumably meant to help relax your anus so the tube can be properly inserted.
Seriously, I wish I were joking:
GOOP has to be trolling us. Except knowing them, they’re definitely 1000 percent serious.
And since Gwyneth and Friends already gave us a quartz egg to shove up our vag, the at-home coffee enema is simply the next logical step. Though perhaps this seems like a good one to leave to the experts. Or skip altogether.
Or you could just set your money on fire — to each their own.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:30 AM PST
Twitter immediately reminded Ivanka why her tweet made little sense
After Oprah Winfrey’s stirring speech that brought down the house at Sunday night’s Golden Globes, the internet’s been abuzz with both praise for her words and talk of the self-made billionaire running for president in 2020. Her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award was all about the end of the an era — the dawn of a new day where sexual harassment and assault would no longer be tolerated.
Which is why Twitter is totally confused that Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald “Access Hollywood Tapes” Trump, is eagerly supporting Winfrey’s message.
The Time’s Up movement, sparked by a group of powerful Hollywood women who want to help fund legal proceedings for women and men who experience sexual harassment and assault, was given a huge boost in visibility Sunday night when stars showed up wearing black and used much of their red carpet interview time and award acceptance speeches to speak to the cause. Even the first daughter was wowed by Winfrey’s powerful speech where she called for an end to the time when this kind of behavior was swept under the rug.
Trump’s tweet reads, “Just saw @Oprah's empowering & inspiring speech at last night's #GoldenGlobes. Let's all come together, women & men, & say #TIMESUP.”
Is she kidding?
Needless to say, Twitter is extremely entertained by her enthusiastic endorsement for Oprah’s speech considering its subject matter.
Winfrey’s words were pretty much all about Ivanka’s father and men like him — and why they’re all going down. She condemned sexual assault and harassment while also tossing out a barely-concealed barb at the president and his well-known attacks on the media. "We all know that the press is under siege these days, but we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice. To tyrants, and victims, and secrets, and lies."
It seems Ivanka might be a bit of a lost lamb, or she’s even dumber than any of us ever could’ve guessed.
Or maybe she’s even more of an evil cartoon villain than her dad.
Whatever the case, Twitter had jokes.
She honestly must think we’re all idiots. Or she’s an idiot. Either way, this is extremely interesting.
Alyssa Milano has a good idea.
And Chrissy just wants her to GTFO. This is why we love you, Chrissy.
No one’s letting Trump get away with being this tone-deaf and ignorant.
She’s either in serious denial or hoping we’re all dumb as hell. Either way, no sweetie. Just… no.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:03 AM PST
529 plans can now be used to pay for private and religious K-12 education
The newly passed Republican tax law seems to go out of its way to keep money firmly within the hands of the wealthy and to continue to widen the education gap between classes. Tax-free savings accounts known as 529 savings plans, which were formerly limited to college expenses, can now be used to fund private and religious K-12 education, giving those who can afford it the ability to withdraw $10,000 per year from the account to pay for tuition and other school-related costs.
Up until the end of last year, a 529 savings plan was basically a college savings account, charmingly named after its section in the tax code. The idea was for parents to put funds in as their child grows. The government invests the money. Hopefully by the time the child is old enough to go to college, they’ve got a nice little nest egg to help them out with tuition and expenses that they can use, tax free. To make the plans even more enticing, 33 states plus D.C. sweeten the pot by giving parents a deduction or credit on their state taxes for putting money into a 529 fund in a given year. Sounds great, right?
The good news is that you can still use a 529 plan to save for college.
But it’s the new changes to 529 plans, thanks to a last minute bill amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz, that seem to give those with deep pockets a big benefit over the rest of us. People who have Scrooge McDuck levels of cash lying around can now also use a 529 plan to help fund private and religious K-12 education by “superfunding,” or essentially, putting a chunk of cash into a 529 up front, and taking out the $10,000 each year to pay for elementary and high school tuition expenses, all while getting those state tax benefits. “This change allows private school families to put their money through 529 accounts and avoid state income taxes,” Nat Malkus, who studies education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, told NPR.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (no shitting, that’s really what the new tax law is actually titled) also did away with Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, an income-restricted program that allowed families to save up to $2,000 per year for K-12 and college education-related expenses like uniforms or books.
Earlier proposals to end a $250 deduction used by teachers to offset the cost of classroom supplies and to allow 529 funds to be created for children who are still “in utero” (can you say backdoor abortion ban?) ultimately failed to make it into the final version of the tax bill. Phew to that at least.
Of course “School Choice” cheerleader and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is all about the new provision of 529 plans. Speaking to Education Week, she called it "a good step forward" and a reflection "that education should be an investment in individual students, not systems."
But let’s be honest — this isn’t about giving parents more choices or increasing the number of kids in private schools. The new 529 plan terms are most useful for sending kids to private school if you’ve got this year’s tuition money (at least) already on hand. This creates a lovely bonus for those who have the means to work the system. But does it really give more kids a chance at a better education? Not even close.
Matthew Chingos, a senior fellow and director of the education policy program at the Urban Institute agrees. “You'd have to have enough money to not just pay for private school but to save for private school," he told Mother Jones. He says the new system will definitely benefit some more than others. "If you are trying to save up enough to send your child to a Catholic school for $6,000 a year, the tax benefit on those savings isn't going to be that much," he said. "If you know you are going to send your child to a fancy private school in DC that costs $40,000 a year, then you could start stocking money away into one of these accounts and get a pretty big tax benefit. But who's going to get that? It's going to be pretty wealthy people."
Sounds about right.
Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:00 PM PST
I've read countless articles about the struggle of having an invisible illness and the way other people judge the "validity" of people's conditions. I've also read about people who aren't taken seriously when they express their most intimate, dark thoughts to family, professionals and friends.
I'm a psychologist. Not too long ago I was reunited with many other mental health workers (psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers and professors were in attendance). The event was a presentation of a type of therapy and when the speaker began talking, he asked us how mental illness affects a person. Someone answered a person with a mental illness has difficulties and struggles with certain areas of his life. Another person answered that people with mentally illness suffer greatly. And then a third person said people with mentally illness don't function in society. I was waiting for someone to refute this, but instead everyone nodded and the speaker actually agreed and said "very good."
My heart was beating really fast. It was partly because I didn't know these people very well and I was struggling a bit with social anxiety. I hadn't contemplated speaking up. But my heart was also beating fast because I was angry. That statement and the fact it wasn't even questioned is exactly the reason why "high-functioning" people with mental illnesses are sometimes not taken seriously.
I can be dying inside while going through the motions of the day. It's not difficult for me to know how others expect me to act. Acting fine is a cognitive process. You can probably mention right now how an emotionally stable or "mentally sane" person is supposed to act. It really is simple. A generally accepted lifestyle is one where a person wakes up every day, looks presentable, takes care of stuff that needs to be taken care of, eats and goes to sleep. This can sometimes be done regardless of how you feel inside. To say it's difficult is an understatement, but it's not impossible.
These "high-functioning" people don't do it because they want to fool others; they do it because they want to produce and be a part of society. They try so hard to beat their illnesses or disorders. They don't want to rely on others to take care of them.
So when a "high-functioning" person asks for help or admits to himself and to someone else his struggles, it takes a lot of bravery. These people have worked every single day to build a "normal" world for themselves are terrified of admitting mental illness, and when they finally do and are met with rejection, little understanding and no empathy from a mental health worker, it is devastating.
My compromise with my career is very clear to me, but I have to admit I have been blessed (and cursed) to see this because I, myself, struggle with my own disorders.
If you struggle with not being taken seriously, my advice to you is to trust you know yourself so much more than anybody else. Nobody has the right to undermine your difficulties. If they do, it's their issue. Keep looking for the person who listens to you and takes your feelings into account. Don't feel demoralized or flawed. I know it's a tough pill to swallow when you ask for help from a mental health worker who should be able to understand you but doesn't. Again, this is a flaw in their own understanding of the human mind.
By the way, yes, I did speak up. With a bit of a red face, I refuted what they all agreed to and told them it's a terrible mistake to discard the presence of a mental condition in relation to the functionality of a person. I added functionality is sometimes a symptom, depending on the illness and the person.
The speaker didn't know what to answer, so he agreed and moved on.
Originally published on The Mighty.
Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:00 PM PST
Parenting is wonderful, but it's hard. There's just no way around it. Between the sleep deprivation, the constant noise and mess, the feeding and grooming, the education and training, and the inevitable challenges that arise from tiny people learning how to be humans, being a mom or dad is no small feat. It's a long, grueling marathon where the scenery is stunning and the endorphin high makes it all worth it, but it's definitely hard work.
There's one challenging aspect of parenting that I had never considered, though, something that has been a part of every age and stage of my children's lives, a phenomenon that we parents don't talk about nearly often enough.
I refer to it as parental empathy—the second-hand feelings you experience when your child is sad, hurting, frustrated, or afraid.
I swear our emotions and psyches are inextricably linked with our children's in some deep, cosmic way. What they feel, we feel. What they experience, we experience. We may not feel or experience what they do to the same degree or with the same intensity, but parental empathy is real. And it's freaking exhausting.
I notice it a lot now that my kids are older, but looking back, I realize it started when my first child was a newborn. When she would cry inconsolably during the witching hour, it wasn't just frustration at my own exhaustion and helplessness I felt—it was also the emotional energy coursing through the invisible cord that connected me to her. Her anguish flowed directly into and through me.
One day, I accidentally leaned over too far with her in the baby sling and whacked her face on the fireplace mantle. I swear I could feel my own cheek sting in the same place hers started to swell.
The first time my son got left out by friends. The time my other daughter got embarrassed in front of a crowd. When our first pet died. Helping them handle their grandmother's unexpected pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Every disappointment, every broken heart, every bit of grief my kids go through hit me right in the gut. I hurt for them. I ache for them. I feel their pain in a very real way.
Anxiety runs through our family on both sides, though it mostly skipped over me. When it hits my kids, though, I feel it. When they're feeling panicky or shaky or afraid of life in general, I can put myself into their shoes and see the world through their anxious eyes. I'm grateful in some ways for that ability, as it helps me remember how hard it is to be a kid, how big every emotion feels when you're young, and how much emotional work it takes to overcome difficult and unpredictable feelings like fear and anxiety. But at the same time, it sucks.
Sometimes it's just too much. While I'm experiencing all of these feelings on my kids' behalf, I also have the full spectrum of my own adult human emotions to deal with at the same time. If it were just a matter of managing my kids' second-hand emotions, it wouldn't be so hard. But when their feelings get piled on top of my own, the weight of it all can feel like it's going to crush me.
It's not all bad, however. Parental empathy doesn't just apply to difficult emotions. I also feel my kids' excitement, joy, and triumph. There is nothing better than feeling that thrill as my children overcome a challenge, or being so taken away by the beauty and wonder of an experience that their faces light up with pure happiness.
I feel their "good" emotions as much as I feel the "bad" ones. Perhaps that's part of why we feel compelled to want our children to be happy—not only because we don't want to see them suffer, but because we don't want to suffer vicariously through them. I'd much rather experience my children's joy than their pain.
Being parents makes us more fully human, I think. Our understanding of the range of human experience grows as we feel for our children. Our ability to empathize with all people expands if we pay attention to what we can learn from empathizing with our kids. Not all parents feel empathy as strongly as others, I'm sure, but I don't know how any parent couldn't feel at least a little tug on their own heart when their child feels broken-hearted.
However, we do have to try to stay somewhat detached from our kids' emotions, even as we retain a sense of compassion for them. Empathy can take a lot out of us, and our kids need our strength as much as they need our sympathy. It's a balance that's not always easy to find, but I think our kids benefit from getting both from us.
If anyone figures out how to do that effectively, let me know, because with seventeen years of parental empathy under my belt, I'm not sure if I have the emotional energy to do anything anymore.
Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:00 PM PST
I know what brand of pen the high school students use: your basic Bic, the blue ones that come in packs of fifty. I know because I buy them about three times a year.
"I'm running low on pens, honey," my husband will mention, and I'll know that the next time I hit Target, I have to buy pens for my husband's high school English classroom. It’s a writing classroom, and he wants them to be comfortable writing, so several times a year, giant stocks of pens and pencils it is.
Then there's the paper. The district gives each teacher a certain allotment of copies. My husband, Chris, uses his to print things out for his students on the giant-ass laser printer in his classroom. He runs out of his copy allotment midway through the semester, despite all attempts to be frugal.
Then there are runs to Office Depot for reams of paper, which are not cheap. We probably buy two per semester.
Then the aforementioned giant-ass laser printer runs out of ink, and Amazon packages arrive at my door. They contain bizarre-looking mechanical implements, long and skinny. "That's my ink cartridge," my husband says. "I'm running low and had to Prime it."
My family is not alone. Right now, teachers can claim up to $250 in classroom supplies as a deduction on their taxes. But a recent Scholastic report on school funding priorities found teachers dropped $530 of their own money last year, "with teachers in high poverty schools spending nearly 40% more." And while a 2013 study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found most teachers spending around $500 — about consistent with the Scholastic report — they also discovered that 10% of teachers were dropping more than $1,000 out of pocket per academic year.
These numbers are clearly above and beyond the paltry $250 we can claim on our taxes. In their attempt to bludgeon the new tax bill into something that could be crammed through through both houses of Congress, Republicans preserved the same old $250 tax deduction for teachers, taking the middle road between the Senate's proposed $500 deduction and the House's elimination of the deduction. And remember: the tax deduction only results in a nominal reduction of taxes, not a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement.
This paltry deduction works for people like my mom, who teaches in a mostly upper-middle-class Catholic school and has been for decades. She is armed with an arsenal of decorations and teaching supplies, plus, I suspect, unlimited copy access. In her school, the lack of a pen means you forgot yours, not that you can't buy one. She might spend a little extra, but nothing that will break the bank. But she's one of the few.
We pay, my husband estimated, several hundred dollars in school supplies every year. This includes everything from bookshelves to paper to books to pens to tissues to food for holiday parties. It also includes food for for kids who can't afford it. He keeps granola bars and pre-made sandwiches in his fridge, because it's a necessity. We wouldn't have it any other way, but it adds up.
It's a sad reality, folks, but we need to confront it. Teachers may be the only people ready — or able — to step up for some kids. And because teachers love their kids, they step up. It's an ugly reality in America, but it's a reality nonetheless. NPR asked teachers how much they spent in their classrooms every year, and their answers were telling, to say the least.
Yikes. And she didn't even mention poverty.
Here's someone my family can relate to:
And this lady's just running down the basics here:
Basically, we agree with this woman, who sums it up perfectly:
Can I get an Amen?
Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:00 PM PST
Yesterday, my only child turned 22. He's not a baby anymore, but as any mother will attest, he'll always be my baby.
From the day I found out that I was pregnant, I knew I was having a boy. I knew exactly what he would look like. I knew he would have my hair and eye colors, and I knew he would have his dad's athletic build. I knew his skin tone would fall squarely between his dad's and mine. I knew he would be funny. I knew he would be a phenomenal athlete and he is. What I didn't know was that the greatest blessing God would ever bestow upon me would also be cursed merely because he is a black man.
Racism is at the deepest core of this country. It didn't start yesterday. It's ugliness has been documented from the beginning of time from the atrocity of slavery right up to the present-day slaughter of Black men at the hands of law enforcement. Don't get it twisted — this is not a piece about bashing the police because you'll never find me doing that. My family is filled with officers and I'm blessed to have many friends who are cops. I am just as concerned with him being taken out by his own as I am that the police or the KKK deciding to use him as a lesson.
My son is big. He's a 6' tall, 230 pound linebacker who plays for the University of Arkansas — Pine Bluff Golden Lions. He has dreadlocks. He has tattoos — lots of them. With all that in mind and, most importantly, because of the color of his skin, some consider him a threat. He's not hostile, but he's black. He's not violent, yet he's black.
See, because he's black, in the eyes of some, he'll always be a threat. I can't help but think of some of the other "threats" that have caused fear in the minds of the police like Philando Castille, Walter Scott, and Charles Kinsey. Castille and Scott both died after traffic stops. Kinsey was wounded while lying in the street with his hands in the air. See why I'm terrified for my son?
The Ride Home
My child is a college student and, like most parents, I'm happy when he tells me that he's coming home for the weekend. Ninety-nine percent of the time though, that happiness is replaced by a nagging fear. His coming home means that he has to drive. It means he'll be "driving while black." As the mother of a black man, here are a couple of the things his coming home means:
I make him send me his location so that I can "see" him drive home. I know there's a certain stretch of highway where he'll lose the cell signal so on my iPhone, it looks like he's stuck. You know what else I can tell you? The exact number of minutes it will take him to travel that stretch, doing the speed limit. If I don't see that car moving after 21 minutes, I start to panic.
My nephews have taken care to teach my son what to do and say during a traffic stop. They, themselves, are scared. None of them are animals, but there's always the chance that they'll be slaughtered like one.
All the Other Times
Understand that I know my child is also a target in his own community. No, I'm not talking about the area he lives in; I mean in the black male community as a whole. Black-on-black crime is absurd and it's just as bad, if not worse, than the assault on black men from outside the community. I've heard of killings in the black community over everything from shoes to $5.
How sad is it that a mother will stand over a casket, looking down at her son whose life was snuffed out because of a dispute over $5?
Holding on to His Promise
I can't be with my son 24/7. He is a grown man now who must live his own life and forge his own way in the world. I trust that God will be true to His word and keep my child covered. I keep him in front of God. I keep my brothers, nephew, cousins, and friends in front of God.
July 26, 1995 was the day I was blessed beyond measure. I just pray my son sees many more birthdays.
Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:00 PM PST
"That was amazing!" my friend Paula exclaims as she wraps her arms around my eldest daughter. "You played so beautifully. I was totally blown away."
My daughter had just performed a violin piece that was, indeed, impressive. And as proud as I am of her, I’m equally moved by the sincere praise and admiration being showered upon her by my friend. Her love for my daughter is palpable, and it's mutual. Paula is like a second mom to my kids, a role that I am eternally grateful for.
My kids have had many Paulas in their young lives. I am blessed to have a whole cadre of friends who are not only supportive of me, but who love my kids as if they were their own. They ask about how my kids are doing. They sympathize when they're struggling. They take joy in their accomplishments. They offer words of encouragement when they need it.
They provide a social and emotional safety net for my kids. I like to think of myself as a pretty decent mother, but I can't be all things to my children all the time. They need other adult examples and mentors who can help teach them how to be a solid human being. They need a village of elders who can provide different perspectives and life experiences, who can provide nuggets of wisdom in ways that my husband and I can't.
I love knowing that my children are well taken care of when they are under my friends' care. I love knowing that if tragedy should strike my husband and I at the same time, my kids will have ample arms to catch them and help them through their grief. I love that my kids have adults they can turn to when their parents just aren't getting it. I love that my friends take their role in my children's lives seriously, even as they provide an element of fun for my kids that I can't always provide.
My kids are blessed to have diverse examples of grownups in their lives—quiet introverts and bold extroverts, lighthearted optimists and stoic pragmatists, ambitious go-getters and chill down-to-earthers. Each provides a model for a different way to approach and interact with the world, and I love that my kids can see different parts of themselves reflected in my friends' personalities. When we have lots of people to look up to, who are conscientiously engaged in our lives, it's easier to figure out who we are and how we fit into the great puzzle of humanity.
But mostly, I'm just glad my kids have so many manifestations of love and acceptance in their young lives. I still clearly remember the impact that our close family friends had on me as I grew up. I still appreciate how I can look back at my memories of childhood and know that I was not only adored by my parents, but by so many others in my community. I love that my kids are growing up with that same kind of support.
To all of you who love my kids so well, I hope you know how much you mean to me. You are the village that is helping raise my tiny humans to be extraordinary adults. Your contributions to my and my kids' lives are real, significant, and oh so appreciated. I wouldn't be the mom that I am, my kids wouldn't be who they are, and the world simply wouldn't be as lovely and loving a place without you.
Thank you, friends, for giving so much to my family. I am eternally grateful to every one of you.
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