Archive for the ‘support’ Category
Over the weekend I had a discussion with friends about my refusal to go to McDonald’s any more. Even though I love and crave their iced tea and drank it daily for years. (Yup, years. That’s no exaggeration.) I stopped recently because I am disgusted with the way they treat employees and stupid things they post on their website for employees such as complaining causes stress, break food into pieces to feel full faster, and return presents for cash. I know other fast food restaurants aren’t treating their employees any better, but they aren’t blatantly rubbing it in their faces either.
I won’t shop at Walmart, because they don’t get to double dip in my pocketbook. It’s enough that they get tax breaks for their corporation and their employees get public assistance for being underpaid, I”m not adding to their billion dollar bottom line.
I’m doing without Chik-fil-A sandwiches because the owners are homophobic bullies. They can donate all the money they want to anti-gay legislation, but none if it will be from chicken that my family consumed. And taking on the little farm stand owner selling Eat More Kale t-shirts because it infringes on your “eat mor chicken” trademark is just being an uber asshat douche canoe!
And then there’s Hobby Lobby. Their refusal to provide birth control to their employees under the Affordable Health Care Act because they are Christian has made it to the Supreme Court. The owners are Christian; not all employees are. Women’s body-autonomy is a biggy with me so I no longer can shop at Hobby Lobby. I cannot spend my money there without feeling like I am selling out every woman in the country. I don’t need glitter, plastic pearls, and glue guns at cheap prices that bad. I can shop elsewhere.
I also won’t spend my money at Papa John’s, certain Ace Hardwares, the hair salon in town, a restaurant in Carol Stream…unfortunately the list grows.
But I wonder if I am making a difference. In my own corner of the world, am I taking a social stand? Am I changing the world a little? Are there others out there like me who are doing the same thing? Can we make a difference together?
I just can’t give my money to people who are so blatantly nasty. It would just be easier if I knew I was accomplishing something. What do you think? Do you perform pocketbook protests? Are you helping?
Yes, you read that right.
Chrystal Bougon recognized a need. She saw that women bigger than a Victoria’s Secret model needed and wanted lingerie. So she opened a shop. In fact, her Curvy Girl Lingerie is the second brick and mortar plus-sized lingerie store in the United States, located in San Jose, California. She also sells on the internet. Chrystal also started a Curvy Girl Facebook page. When a customer asked to post a picture of herself, a real woman, wearing some of the lingerie she had purchased, Chrystal thought this sounded like a great idea.
I think any woman, no matter her size, knows what a big deal it is for a woman to post a picture of herself in lingerie. It takes a hell of a lot of moxie. Chrystal let women have a safe place. Because they looked good. They felt good. They’re beautiful and other women want to see them. They want to be inspired by women like themselves, maybe slip on a teddy at home. Maybe even have a few pictures taken of themselves.
It’s empowering for people to see people who look like themselves. Doesn’t matter who or what you are, you want to be normalized. And that’s what Chrystal did. That’s a good thing.
Until the Wicked Witch stepped in and decided that Chrystal was single-handedly contributing to the Ohmigoddeathfat Obesity Epidemic by letting this happen. On her business’ Facebook page. Where business customers sought her out to become fans. Where customers posted pictures. Where no one invited the Wicked Witch to visit, not even once.
I refuse to name the Wicked Witch (aka WW) or her nicknames. She has gotten more than enough publicity from her tantrums and childish behavior. The media fall all over themselves because she’s one of the pretty people that they love having before their cameras. Which doesn’t make what she says worth listening to.
WW went on her Facebook page and posted why obese people should not be allowed to exist. Sure, she sugar-coated it with words of health and fitness. But she makes such blanket claims that she has nothing to back them up. Bottom line: WW would like all obese people to hide away from her sight until they look like her. Or until they are only thirty or forty pounds overweight.
Someone reported WW’s post as hate speech and she was banned from Facebook for a few days. Apparently, Facebook is very very very very important to her because she fell apart. And called her publicist. Who called a few people. And then the WW started making the media merry-go-round.
One news show showed her bopping around her kitchen, perfectly coiffed, whipping up breakfast for her children. Then showed her exercising in the park with other fit mothers, each flinging a toddler about as exercise equipment. She kept repeating, “Anyone can do it! Like I do.”
Unless you work and can’t go to a mom and tot group in the middle of the day.
Unless you don’t have access to a safe outdoor workout space.
Unless you don’t have a healthy child.
Unless you are not healthy.
Unless you don’t want to work out with your child and prefer reading or drawing or looking at the clouds or…
According to WW, however, those are just excuses and you need to get over yourself.
CNN invited Chrystal Bougon and WW on for a sit-down. Which WW dominated with her non-facts. She managed to let everyone know they if they are ready to fix themselves she’s got a way to help them and they can contact her. Nice push for her business, right? And the hosts fell all over her. Chrystal was calm, cool, and collected, saying wise things when allowed. Somehow her video feed was lost, while we were all left with WW’s sneering duck-lip gasp, “you know, I saw women not just 30 or 40 pounds overweight but…obese…[grimace]…morbidly obese [shudder]…”
The hosts never once challenged one of WW’s “facts” or any of the things she was spouting as truths. In fact, the real issue shouldn’t have been the War on Fat at all, but the fact that Fat People Bother the WW and The Media Care. Because the WW can’t look at any of the women posting photos of themselves on the Curvy Girl Facebook page and know whether or not they work out. She cannot look at a photograph of a Victoria’s Secret model and know if she is metabolically healthy. Heck, are we even so sure WW is healthy?
Once again, shame on the media for being such a shoddy group of people. Why would someone even pick up this story? Surely people are getting kicked off of Facebook hourly. There wasn’t a better reason to cover? The good thing is I hope Curvy Girl Lingerie gets some great sales from WW’s tantrum.
All Chrystal wants to do is give a safe space for regular women to be seen. Women who have scars, stretch marks, sagging, excess skin, weight…whatever. There’s no airbrushing or photoshopping. There’s no body shaming or snarking. There’s nothing but camaraderie for women who have lived life and are still living life without the fear of eating a cookie or missing a workout. By the way, she never even calls them curvy…just regular…like you…like me…like my neighbor…like my best friend…
It’s hard being a fat parent. Because people automatically assume you have no idea how to feed your kid a healthy diet. They assume you’re constantly getting dinner at the drive thrus of the local fast food restaurants and tossing candy bars into the back seat while driving for ice cream. Of course, the food at home is no better with chips and soda being the norm, natch. I know, it’s happened to me. More than once.
Which has turned me into The Good Fatty. The Good Fatty is the fat person who does her best to let everyone around her know that while she might be fat, she does her best to be healthy. Very few processed foods in my house! Chips and soda are rare treats! Vegetables at every meal! Nothing deep fried ever!
It’s exhausting. That’s why I was so relieved to read the Fat Nutritionist’s post about Real Food. We sure can be judgy about food. And we need to stop. Because there are very real reasons why people choose the foods they choose and it’s none of our business. It’s really not.
Every day I have a McDonald’s iced tea. I love their iced tea. Another confession: I love egg McMuffins too. But every day I carry that McDonald’s cup into my house, I imagine the neighbors are looking out their windows wondering why the fat lady is eating at McDonald’s so much. Even though, logically, I know they are worried about a million other things than me.
We’ve just gone a little crazy in this country about our food judgments. Friends, family, strangers, restaurant personnel…no one feels exempt from commenting on another person’s food choices. It’s got to stop. Food has become a moral barometer and it shouldn’t be.
Our lives are stressful enough. We don’t need to add another facet with food stress. Food should be enjoyed. It should be easy when we need it to be and complicated when we have the time. We should have what we want to eat when we want it. Yup, even McDonald’s.
Let’s all take a vow, especially with the holidays coming: we’ll worry about the things on our own plates and the plates of our kids without passing judgement on anyone else. And we won’t stress if we need to take a short cut. Frozen pizzas and boxed macaroni and cheese are just the antidote to life’s stress, right?!
I went to a baby shower for a soon-to-be-mother of twin girls this weekend. I oohed and aahed myself into a cute coma because she got some incredibly cute clothes. Seriously, girl children are way better dressed than boy children. There, I’ve said it. Now we can move on.
The parents-to-be also got some practical gifts. But I noticed that no one got them The One Gift That They Really Need For Their Entire Parental Career: A Tape Recorder.
While the babies are still babies they can record themselves making soothing sounds, maybe singing a few lullabies. This will help when they are to damn exhausted to speak a single word more. How convenient it would be to just press a button and let the tape recorder do the talking.
But the baby years are the easy years. When the terrible twos, threes, fours, sixes, tens, and twelves come into play, the parents can just create an endless loop of “no.” A ninety-minute recording of “no” should suffice, with a few rewinds morning, afternoon, and night.
“Can I go outside?” “No.”
“Can I cut my hair?” “No.”
“Can I cut my sister’s hair?” “No.”
“Can I get a tattoo?” “No.”
“Can I eat this bug?” “No.”
Of course, some children will repeat each question an infinite amount of times, making the “no” recordings even more appreciated!
Teenagers might require multiple recording devices. Perhaps one hidden in the car and activated by bad driving, texting while driving, or other dangerous activities. The parents can choose their own message, I suggest something like, “Get your damn hands back on the wheel!”
A hidden recording device in a purse or backpack for dates can keep amorous young men from getting…well, to amorous! “Get your hands off my daughter!” screamed in the father’s voice needs no further explanation!
I’m sure your heads are now swimming with ideas now also! Isn’t this a great idea! Babies R Us will be stocking these soon!
I’m not a fan of Kmart. I couldn’t tell you in 100 words or less why that is. But I feel really sorry for them right now, and just might go shop there to show some solidarity against the absolutely insane American consumer.
Suddenly, shopping on Thanksgiving is something bad. Since Kmart answered the cry of the consumer and decided to stay open 41 hours straight on Thanksgiving, the consumer has turned around and called the retailer out on being “unfamily.” But isn’t that exactly what consumers want? Don’t you want to shop on Thanksgiving?
Or is it more joyful to shop at midnight when retail employees should be snug in their beds but you want to be snagging the latest and greatest Mickey Mouse waffle maker? You need one of the four available $20 DVD players so you’ll stand in line until the store opens at three in the morning?
Does the American consumer not understand that there are employees working all these insane hours? Suddenly some hours are more insane than others?!
I’ve never understood middle of the night shopping. Thanksgiving is usually cold here in the Midwest. So who wants to go out in the cold and the dark to shop?! There is nothing out there that I want or need so badly that I need to warm up the car and dress to trek to a store to get.
Plus, shopping on Thanksgiving has not always been taboo. That’s what we did on Thanksgiving when I grew up in Kansas. Dad and Grandpa would watch football. I’d go shopping with the other women in the family. We weren’t looking for bargains. We were passing time. But we went during regular store hours, not when people should be sleeping.
Americans are a corporate retailers wet dream. We are like lemmings running for bargains that aren’t really bargains. We actually believe that things will be the cheapest they will ever be on Black Friday (aka the day after Thanksgiving). We have bought into the mantra, “more, I need more” and chant it as we grab Made-In-Some-Foreign-Country-By-Tiny-Children-For-Pennies schlock piled high in the aisles of the local mall’s anchor stores.
There’s got to be better ways to celebrate the holidays…
I am so excited! You know how things just happen in this inter-connected world? That happened for me and I am pumped!
On Facebook, I have created a group called Body Positive Parenting, combining two of my passions: parenting and practicing Health At Every Size. It’s hard to raise our kids in this appearance/thin obsessed world. In this day and age when eating disorders among children are on the rise, we need all the resources we can get to help out kids survive childhood.
I’ll be doing research. We’ll be having conversations. Hopefully the end result will be raising healthy, happy young people with a greater appreciation for themselves.
Many of us grew up with negative messages about appearance, weight, and popularity. It’s hard not to repeat the patterns we learned from that. But we will work together to re-learn ways to talk to our kids about being healthy, without dragging a number (aka weight) into the mix.
I’d love your thoughts, ideas, suggestions about this! Feel free to contact me!
And don’t forget to join the group! It’s closed to keep out spammers and trolls, but I’m checking it often.
I was given an advance copy of Accidental Boyfriend in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own as are any mistakes! Read to the end for details about the giveaway!
Accidental Boyfriend by Robin Bielman is a fun romance. Tossed together to fool Kagan’s father’s choice for his daughter, Kagan and Shane certainly have some fun. There’s camping, kayaking, cooking, and movie watching. Both these characters are fun to read about. Yes, they are a little perfect…but not syrupy. That really does make a difference. The setting of Cascade is picture-perfect and made me want to live there!
All sex is off-page, but there is some making out and fantasizing. Nothing too hard core, though.
This is a definite fun read. Kept me turning pages and enjoying myself. Can’t ask for anything more!
Kagan Owens has a secret. One she thought she’d escaped by leaving New York, but when her past follows her to her temporary new life, Kagan lets a teeny lie slip. And now the town’s biggest playboy and flirt, Shane Sullivan, has become her pretend boyfriend–just until she’s ready to return to NYC. But the handsome, fun-loving Shane makes it tough to determine where their friendly agreement begins and ends…
Shane has no intention of settling down–in fact, his job depends on it, and nothing’s more important than his work. Still, he can’t help but agree to Kagan’s scheme, if only to find out more about the mysterious beauty. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body on fire, he realizes playing an accidental boyfriend may be more than he bargained for–and more than he can give.
About the author:
Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books). When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Filled with wanderlust, she longs to visit many different places and fulfill her curiosity. She wouldn’t mind indulging her sweet tooth in every location either. She’s a lover of Post-it notes, cable television shows and café mochas. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.
Her other novels include Kissing the Maid of Honor, Worth the Risk, Risky Surrender and Yours At Midnight. She loves to connect with readers. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website.
In Her Accidental Boyfriend Kagan designs jewelry similar to this beautiful pink pearl double wrap bracelet that is up for grabs.
Praise for Robin Bielman
“Robin Bielman is a must-read!” NYT Bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson
“Sweet, sassy, and toe-curlingly sexy, my ‘secret wish’ is to live inside the pages of this story!” Rachel Harris, author of Seven Day Fiance
To many advertisers have jumped on the pink wagon to sell as many products as possible on the coat tails of the pink ribbon. Yogurt. Energy drinks. Makeup. Oh so many more.
After watching Pink Ribbons, Inc. my eyes have been opened to the ways marketing companies are using cancer as a selling tool. They’ve learned that packaging something in pink will help sell a product. But where is the real benefit for breast cancer research and support?
Of the millions of dollars these products rake in in October, a very small percentage will actually find its way to helping breast cancer in any way. Most will end up in the pockets of the corporations. In some cases the products, such as some cosmetics, actually contain carcinogens while blowing the pink ribbon horn.
Football players are sporting pink shoes and pink towels this month. Maybe the National Football Association should have just donated all the money it cost to purchase these pink items. Because a hulking football player running through the mud in pink shoes isn’t curing cancer. But money will help.
If you really want to donate money to breast cancer research, just write a check. Find an honorable and responsible research facility that is truly looking for a cure. They need your money. Just don’t expect to get some cute pink thing in return.
Here’s an excellent blog post on other events in October that are offensive.
Moms are under a lot of pressure. I imagine it’s always been like that, but it seems like moms are especially judgy and catty today. Add the internet and the inundation of faux-experts on any and all subjects, and it’s no wonder most moms feel they are lacking in the parenting realm.
If you ever wonder if you might be a bad parent, you are a good parent. It’s the parents who know everything and will let you know how good they are that suck at parenting. Watch and learn. While they tell you the right things to do, their child is the one terrorizing the sand box or jacking your kid’s hot wheels.
Every parents takes the easy way out sometimes. Do you cook a gourmet meal every night? Of course not! That’s what boxes of macaroni and cheese are for. Some days, the television is the mac and cheese of parenting. When you’re feeling sick, have a headache, are tired, or just need a moment of quiet time, the television is perfect. Assuming you haven’t turned on the Playboy channel, you’re doing alright.
Every parents lets their kids eat crap food. It happens. We can’t be the food police every minute of every day. Plus, your kids are going to grow older and have access to food on their own. In re-thinking my food handling, I wish I had kept pop and chips on hand so the kids didn’t end up thinking they were such forbidden treats. There’s something about learning moderation at a young age.
Every parent yells at their child. I think we all start out with good intentions. But there comes a day when you hear yourself yelling and wonder, “when did I become my mother?!” For me, it was a half-hour car ride with Aaron and the worm he took for show and tell. Question after question about worms drove me to finally beg for silence. In the form of a yelled, “shut up!” It happens. The same way you snap at your husband. The same way you snap at a friend or a sister or a mother. If you’re spending every day with your child, you will snap. Better to yell than do something worse.
You’ll know you’re a bad mom when you’re neglecting your child. You’ll know you’re a bad mom if you look for ways to hurt your child. You’ll know you’re a bad mom when you enjoy yelling at your child and making him cry.
Other than that, you’re a good mom. Full of doubts and angst, but also full of love and great intentions.
Just like I offered William and Kate some marital advice, I want to offer some parenting tips. Here are a few things to help them through the years ahead.
Hold your baby as much as you want.
Your son is relying on you to care and protect him for several years. Build up that trust by being there for him. Trust me, you cannot hold a baby to much. He won’t get spoiled. What he will learn is you are reliable.
Don’t forget about each other.
The will be hard when he’s really little. But try to remember how you were a couple before you became parents. Your son needs parents who create a united front. Don’t let him manipulate you or play you against each other. Also, he will learn how to treat other people from the way you treat each other. William, treat Kate with respect and honor so your son will one day treat women in the same way.
Keep a pad and paper on hand.
Seriously, get a notebook and start making notes. Things will be happening so fast and you want to record the funnier ones. Sure he’ll be embarrassed when you pull out a phrase he used as a toddler at his 16th birthday party, but you two can enjoy the laugh. It also helps when he’s an annoying teenager to review how adorable he was as a toddler.
Don’t make every moment a teach-able moment.
Honestly, when did parenting become a formal teaching career? Let him play with the toys he chooses. Let him wander where it’s safe. He doesn’t need you to guide his play. He just needs supervision to keep him safe. Toys are for fun. So he can do anything with them that he wants. Cars sound like tigers? Maybe in his world they do on that day. Dolls double as guns–don’t be shocked when he manages to turn any toy into a weapon. But let him be a kid when he can. He’s under pressure most children will never experience.
Read to him.
Even as an infant, he wants to hear your voice. If you’ve run out of things to talk about, read a book. Keep reading books as he grows. A love of reading will make him a better person. It’s cheap and easy entertainment. It’s a way to travel and experience things. Being well-read makes learning easier.
Talk to him.
Related to the above, but taken a little further. While you bathe him or change him, talk. Talk baby talk. Talk nonsense. Talk about the weather. Just talk, talk, talk. When you’re out for a walk, point out the bugs, trees, and birds. Tell him the names of things.
Turn off the electronics.
Your baby wants to be with you. When he’s older, pull out the phone at the endless polo matches. But for now, enjoy him.
Take care of yourselves.
Give each other a break from the parenting. Take showers. Sleep. A tired, exhausted parent is a short-tempered parent. If you accept early on that you will be lacking sleep for the next 18 years, it will be easier. Even if you manage to get sleep, it will never again be the sleep of the childless.
Look for the humor in everything.
Life is so much more enjoyable when you can laugh at it and yourselves. You might not laugh at the moment, but later on you can.
That’s enough for now. Go, enjoy the baby. Take a nap. I’ll be here when you need advice when he starts school. And becomes a teenager. The baby years are the easy years.