Inadvertently Dad

When Stuart and I made the bold decision to move in together with moving day being the day the kids met him, we didn’t know what would happen. Would they warm up to him in time?  Would it be a grand disaster?  We definitely didn’t expect to quickly fall into a place where we were all a family.

Not only did we all mesh together beautifully, but some circumstances changed and forced Stuart into the role of the primary father figure, one he effortlessly rolled into.

I am beyond thankful for the way he stepped up and the way that he and the kids love each other fiercely.

This Father’s Day weekend, I am crazy thankful.

Thank you Stuart for…

Helping the kids through projects I don’t want to do with them.

Being a source of reason when I just can’t Mom.

Giving our friends’ kids love and and patience when they need it most.

Demonstrating to my daughter what unconditional love looks like from a romantic perspective.

Respectfully and appropriately allowing my daughter to love on you.

Loving my daughter through sleepless nights, potty issues, and bratty behavior.

Ensuring that we all get out of the house from time to time.

Instituting Mandatory Fun.

Never making my kids feel dumb or out of place for calling you Dad sometimes.

Recognizing that I need a break – a LOT.

Keeping us fed and full of freshly grilled foods.

Understanding and accepting that the house will never again be spotless as you’re accustomed to.

Modeling Good Man Behavior to my boys, ensuring that they will someday make upstanding members of society.

Recognizing – and reminding me – that all the annoying “flaws” in my children are just part of them growing up.

Working your ass off so that my children can have a parent at home at all times in this difficult season of change.

Providing us with a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood, where we can grow and thrive together.

For being the absolute backbone of this family.

You are loved….deeply and earnestly.

Fatherhood in the Foreground

This Sunday is Father’s day and as much as we try to include dads in the narrative around here, things usually end up sounding like ‘mom this and mom that’ . 😉 We try – but look we’re moms and that’s the perspective we write from. 😉 The truth is, Rhonda and I both have some great guys in our lives that father our own children and that have fathered us.

What makes someone a Father though? This past Saturday I took the kids to the Biloxi National Cemetery to visit the grave site of my Pawpaw and Mawmaw. If you are a regular reader or social media follower, you know that I lost both my maternal and paternal grandfathers this Spring.

My Pawpaw (my Dad’s father) served and retired from the United States Air Force, and it was his grave that we visited. It was emotional to me. Sophie is still too young to really grasp what we were doing, but I had to take the time to really explain to Cooper what was going on. He knew Pawpaw, but not intimately so it took some memory jogging. Thankfully, Coop remembers EVERYTHING so it wasn’t too hard. 😉

We talked about who Pawpaw was and what happened to him. We talked about death. We talked about soldiers and why they were all buried there together. We talked a lot about Pawpaw’s relationship to my Dad and to me…who he was to us.

That visit coupled with this year’s upcoming Father’s Day on Sunday, really made me start thinking about what is Fatherhood to me. About how the expected role of a father has changed from my Pawpaw’s generation. Fathers are being held more accountable for the actions and everyday involvement in their children’s lives.

We are seeing the days of ‘baby-sitter dads’ coming to an end. A guy who takes his kids places solo is slowly becoming something commonly seen and not such of an anomaly.

Being someone’s father should mean that you are giving just as much as their mother when it comes to taking care of your children – and not just financially. You shouldn’t get to just deposit money in your baby momma’s account and walk away until the time suits you to take care of your kids like you deposited your sperm inside her while she carried those babies for nine months. It’s a we thing. It’s a thing that took two people to make and should be a two person job for the rest of your life.

For me there is so much wrapped up in putting forth effort to break the stereotypes that my generation grew up under when it comes to so many things, but especially for gender roles. You can divide up household chores equally and so that each person is doing something best suited to their own personal skill-set and tolerance level: not their gender. However, you can’t and shouldn’t divide up parental duties.

I love to see dads making an effort and fighting to be a part of their children’s lives. Mainly, I just love seeing a dad do the things he is supposed to be doing without expecting extra praise because he changed someone’s diaper or handled getting their dinner on the table.

If life takes you physically away from your children, you can still put in that effort. If life has you working tons of hours so that you can financially provide for your children, you can still put in that effort. Find a way. Make a way – to be a father to your children.

I know so many men that are doing it right. They are standing up and just simply being a father. They aren’t just some background figure while mom shuffles the kids’ from place to place and wipes the kids’ noses and folds the kids’ laundry and makes the kids’ dinner and is giving the kids’ all their childhood memories.

You can’t make someone change. If your partner is not exhibiting the fatherhood behaviors that you’d like your child to see and emulate, it’s likely that you can’t change that – especially if they don’t want to change or see no need to change. However, you can speak your truth about what a father is. You can do your best to expose your children to other men who are doing the whole father thing right. You CAN refuse to excuse his behavior when he isn’t involved.

Don’t belittle him. Don’t be negative. Just don’t accept his unacceptable behavior, and turn it into a positive learning experience.

I want my son to know that a girl can do anything a boy can do, and I want him to know that he, as a boy, can do anything a girl can do. He can’t ever physically carry a baby while it develops in the womb, but there’s a whole heck of a lot he could do to ease that burden. Or you know, who knows? Maybe he’ll just have to emotionally support his partner because they’ve got a surrogate carrying their future child. Either way. I just want him to be involved from the beginning. I want him to know and see and demonstrate Fatherhood in the Foreground.

 

Book Choices: Summer Reading for Kids

Happy FRIDAY! I just love the start to the weekend. This week has finally ended (why is it that short work weeks always seem like the longest work weeks??) – AND we are finally in June. I swear, May went by super slowly.

Even though the season of Summer doesn’t officially start until late June, I feel like when we hit June 1st that we are in Summer. We’re definitely already having Summer weather which is nice because winter lasted fifteen million years. 😉 The Summer mindset is really so similar to a weekend mindset. It’s a big break from the ordinary. People take vacations – school’s out!

Cooper is out of school as of Thursday last week, but that doesn’t mean we are taking a break from learning. I want to make sure he is prepared for Kindergarten and doesn’t lose any of the skills he learned while attending PreK 4 this past school year. So, I have lots of learning activities planned, BUT the main thing I wanted to make sure that we do is to dive into some intentional reading.

In May, Cooper’s teacher sent home one of those Scholastic Books packets where you can order books for your child which in turns helps his classroom earn books. It’s a win win – and I knew we needed to replenish our book supply to gear up for summer reading. So, I went through the choices and picked out several books that either I already knew because of some prior research or I knew them because they are just classics and a few I just took a gamble on. 🙂 Overall, I am super pleased with our selection – and I thought I’d share with you guys my choices…just in case you were in the market for some new children’s books for your kiddos.

As I said, I wanted our reading to be intentional. We read at least one book a day – and I really like a lot of the books we already own. However, I wanted to have some books in our arsenal that are teaching important life lessons or are helping them gain understanding of tough topics or are scholastically educational – and then of course there are few purely entertainment ones mixed in.

Life Lessons

What Does It Mean To Be Kind – Rana DiOrio
Even Superheroes Have Bad Days – Shelly Becker
When I Feel Angry – Cornelia Maude Spelman
Happy in our Skin – Fran Manushkin
How Full is your Bucket? For kids – Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes – Todd Parr
David Gets in Trouble – David Shannon
Froggy Goes To School – Jonathan London
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? – Jane Yolen & Marke Teague
Flora’s Very Windy Day – Jeanne Birdsall

Educational –

Winter – Alie Busby
Fall- Alie Busby
Summer- Alie Busby
Spring- Alie Busby
The Tiny Seed – Eric Carie
Big Red Barn – Margaret Wise Brown

Entertainment –

The Night Pirates – Peter Harris
Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Caralyn Buehner & Mark Buehner
Curious George Apple Harvest – H.A. Rey
Dragons Love Tacos – Adam Rubin

Not only are we going to plow through all these books this summer, but I’ve made the commitment to go to our local public library at least once a week to participate in their reading program and check out at least two books each week that we will read. Reading is so important. It is a proven fact that children who read frequently perform better in all other scholastic areas. Also, I’ve just always been an avid reader, and I want my children to have that love for books. 🙂

What about y’all? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What’s your favorite children’s book?

Movin’ Up – Cooper finished PreK 4!

On Tuesday, Cooper’s school held their Pre K and Kindergarten ‘Moving Up’ ceremony, and I planned to just make a short Facebook Post – per usual – on my personal page and throw up the videos and pictures from the ceremony. However, as I tried to plan what I wanted to say – I realized I had way too many words spilling out of my mind for a little Facebook Post. And also, those of you who are regular have followed along a bit with us as I’ve documented our journey to and through PreK on the blog. I feel like you deserve some closure. 😉 

So, here we are on the blog. I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reservoir behind my eyes that is going to spill over onto my face as I write out all these emotions.

I know. I know. It’s just a Pre K ‘graduation’. I know I sound like one of those ridiculous moms making a big deal out of something minor. But the thing is. It’s a big deal to us. It’s a big deal to me as Cooper’s mom. He had some struggles this year which really compounded the importance of this event, but even if we were just another normal kid who walked into PreK 4 like it was NBD, I’d still be emotional about it.

Turning five and preparing to enter Kindergarten is a big change in your child’s life. I really feel like now when I Iook at him, he has lost all traces of my baby boy. He’s becoming such a big kid. He looks more and more like a little carbon copy of his dad to me every day. They also share a ton of personality traits that Cooper is exhibiting more profoundly with every passing day.  He’s just becoming such a little man. He’s way more independent and capable of doing things on his own. It makes me super happy and incredibly sad all at once. It’s that bittersweet part of being a parent : excitedly watching our babies grow but missing the little ones that they used to be.

And so there we sat, in the gym of his school, watching him and his class perform songs complete with little hand motions that they’d learned over the year. It was super cute. He did really well. He stood up there with confidence, and had only one minor mishap when another little boy got overzealous with his swaying side to side and almost knocked Coop off the riser they both stood on. Coop promptly called out to his teacher to report this incident. Of course. Because not a minute goes by at home without him first yelling, “MOMMY Soso did this thing to meeee.” Instead of confronting Sophie about the issue first. It’s something we are working on. 😉

There was a reception after the performance where each kid got some treats and I got to look through his classroom journal. He came to PreK 4 with zero knowledge of how to write letters much less his own name. He can now write his name with ease which is just a huge milestone. We still have some challenges ahead of us academically with Coop – but I feel like he will be fine and some of that is overdue pressure for kids to know so much before they even enter kindergarten.

Socially and emotionally? Well, he’s excelling. For those of you who aren’t regular blog readers or are new or don’t know us in real life – Coop had major separation anxiety issues. I’ve written about it in depth here . It was really rough for a while, but by the time we made it to Christmas break and came back in the New Year – Coop was a new kid. The only time he ever hesitated about having to go to school was on Friday when there is church. Because really? Don’t most little kids dread that time of having to sit still and be quiet? 😉

We are just so proud of his accomplishments. We are so thankful for our school and all of the people who work there who have helped Cooper to feel loved and appreciated and welcomed and supported and most of all : safe. It’s just really an amazing community. We are indebted to his teachers who worked with him every single day. They made accommodations and were able to give him the one on one attention that he needed. They never ever let what happen each morning at drop off determine how they treated him the rest of the day. That’s a huge deal, because we had experienced the complete opposite.

So, here’s to you Coop. 🙂 Congratulations bud! 

 

The Kids of RATMM

Hey hey! Happy Monday! 🙂 Since we just cruised through Mother’s Day Weekend, I got to thinking about how there’s so much emphasis during that time on the Mom. It’s all about us. What we want to do. Where we want to go. Etc. Etc. As it should be. We spend a lot of time as Moms doing things that go unappreciated or unnoticed. We pour ourselves into our children to take care of them and nurture them and try to give them happiness on the daily. So, you know. We deserve a day or weekend where we get catered to or at least lifted up for all the things we do. We deserve to be acknowledged.

However, the simple truth is that we wouldn’t be mothers without our children. I thought it would be a fun Monday post following Mother’s Day wherein we do a fun little re-introduction of our kiddos. You can read a little about them on our About Us page, but it occurred to me that we’d never done a full on post about these crazy little humans we call our children. There’s six of them between the two of us which I’m sure can be slightly confusing  to keep up with when you’re reading blog posts or watching a Wine Wednesday Live on Facebook when we talk about them. So yeah, here’s our six – some pictures and 3 fun facts about each of them.

Rhonda’s Littles:

Nick // 12 yrs old

Obsessed with gaming and computers, but can still appreciate a good live sporting event.

Totally  was the worst baby ever and NEVER slept, but now that we are entering the teen years, he’s a night owl content to sleep the morning away.

He is practically a carnivore, needing nothing out of life but a burger, juicy pork chop, good cut of beef, or a plate of bacon.

 

Harper // 8 yrs old

The most moody kid in the world, he can turn from happy and laughing to crying at any moment.

He is a repository for useless facts…. and wants to tell you ALL of them all day…

Because he is absolutely my most talkative child.  If you make eye contact, he takes it as an invitation for a one-sided conversation.

Quentin // 6 yrs old

This child is everyone’s best friend.  That is not an exaggeration – ask my kids’ friends who their best friend is and they will name him…. and so will my own kids.

Adults adore him.  He can carry on a conversation better than kids three times his age.  He loves to sit and listen to adult conversation.

He is genuinely kind and loving and can make you blush with his compliments.

Claudia // 4 yrs old

This little nut keeps life interesting, with her awareness of being the only girl.  She knows she can get what she wants the majority of the time, both from her parents and her brothers.

She is a super healthy eater (with a normal side of junk from time to time), loving her vegetables, cheese, and protein.  She often turns down frozen pizza in favor of what Stuart and I are eating.

She was born to be an entertainer, nonstop singing and dancing.  And she’s actually pretty talented.  She probably needs to be in some classes.

 

Ashley’s Littles:

Cooper // 5 yrs old

Currently obsessed with all things Rescue Bots including all related video games and TV shows

Has always and still does get up crazy early in the morning. He’s a total morning person and claims he doesn’t want to waste his day by sleeping when the sun is up.

Has an INCREDIBLE memory. This dude remembers things from when he was a baby that I have forgotten! 

 

Sophie // 2 yrs old

Basically a hot mess express with all the sass mixed up in there. She keeps us on our toes and laughing at all times. 

She’s knee deep in the ‘Whyyyyy?’ phase and it’s killing me slowly. 😉

This girl LOVES her sleep. She gets that from her mama. 🙂 🙂 

There you have it guys – our six littles all lined up with their quirks exposed for the world to read. I’m sure they will greatly appreciate this one day. 😉 What about y’all? Tell us about your babies! 🙂

Life Lately

Happy Monday, party people!  It’s time for a check in, where we fill you in on the last couple of weeks in our lives and you tell us what’s new with you!

Rhonda –

It has been an amazing couple of weeks over at my house.  Holy moly, what a busy month.  And to think, Stuart and I thought April was going to be boring and quiet.  HA!  We don’t know how to do boring; that’s for damn sure.

We hosted a 30th birthday party for our friend Jenn.  It was a nice laid-back cookout with friends and I think she really enjoyed herself, which is all we wanted.

We dined out a couple of times.  We don’t do that often, but make sure to do take them out as much as we can.  It’s important to me that my kids don’t grow up the way I did, afraid to even order from a server.  We make them order themselves and teach them to be patient waiting for their food to arrive.  They definitely still need practice.  Lawd.

We also are working on decorating and upgrading some furnishings in the house.  We hit up IKEA and loaded as much stuff into the Flex as possible.  What you’re looking at is a bookshelf, a dresser, a dining table, six chairs, and a sideboard!  Holy moly.  I’ll be so glad when we are done putting it all together.  We have been so busy doing other stuff, that we haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to assembly.  We will get there though!

As usual, we have spent a lot of time outdoors and Harper, Quentin, and I all got new bikes!  I was completely surprised by mine and I am also surprised by how much I enjoy riding it!

We wrapped up this past weekend by taking the kids to their first professional baseball game.  The Rangers defeated the Mariners and we had a great family time!

Ashley –

Gosh. I feel the same as Rhonda…seems like so much has happened over the past couple of weeks.

Obviously the usual of work and school took place. We’ve been having hit and miss Spring weather (like most everywhere…) so whenever we can we are outside enjoying the sunny days.

The weekend before last we had my Papa’s funeral which was super sad but it was also really nice to get to see family that I don’t get to see often. My cousin has a son who is only a month younger than Sophie, so it’s always really cute to see the two of them interact in person. We do a lot of snapchatting to each other about the two of them. 🙂 Sophie is SO tall though. She’s a good five inches taller than Krystal’s son and weighs 12 pounds more!

That Saturday after the funeral, I hopped in my car and headed to Destin, Fl to see friends of mine who are in the band, Light Up the Moon, play at Aj’s in Destin. It was so much fun. They aren’t local – they’re based in PA – so it was really nice to get to see them again!

Cooper got this bubble gun for his birthday from his Aunt Marie and her crew, and it has just been a huge hit around here. I went out and got a similar one for Sophie to use in order to curb and fights over whose turn it is to use it, BUT we are just loving playing with them. We’ve taken them to the park a couple of times and all the other children really enjoy it too. So, if you’re looking for an easy and relatively cheap form of entertainment, go to Walmart and get a bubble gun…or two! We’ve always played with bubble…but having this little battery powered bubble blower has made the whole experience even more enjoyable AND less messy. Those are two major wins in my book.

And then this past weekend the weather was beautiful. Things were back to routine after three weekends of dealing with deaths and funerals. The kids got to go stay with Grammy and Ppop on Friday night. And Saturday night I got to hang out with some of my fave adults, my sister – her husband – and our friend Michael. We did dinner and drinks followed by a night at the Chill Bar at the IP Casino. 🙂 A wee bit too much wine was consumed, but it was lots of fun. 🙂

Anddd that’s about it! What have you guys been up to?

And just like that, she is four

How has a year gone by since I got all emotional about Claudia turning three?   Somehow, it flew by and here we are.

I won’t go through all the history behind Claudia’s existence, as I did that last year.  Instead, let’s just look at who she is today.

  • She could literally play Barbies all day, with her tablet acting as the big screen TV.  Best of both worlds – screen time and imaginative play.
  • She loves junk food and healthy food equally.  Her ideal meal would probably be bacon, eggs, and pickles with a side of cupcake and sugary yogurt.
  • She’s the sassiest.  I know everyone calls their daughters sassy…but this girl is like nothing I have ever seen.  She is always rolling her eyes, prancing with her hands on her hips, or flipping her hair.  Her attitude scares me, but she got it from me so I choose to just believe it will cause her to be a strong woman someday – just like her mama.
  • She loves her brothers like crazy.  I know, I know.  All siblings love each other.  But this girl loves to hang out with them and tell them all her secrets – and they do the same with her.  I never knew siblings like this existed.
  • She is incredibly social with NO anxiety at all.  In that way, she is very different from me, and it’s a strength that I am so glad she has.
  • Despite the fact that her father and I have intentionally raised all our kids to ignore gender roles and stereotypes and go their own way, she chooses the route of pink-and-purple-glitter-and-crushes-and-dresses-thank-you-very-much.

Her party was supposed to be this past Saturday, on her birthday, but due to all the sickness in our home, we had to push it back by a week.  She is perfectly happy to drag her celebrations out, so no complaints from her!  We spent her birthday doing mom and daughter stuff, running errands, and eating cupcakes.  We will have a unicorn party in a few days to wrap up her celebration!  I can’t imagine life without her and, in some ways, I celebrate her every day.

 

 

 

Cooper is FIVE

If you’re a regular reader you’ve seen me remark from time to time over the past couple of months about how I couldn’t believe that my baby boy was going to turn five this year. And now…just a few short months into 2018 we are here on his birthday with an official five year old. I just can’t believe how quickly time passes when you measure it against the aging of your children. I’m going to be melodramatic about it today, so I thought maybe you guys would indulge me a bit while I spend a couple hundred words talking about my freshly turned five year old. 🙂

Cooper with his dad. 🙂

I had so many ideas of what parenthood would look like. I was for sure one of those judgy non parents who thought she had it all figured out. The thing is I was pretty much wrong about 97% of all those pre parenthood ideas. These little human beings that we make and then proceed to raise are their own people. They are born with personalities and agendas that have nothing to do with the way we pictured things unfolding. I’m grateful for that though. And I’m so grateful for this little boy that I get to call my own. He’s my first born. He made me a Mommy. He’s been the one who taught me how to be parent and how not to be parent.

It’s crazy to think he’s been here five years already. It’s unbelievable that just five short years ago he made his entrance into the world at 3:30 am. He came unexpectedly about a week and a half before his due date which is too funny because Cooper doesn’t really care for unplanned life events. 🙂 His dad and I were scared to death. Neither one of us were really “kid people”. Neither one of us had held a baby that young. Neither one of us had changed a diaper. Neither one of use had ANY clue of what we were getting ourselves into – but both of us agree that he has made us better people and made our lives more rich – more full – more exciting – and more worthwhile.

Some things about our boy?

  • Cooper is one of the most…ok maybe THE MOST stubborn person I know. Everything has to happen in his time. It has to be his idea. Otherwise? It’s not happening. Whatever it is. You could want to take him to Chuck E Cheese, but if he’s not ready…he doesn’t want to do it.
  • Cooper has got a phenomenal memory. This child remembers things from when he was under a year old that I have even forgotten about until he brings it up. My sister and I were just talking about how he for sure will never let her live down that one time she was babysitting and thought she’d poured tea into his sippey cup, but she’d actually poured some cold brew coffee in his cup and insisted that he drink it. LOL
  • Coop is so incredibly thoughtful and sweet and he loves wide open. He loves fearlessly and passionately. On the flip side? He does the opposite of those things pretty dang passionately as well. 🙂
  • He doesn’t put any priority on sleep and bounds out of the bed before the sun comes up on most days. I should say – sleep in his bed. A longish car ride will knock him out it .2 seconds flat.
  • He is loving playing video games and also has this wonderful imagination for coming up with play scenarios that often involve the adults around him.
  • He had a rough time transitioning to starting Pre K 4 from being at home all day with his grandparents, but we are astounded daily now with the leaps and bounds in progress he’s made.
  • He talks NON STOP. Like literally. He’s always got something to say and he knows it all. When you ask him where he learned something he’s talking about, he will say “Nowhere. I just thought it up!”
Cooper with his great grandmother – aka Mimi – from whom he gets his middle name which is her maiden name.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here and just say that I’m so proud to call him my son and am grateful for every moment I get to call him mine.

Love you Cooper Grice Catchot!

And if you want to read more about Coop, turns out I’ve written about him a time or two before this. 😉

Cooper is Four

Speech – Cooper’s Journey

The Often Untold Story about Preschool Drop-off

5 Things We Learned on our Journey to Pre-K

Let Him Wear a Bow

When One Becomes Two

 

Afton Line at Target & Mom Rambles on the Statement of Fashion Choice

Recently, I was shopping at my local Target which is just really a regular Tuesday night for me. And anyway, I made my typical rounds that start in the women’s clothing section as I meander all the way around the store. Midway through I always stop off and look at the toddler clothes section. I’m always on the hunt for pants that fit my skinny four year boy child. You know, ones that are snug enough in the waist but will also cover his ankles. People, correctly fitting boy pants are a boy mom’s dream.

After checking all the boy pants – I made my way to the little girl’s section. I immediately noticed a new rack that held black and gray clothing with one little pink dress. Obviously, I was drawn to it. It seemed it was a new line brand that Target had recently introduced. I know I’ve never seen it before. I love monochromatic looks. I love pattern-less looks. I love black and gray. This new little section of clothes had my name written all over it. So I walked over to investigate.

The brand name is Afton Street and besides the atypical color scheme, each piece of clothing had a tag that said:

“Defy norms and stereotypes. Grow, learn and make your own path. Explore the world everyday.”

 

And if I wasn’t already convinced that Sophie needed something from this line..just for the pleasing aesthetic – this tag sealed the deal. I love the sentiment, and it just really made me start thinking about the way we dress our children and ourselves. And then that just snowballed into how all that relates to life and the time we live in. And I have a blog – so I thought I’d get on here and ramble to you guys. 🙂

This line of clothing is super ‘uniformish’ in that it’s mostly all items of clothing that have no patterns or very subtle patterns. Also, most of the clothing is gray and black with a few splashes of muted pink and cranberry mixed in. I’m sure that is a big turn off for many people – and probably in their mind contradicts what the brand is trying to say. But it spoke to me.

It seems to be beaten into our psyche that being unique or individualistic has to be loud. If you think of someone breaking fashion standards the whole  wild and free -big and bold – buck the system  vibe hits you.

When you picture the embodiment of those sentiments, I’m sure images filled with color and girls with big  lion hair and tattoos and purposefully mix-matched clothing choices and bold graphic art and huge public statements and defying the norm with risque hemlines and putting your personality into your clothing so that people can see it from a mile away.

I think rebellion and freedom, in general, but especially in fashion has become so aesthetically loud that it often distracts from the message and personality of the individual.

I love the idea of the quiet that a monochromatic and muted colored look provides. I love the idea that you aren’t distracted by my clothes and you can really see ME. You can really hear what I have to say.

When I think of rebellion I think of Winston from 1984 who lived in the party uniform just like everyone else. I think of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, before someone made her put on a flashy dress so that she’d get the attention the outlandishly dressed and body morphed Capitol inhabitants. I think of Luke and Rey from Star Wars dressed in basic utilitarian inspired clothing. I think of Frodo Baggins from The Lord of The Rings in his simple hobbit garb. I think of Moana in her traditional and functional clothing that wasn’t overly showing of her station in life.

I just like things simple. I like things quiet. I like things basic. I think the loudest statement can be something spoken in a whisper – or not spoken at all but written.

While I’m not here to bash you if you’re extra and loud – my best friend is all of those things and I applaud her constantly for her ability to live that way because I admire it – but it’s not me.

You can defy norms in a uniform. You can defy stereotypes in something black and gray. You can grow and learn everyday. Don’t ever accept the status quo. Don’t feel like you have to wear pink because you are a girl or blue because you are a boy. But also, don’t feel like you have to be ashamed of dressing your little girl in bright pink because you genuinely like it. 

Sometimes it’s really great to strip away all the fuss that surrounds you to really see who you are and know what you want. Basic doesn’t have to boring, and an individual can rise and thrive within a uniform.

 

Fighting for Feminism at Home

I want to preface my rant with this disclaimer – because what I have to say may be perceived as one sided. I think that there a lot of men out there who are doing a great job at being upstanding human beings. I know some of these men. They are my family. They are my friends. They have employed me. They have been my employees. Unfortunately they are still in the minority.  Which is why I have to say what I have to say today.

So – if you’re in the mood… read on.

You would think that in this day and time with all the shouting about women’s rights and the incredible advances that have been made within our parents’ and grandparents’ generations and even the women of today – that there aren’t men still holding women hostage under an outdated ideal of what a family is supposed to look like.

You wouldn’t think there are still men just taking out the trash and washing only their clothes while they expect their significant other to take care the children. Completely.

You wouldn’t think that there are still fathers out there acting like perfectly respectable members of society while they are too much of a coward to step up and realize that they’re literally just acting like a babysitter dad when they are at home.  

You wouldn’t think that a man today would place all of his self worth on the amount of money he brings home. I’m sure you’d be surprised to find out there are men who STILL ask their significant other to make career sacrifices so that the children are not neglected while they climb the advancement ladder at work without acknowledging those sacrifices as valid or worthwhile.

You wouldn’t think a Dad who claimed to be better than the rest would up and leave his entire family to go build a new life. In 2018. I know I’d be shocked.

You wouldn’t think a woman could still be afraid to speak her mind or swipe the debit card from her joint account without fear of devastating repercussions from her significant other.

Women get a bad rap. Even other women condone mothers who threaten to hurt the father of their children with outrageous child support claims or taking away visitation rights. I’m not saying women don’t do that. Maybe they do it because they feel powerless? Maybe they do it because they are freaking crazy and shouldn’t have had kids in the first place? BUT I’m telling you there are men out their doing the same damn thing. They’ve been doing it. And they’re still doing it. And it’s never been ok. It will never be ok.

I tell me kids this. I tell my friends this. I’ve told my employees this. You cannot be shocked when someone starts giving back what you gave them.

You try to keep me silent and threaten to take my children away because I don’t have a job and can’t live on my own without you? For years. For years you’ve threatened women with this….and now. Now women start hurling that back at you…you’re surprised? Well – you’re an idiot…and a narcissist of the worst degree.

You’d be surprised to know that there are women still silently suffering. They changed their life for a man who is completely ungrateful and fails to recognize the things they contribute because she can’t deposit them in the bank account.

So don’t say we’re finished. We’re not done fighting for ourselves in the workplace, in everyday social interactions, and we sure as hell are not done at home.

We are not finished, because we are still not seen as equal or fully competent. How so you ask??

– We still have the cops called on us when we are just trying to ask for help from suffering with postpartum depression.

-We’re still afraid our access to affordable birth control will be taken away.

-Our daughters are still being sent home from school because they have to hide their knees and upper thighs and shoulders because they may tempt a man to pounce despite any spoken invitation or consent – not because THEY are afraid this will happen. Their educators are. The adults caring for them at school are. Those people are perpetuating this fear. In a way they are validating this fear.

-We still feel like we need to apologize for crying when we are passionate or emotional about something.

-Men still feel like they need to be ‘careful’ about what they say and do around women. Why? Because they were not taught how to just treat a woman like another human being instead of a fragile sexual object.

We are not finished, because our sons and daughters are being raised by father’s like the ones mentioned above. We are not finished, because we have to prevent our sons and daughters from becoming like the men mentioned above. We are not finished, because we have to stop our sons and daughters from partnering with and raising children with those men.

Being politically active is a fantastic way to fight this fight. Voting for representatives that align with your ideal is an outstanding way to fight this fight. Run for office yourself? Superb. However, I think the biggest battle is within our own homes. On our own streets. In our local grocery store. In any circumstance. For any reason. We have to stand up for ourselves in the everyday. We have to teach our children differently. We have to make a conscious effort to change our way of thinking and the words we use.

We have to rant. We have to rage.