So-Called FREE Time: Back to School

Remember this? Working on science fair projects while cleaning pasta sauce off the kitchen ceiling, balancing a gnarly diaper in one hand and a smelly baby in the other, running to answer the door because the electrical guy needs access to the breaker box (wherever that is) while the doctor’s office is calling to reschedule the appointment you’d forgotten about anyway? That was me last year. This year? Not so much, and I’m kind of weirded out by it.

 

Those were the days when we’d get through it all by sucking down wine at the end of the night and hopefully stealing a late night soak in the tub to wash it all (including that baby poop smell) down the drain. We’d let our minds sneak off to that place that we fondly recall as the days before we had kids…

cards against humanity, free time, mom time, me time, screen free, teenagers, parenting advice, quitting screens, addicted to screens

Well, now that every last one of the kids is in school, we have free time again. And although it’s different now, and there’s really no getting back to that pre-kids place, do we know what the hell to do with ourselves? I don’t. And I didn’t prepare for it either.

blended family, mom blog, mom vlog, step mom, 7 kids, seven kids, back to school

What is it about being a mom that keeps us laser focused on everything else but ourselves? In the meantime, we’ve forgotten who we are as beautiful women, as a person with a passion, and a human being who makes mistakes. But in the process of being a perfect mom who balances the universe on our shoulders, never letting our kids down, we’re letting ourselves down and running ourselves into the ground–albeit with a (forced) smile on our face.

so called mom, free time, step mom, mom blog, mom vlog, blended family, parenting advice, mom advice

The worst part? No one really asks this of us. We just voluntarily throw ourselves off the cliff like lemmings, landing face-first and resentful as this weeks trending mom-martyr. And so, when life presents us crowns us with a bundle of free time each day, we sort of let it eat us alive, rather than the other way around. At least that is how I have felt the first couple of weeks have been since back-to-school surprised me with this awkward emptiness. I have not dominated my use of free time. It has knocked me out and I’m trying to get up gracefully, like it never happened.

So, check out the video above, where I detail five ways us So-Called Moms can get our groove back. If you have something to add, please do so by plugging your ideas into the comments below; I’d love to know what you do to make the most out of your time.

Have the most fabulous weekend ever,

So-Called Mom

feminism, glass ceiling, so called mom

Is Feminism a Dirty Word?

I’ve learned much more about feminism than I could’ve imagined this month. At times, the focus on this theme was overwhelming because well, I’m pretty freaking far from being an expert. And the hardest part about getting in the ring (because feminism sure isn’t a spectator sport), is looking like you’re not repping very well. There’s nothing worse than swinging around with your dukes up like a cartoon character and having your ass handed to you from someone who knows what they’re talking about. I mean, since I am a woman, I should look and talk like I eat feminism for breakfast. But I don’t. Or didn’t rather, until now.

feminism, glass ceiling, so called mom

I remember taking a woman studies course in college in 1996 (basically yesterday, gasp). I sat in the back and never raised my hand. I didn’t feel like I had a voice worth sharing because I felt overshadowed by the women that could ace the course with their eyes closed because it was built into their DNA.

They breathed feminism, while I choked on it.

As the only girl raised in an all boy family, I had zero feminism roaring through my blood stream. I also didn’t understand hating men–because they were often my best friends. As a matter of fact, I clearly remembered high school was the place where girls were the problem: so catty and cruel. And so, sitting in that lecture hall felt no different, like a cult-clubhouse: You’re either with us or you’re against us.

I never asked to have both worlds because asking about it scared the shit out of me.

I just decided that anger and intimidation was not my style and I also decided never to take another class like that again. I had assumed they all must be the same. Then I cemented the fact that feminism was not for me because I didn’t fit into one ounce of what it looked like. I loved dresses and heels and lipgloss. I loved lace bras and matching underwear and having a man open a door for me and even order my dinner while I sat right in front of him, very capable of doing it myself.

And because of this very feminist-focused month, I’ve come to learn though you, dear readers, and my own family–that feminism for everyone–regardless of your gender and whatever you wear to express yourself.

So about that word: feminism. It does stir up some hella-intense imagery, doesn’t it? And it’s important imagery too–Feminism has an potent, gritty history because we had to go there. But the images of the past are now stereotypes. And they are watering down the original meaning of feminism that could be scaring off it’s future use. Equality is where it’s at.

Re-establishing our beliefs and re-assigning our truths based not on sex, but our unstoppable selves is what will create the kind of kickass world we all want to live in.

As always, your insight and sentiments mean so much to me. I’d love to hear your side and have it help me shape my new perspective on feminism.

So-Called Mom

Quiet girls, strong girls, feminism, raising strong girls

Letting the QUIET Girls Speak: They Have Something to Say

I set out to conduct this interview with my middle kid, MJ, who always seems to get lost in the shuffle. And I stumbled through what I would ask her: in my head, on paper, up at night when I couldn’t sleep–you name it. I realized I was missing the point of her speaking about strong girls because I was so caught up in the message and worried she wouldn’t have anything to say about it. Or worse, would show my camera, me and the entire world that she wasn’t strong (gasp). Or that she hadn’t thought about it. Because, ehhh, well she is a pretty quiet kid.

I mean, god forbid I have a member of the family, let alone a girl, who doesn’t know how to kick the doors in on life.

 

But she showed me otherwise. And it wasn’t until she was paddling around, waiting for the others to swim away, that she just outright came to me with who she was and what she was after. I spent several days floundering over how to even bring the subject up–and here she was dishing it out, exactly her way. Soft spoken. Tiny. And super sure of herself. All I had to do was listen. And learn to be there for her more. And quit trying to put a name to who or what she is. She is MJ, and that’s that.

Quiet girls, strong girls, feminism, raising strong girls

Back when I used to attempt corporate career momlife (haha), I went to a team building event. It was all about how extroverts (like me) and introverts (like MJ) can work together. Extroverts stereotypically like to talk and talk and talk and overshare even if you didn’t ask. Introverts stereotypically like to keep to themselves, are shy and have nothing to say or contribute.

But if the extroverts would just stop sucking all the air out of the room (i.e. shut up and listen), the introverts would have a moment to process and draw in enough breath to respond without their 30 seconds of fame being up.

feminism, quiet girls, raising strong girls

MJ is a good exercise in the art of me shutting up. And of not worrying about her anymore–because I shouldn’t, she’s got this. She is the exact opposite of what you’d assume strength to be–stereotypically: She’s like 10 lbs soaking wet. She’s long and lean like a string bean. She keeps a detailed journal jammed under her mattress and she reads books that are thousands of pages long. She has an obsession with mechanical pencils. Quiet indeed–UNTIL she opens her mouth and her brain starts showing me up. Which is exactly what I love about her.

Because there’s nothing better than finding strength and tenacity in the unexpected.

So-Called Mom

 

feminism, wonder woman, super heroes, comic books, gender neutral, transgender, feminist, all are welcome here, self love

Should Boys Play with Dolls?

Now I’ve been hard at work this month establishing the new normal for gender equality. Maybe I’m not quite sweeping the world off its feet with my So-Called new found awareness, but at least it’s working for my family.

Naturally, I’ve been focusing intently on my girls–but remember, it’s my 5 year old boy who really gets the credit for us embarking on this quest.

gender neutral, feminism, boys and girls toys, toy aisle, should boys play with dolls

Instead of rambling on about how important it is to teach feminism as a family value across the board within your family, I turned the camera on good-ol-sport Leopold to show why:

 

My main focus with him at this point is to make sure this awesome play of his doesn’t get stifled when he goes to school for the first time this fall. I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to do it, but I have a feeling it’s going to be equal parts consistent conversation and involvement in his classroom–without, of course, turning into an insane helicopter mom. Again.

PS–My Feminist Starter Kit giveaway is going strong until the end of this month. Check out the details here.

So Called Mom

Why add Feminism to your Wardrobe? ENTER THE WILDFANG GIVEAWAY HERE

I want to take a few minutes to speak about this giveaway, and why it’s important to me.

While I understand that clothes and fashion is trivial to some, it’s also viewed as self expression to others. Wearing no clothes at all is a way to express freedom, but so is selecting pieces that add to your voice.

For the next handful of days, I have a giveaway that I’m doing for a few key wardrobe staples from the awesome girl brand WILDFANG. Just follow the link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fc994a072/?

On August 1st, I’ll randomly select a winner.

Here is what I’m giving away:

So Called Mom WILDFANG Feminist Kit Giveaway

Good luck, thank you for helping me build up my community and for sharing my message. I hope you win!

 

So Called Mom