How to Survive “Like” Culture

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Social media exerts two pressures upon your soul:

  1. Broadcast every second of your life, and
  2. Do it with perfection.

The message is pretty simple: be liked.

Only it’s hard on our frail human psychology. In fact, it can be downright depressing.

As a blogger, this infectious self-doubting is unavoidable. Every time I write, I stand to be judged.

In July, I finally listened to the pleadings of my heart and did what some would consider marketing suicide for an aspiring writer.

I disappeared from Facebook and Twitter…without warning.

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Can you ever really return home?

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It’s a question that came to me not long ago – at McDonald’s, in fact. Just before we sold our first home in May, I was overcome with a longing for my parents and their house in the mountains of Virginia.

So I did what any Millennial parent would do: I tried to recreate a scene from my own childhood.

We took our children to eat beneath the golden arches for the very first time. As you may have guessed, our sandwiches were edible cardboard and the kids ate very little without the aid of excessive ketchup.

Really, the moment stung. “Old McDonald’s”, as my son lovingly refers to it, only heightened feelings of isolation within me.

Could I ever experience home again?

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What Every Mother Wants to Say (My Second Year Blogging)

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When I started my blog two years ago, I was convinced that I would be the mouthpiece for all mothers – those who work and stay-at-home alike.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

As it turns out, my “you don’t fit neatly into any category” identity followed me into parenthood as well.

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Small Talk

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The Gratitude Gospel: Day 10

Okay, so I’ve missed a few days. The thing about writing about your life is, well, sometimes you just can’t blog about what happens in your day.

Small things happen that no one else will find interesting.

Big things happen that you can’t really share…at least not at the given moment in time.

But today, I was reminded of the deep love I have for something so fleeting in our technology-mediated world: face-to-face small talk.

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The Day I Lost the Cape

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I know my husband and I have gotten too busy when we begin to bicker through text messaging. A few weeks ago, such was the case.

Our morning began with a small request made lovingly.

“When you dress A, please remember to put the barrette in her hair.”

I may live in the genteel South, but my daughter’s barrettes serve more than an ornamental purpose: they hold back her untamed mane. If I don’t have the time for a real conversation with my husband, then scheduling a haircut is a luxury out of reach.

With a rushed family goodbye, I departed for my 8 a.m. class. And just before my second class began, I heard the vibration. In addition to the barrette, I had also asked my husband to snap a picture of the kids at preschool drop-off. Nothing brings sadness quite like missing Pajama Day. But, alas, a picture!

Only my screen seemed to validate distrust and incite a surprising anger.

Two kids. Two smiles. And no barrette.

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Now What?

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In every parenting journey, there is a moment when the unthinkable happens.

You decide to stop having children.

For our family, the curtain call came five months after our daughter was born. No more babies. Slowly, our lives adjusted, my body mostly returned, and our careers settled.

But a question has increasingly haunted me: Now what?

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The STEM Needs the Flower

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Oh, Ronald Reagan. In 1983 his administration presented A Nation at Risk, a report that would forever change the game in American education.

In short, it claimed we had everything to fear. We were falling behind. Our teachers weren’t good enough.

And so began our collective sprint to a finish line where all children succeed, where domination in math and science would be as natural as breathing. To achieve these goals, however, we had to shed the excess – the nonessential.

And, just like that, the STEM virus began.

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All That Glitters Is Not Disney

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Disney. Is there a word more divisive in all of parenthood?

When you are raising your children five hours north of Walt Disney World, you quickly learn that you cannot be an isolationist.

“Have you been yet?”

“Are you all planning a trip?”

And, my personal favorite: “You’ll love Disney!”

But, let’s be honest, it isn’t just about the annual pilgrimage to Neverland – we’re talking the entire culture that Walt Disney may or may not have known he was building. If you are not yet a parent, it’s that feeling you get when you walk into Walmart only to be entirely consumed by a Frozen display…only there is a little one at your side who cannot take their eyes off of the glitter.

It is all too easy to hand over the reigns to the conglomeration – to buy the products; to sing the songs; to encourage children to dance to the beat of their favorite characters.

Except, of course, if you belong to the 1% who remain in the shadows. And, here, this is where you will find our family.

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