Some Totally Free Homeschooling Resources And A Few Tips

free homeschooling

August is fast approaching and so is the new school year. I was just sitting down to work on our 2017 curriculum (this will be our 9th year of homeschooling!) when someone asked me for any tips and resources. Too many for a tweet, I figured I’d type up a “Quickie” post (sorry, guys, the recipes are for the Monday posts).

Full Curriculums 

We don’t use any of these fully but we use many of the resources, ideas, and guidelines they provide. I love the grade level reading lists!

Ambleside Online – THE online Charlotte Mason absolutely free curriculum. The Facebook group and forum are extremely helpful, too. The site can be really intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it it’s way easier. 

Mater Amabilis – A Catholic version of Charlotte Mason.

An Old Fashioned Education – Name really says it all. Very religious. 

Easy Peasy Homeschool – A fairly generic curriculum but the site has many amazing resources.

The Tanglewood School – This is an archived site and is based on both Charlotte Mason and Classical education.

Books

The Baldwin Project – Really great online format of many many classic books (really helpful in particular for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers). If you’re willing to spend some many you can get hundreds of these books in one go through Yesterday’s Classics

Project Gutenberg – The website is the place to go for all formats of ebooks (PDF, epub, Kindle, etc) of the classics and books in the public domain. I personally use the iOS app (one of the few I spent like $1 on because I loved it so much). 

Librivox – This is an amazing resource! We use it all year round. I love to listen to some classic literature while I clean, too. Kara Shallenberg and Elizabeth Klett are my favorite readers. Unfortunately, some readers can ruin the books so really shop around for someone who is easy on the ears. I highly recommend This Country of Ours for US history. 

Storynory – An older podcast with many great short stories and chapter books that include classic literature. 

Useful Websites & Apps

Teach Your Monster to Read – This site is THE BEST! We absolutely love it in this house. Even my older girls like to go back and play it. I have seen some great improvement in my girls’ reading playing this game. 

Khan Academy – The walkthroughs on this site are very helpful. We use it mostly for Math and it has proved invaluable to my eldest (who struggles) and to me (who has always struggled with math). 

Duolingo – An amazing free language website and app. We prefer the app. It’s not only insanely informative but it’s fun, using a game-like format to help you learn. The adults in our house use it, too. 

Mano Languages – Free through your library (in some areas). It’s not our favorite but has Latin and is still a great resource. 

Useful YouTube Channels 

YouTube is really great in general but I recommend you either have filters or keep a close eye on them while they are on the site. There have been times videos have popped up in recommended that ended up being very crude. 

Crash Course – The Green brothers are notorious for being super liberal (and quite annoying) but their Crash Course (history, literature, and science) series is really well done, I have to say. Maybe best for older kiddos (middle school on up). I only just discovered that Crash Course Kids is a thing so haven’t watched it and can’t comment. 

Easy Languages – I only recently discovered this one. We watch the languages we have been learning and it’s good to seem them in everyday “home” use. 

ASAPScience – This may be our kids’ favorite. They watch it regularly on their own. 

Tips

Homeschooling does not have to be “schooling at home”. It may take a while but you will settle into a rhythm that works for you and it may look nothing like public schooling. This is fine! This is even perfect! You don’t have to try to make your homeschool a public school at home.

Let your kid(s) go at their own pace. There is so much out there trying to tell you if your kids doesn’t do X by 6 or Y by 10 there is cause for concern and although this works for things like general motor skills in education it can be very different. I’ve had some kids who get into reading really early and others who have taken their sweet time. Of course, make sure there isn’t a medical problem or something similar but in general be a lot more forgiving when it comes to learning level. And remember that some countries and some curriculums have children learning to do things a lot later than American public schools. It is not the end of the world if your child isn’t grade level! And it doesn’t mean they will be behind for forever. I had one child that struggled with reading and then in a few months shot up past grade level in 5th grade.

WalMart has the absolute best back to school deals. I highly recommend throwing down $100 or more in August at WalMart and getting supplies for the entire year. Notebooks, pens, paper, pencils, crayons (this is the big steal!), etc. You save money in the long run and don’t have to run to the store multiple times during the year.

You don’t need more than a few minutes per subject. Really. I’ve found that spending an hour on a subject actually hurts their understanding of concepts more. We do anywhere from 10-25 minutes on one subject at a time (depending on age). Concentrated learning. 

You don’t need a Kindergarten or Pre-School curriculum. Let them play! Teach them their ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes very organically through play and songs. There is just no need for a sit-down education at this stage. 


Do share any free resources or homeschooling tips you have! I will be writing up a post on paid homeschooling books and resources soon enough. 

 

Dissidence Through Subservience + Super Simple “Refried” Beans

dissidence

It’s been a while since I read an epic fantasy so a few weeks ago I decided to pick up Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Because of everything else I have happening reading has been slow going but I have enjoyed the book, my snail’s pace notwithstanding. The other day I came to a part that stuck out to me. As far as I know this part in particular is nothing hugely significant to the plot, it simply struck me as, well, pretty damn insightful. 

A bit of background- Kiin is a wealthy man and well respected. He is dining with other wealthy men (some noblemen, in fact). Kiin enjoys cooking and has prepared the large meal he and his guests are about to tuck into. However, the country they are in and this particular group of men in particular are quite traditional and don’t understand why Kiin, a wealthy man, would go to the trouble to cook instead of hiring servants.

“Still, Kiin, it is very odd of you to insist on doing this all yourself. Couldn’t you at least hire an assistant?”
“I enjoy it, Roial. Why would I let someone else steal my pleasure?”
“Besides, my lord,” Lukel added, “it gives the king chest pains every time he hears that a man as wealthy as my father does something as mundane as cook.”
“Quite clever,” Ahan agreed. “Dissidence through subservience.”

“Dissidence through subservience”. Well isn’t that something! Stick a pin in that, I’m coming back to it.  

Saving Us From Ourselves

In late 2014 President Obama offered his remarks on women and the economy. In it he had this to say: 

Sometimes, someone … usually mom … leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make. So let’s make this happen. By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high quality preschool …

Though in context he was clearly not literally saying no woman should opt to stay home the message is still clear, women should be working. They should be developing careers, earning their own money, etc. Housewives are, at best, tolerated but in reality are far from acceptable. 

As Elizabeth Bernstein said in the Washington Post some months later:

But it’s one thing for society to treat stay-at-home moms with a certain disdain; it’s another for the president to get the government to discourage the choice to stay at home by subsidizing the alternative. Note that Obama’s proposed tax credit, which could be used only by families who owe thousands of dollars in federal income tax, is targeted not at the poor or jobless but at middle-class families.

Ms. Bernstein is a proponent of a tax credit for at-home parents. Regardless of where you stand on that particular issue she has a very valid point:

Some people oppose tax credits entirely, which I can understand. But if we’re going to have tax credits, they should be distributed equitably.  

The

 president isn’t just adjusting tax policy; he’s sending a message about which approach to child care deserves respect and support.

Obama was being honest when he said staying home wasn’t a choice he wanted women to make. If he did support women in having this as a viable option he would be pushing for tax credits for at-home parents and presenting homemaking as a valid life choice by extension. When was the last time you heard him or any feminist group say such a thing about women opting out of the workforce? When was the last time you saw them give any time to discussions on making opting out more accessible for women? When was the last time they suggested women having to work was a problem that needed government assistance to eradicate?

giphyThe feminist movement has prided itself in advocating exclusively for working women’s rights, completely ignoring housewives when they aren’t mocking us or using us as an example of the type of life they have narrowly escaped, a life so clearly beneath them. This anti-homemaking hyperbole is important because it serves the cause of women’s liberation. Women are only truly liberated when women are out of the home. Karl Marx once said “… the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry.” Simone de Beauvoir famously said “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”  and Helen Hartmann offered this nugget of wisdom “The crucial elements of patriarchy as we currently experience them are heterosexual marriage, female child rearing and house work, women’s economic dependence on men.” But perhaps the most damning quote I can give you is the one that really started it all which Betty Friedan penned in The Feminine Mystique: “the women who ‘adjust’ as housewives, who grow up wanting to be ‘just a housewife,’ are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps” And thus the stage was set to save us from ourselves. 

What we have been left with are men and women who are determined to make western women’s lives better by helping them to rise above their prescribed station. That sounds good, right? As I’ve said before most things sound good when they are reduced to their base and their base only. But the reality of this mindset is that in order for this crusade for women to take place there must be an enemy and their must be a united front. 

Housewifery is the enemy.

All women are soldiers. 

Housewifery has become, in recent decades, beneath us. So successful has this campaign been that anything related with homemaking has suffered the same “ew, gross!” treatment. Cooking? Cleaning? That’s for the poor, for the immigrants to do for us. That’s for the uneducated, the unintelligent. The sign of status and high social value is not having to do these things yourself. We outsource as much as we can and celebrate our own ineptitude when it comes to these things. “I don’t cook” modern women declare proudly, their faces contorted in disgust at the idea of being reduced to domestic activities. We have all been denied any form of education in the domestic arts because of their fall from grace. Domesticity is antiquated, unimportant. Out with HomeEc., in with Women’s Studies and STEM.

Housewives are routinely shown in media to be trapped, miserable, and in need of saving. Even when they are stuck-up and judgmental (which they often are) they are shown to cry into their glasses of wine often and hide their misery with contempt for others and about 10lbs of makeup and jewelry. 

giphy-1

So what happens when women opt out of this message? What happens when they decide housewifery is a valid pursuit, that their careers can wait or are, worse yet, unnecessary? 

A Life That’s Beneath Us

Whether you realize it or not opting to stay home, opting to marry, opting to live a simpler life are all dissident acts. Why? Because we are rejecting the prevalent message that these things are beneath us, that they are wrong, that they are a waste of our potential. And I get it “subservient” is a nasty word with even worse connotations. The campaign against the homemaker and the traditional wife has worked its way into our psyches to such a degree that words like “submissive”, “housewife”, and even “domestic”. We say things like “I’m the CEO of my home” or “I yield to my husband” dare we not show that we are what we have been raised to hate. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.29.19 PM

But are we really subservient if we engage in a traditional marriage? Yes and no. No in that we are not less important nor are we treated as such (a myth turned into feminist gospel truth); yes in that we obey, serve, and understand that the things that make someone “strong” “independent” and “good” in today’s view is not something we see much value in, is something our husbands achieve first and foremost. Money? Career? In some cases higher education? We don’t need them. It’s that simple. 

And there it is, right there “we don’t need them”. Perhaps the greatest act of dissidence women can take part in today is to say a loud and firm NO to our would-be saviors. To accept these roles without apology or explanation. No more euphemisms, no more arguing semantics. 

“But aren’t you just subservient to your husband?”

“Yup!” 

“And… you’re okay with that?!”

“Oh yes.”

Because, loves, we aren’t suppose to own it. We’re suppose to be ashamed of it. We’re suppose to make excuses for it. We’re suppose to ask their forgiveness for it by making it more comfortable for them to accept in us. And what happens when we don’t? 

“it gives the king chest pains every time he hears that a man as wealthy as my father does something as mundane as cook.”

These poor men and women succumb to the vapors when we dare flout their narrative. Don’t rob yourself of that opportunity by not embracing your lower societal standing. Wear it as a badge of honor, wield it as a weapon; because it’s exactly both those things.


Speaking of lowly things (hardy har har), beans are amazing simple little things, aren’t they? They get a bad rap but really they can be delicious and nutritious. 

This is a family go-to and has been for quite some time. We make burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, vegetarian flautas, stuffed bell peppers, and more using this basic recipe. It freezes amazing and is easily adjusted and customized. It took me years to find a really good restaurant quality refried bean recipe. I didn’t expect it to be this simple at all but here it is. 

"Refried" Beans
Serves 15
Super simple restaurant quality refried beans (without the refry).
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 hr
215 calories
33 g
0 g
4 g
11 g
1 g
75 g
951 g
1 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
75g
Servings
15
Amount Per Serving
Calories 215
Calories from Fat 38
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
7%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 951mg
40%
Total Carbohydrates 33g
11%
Dietary Fiber 8g
32%
Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
6%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. Water
  2. 4 cups dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed (if presoaking cut cooking time in half)
  3. 2 Tbs garlic powder
  4. 2 Tbs sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup corn oil, lard, or other fat (optional)
Stove Top
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot add the rinsed and sorted 4 cups of dried pintos and fill with water to an inch or two above the beans.
  2. Bring to boil and reduce to medium (you want it just above a simmer) and cooked covered for 3 hours, checking regularly to maintain water level.
  3. After 3 hours make sure the water is 1/2 an inch above beans and add the garlic powder, salt, and optional oil/lard. Let cook another hour.
  4. At this point you can serve the beans whole or mash them. My personal favorite is to leave them a bit on the runny side and puree with an immersion blender, then return them to the heat and let them simmer of 10-20 minutes or so.
InstantPot
  1. Add water and beans to instant pot (again covering beans to a few inches above with water).
  2. Close and cook on manual for 50 minutes. You can quick release or allow the pressure to come down a bit first. The quick release will make a mess of your InstantPot and counter but is worth it if you're short on time.
  3. When finished add the garlic powder, salt, and oil/lard and mash or blend.
  4. As with the stovetop you can leave excess water in them and simmer in the IP on low for 10-20 minutes until the beans thicken a bit. DO THIS COVERED! Or else you'll have an even bigger bean mess.
Crockpot
  1. Add beans and water to your crockpot and set on high for about 8 hours.
  2. Check water amount and add garlic powder, salt, and oil/lard.
  3. Cover and let cook for another hour or two.
  4. Mash, blend, or serve whole.
Notes
  1. This recipe is really intuitive. I've found that measuring the water doesn't actually help because depending on the batch of beans, heat, and pot/cooking method what was the perfect amount before proves to be too little or too much. I've found that simply keeping an eye on the water is key.
  2. Over time you will know just how much water your family prefers. Some like their beans thicker and some runnier.
  3. As the beans sit, especially in the fridge, they will thicken! Even the runniest beans will take on a different consistency the next day.
Adapted from the internet
beta
calories
215
fat
4g
protein
11g
carbs
33g
more
Adapted from the internet
Mrs. Uppity http://www.mrsuppity.com/

 

BlackLivesMatter and Feminism Have the Same Problem + The Blueberry Crumble Bars We Devoured Last Week

blm feminism

As most of us are well aware, both BlackLivesMatter (BLM) and feminism are movements that seek to highlight specific injustices (real or perceived) and agitate for the social change needed to eradicate said injustices. Which sounds all well and good, of course. What doesn’t when it’s oversimplified? I’ll even go as far as to say that they both have excellent points from time to time about their respective pet issues. Now let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that all BLM members and all feminists are pure in their intentions, that not one of them has malicious intent and that they are all really seeking to make the world a better place. Let’s take that further and say that they are more right than wrong in their assertions about their perceived injustices. Even with all of that given them, there is still something inherently wrong with both groups that inevitably cause more harm than good. 

The problem with both BLM and feminism is they have taken on a universal issue and chosen to solely focus on its impact on one group based on the premise that there exists another group, a “privileged” group, that has already been granted the peek freedom that all other groups have yet to reach. For feminism, this group is men, for BLM this group is whites in general and white men in particular. In other words, to BLM and feminism, there is a group on the mountain top lounging about while the rest of us are struggling to make it to the summit. The problem is the premise itself leads to the belief that the “privileged” group is just that, ipso facto privileged and therefore in no need of any form of consideration. 

In feminism it’s campaigns like #BanBossy, meant to encourage girls to take leadership roles, while boys are left in the dust in education. It’s talking about women’s reproductive rights ad nauseum while men are left without them, beholden to a woman’s right to choose including putting up their baby for adoption without his knowledge. It’s the hyper focus on female victims of domestic violence via social campaigns geared towards female victims and the countless women-only shelters when men suffer just as much if not more:

According to the CDC’s statistics — estimates based on more than 18,000  telephone-survey responses in the United States — roughly 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate partner physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared with 4,741,000 women. By the study’s definition, physical violence includes slapping, pushing, and shoving. 

More severe threats like being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object, or hit with a fist were also tracked. Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.

“Reports are also showing a decline of the number of women and an increase in the number of men reporting” abuse, says counselor and psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Ivankovich says there isn’t much buzz about these numbers or their implications, because we don’t know how to handle intimate partner violence against men. “Society supports that men should not hit women, by virtue — but the same is not true for the reverse,” she explains. “The fact is, it’s simply not acceptable to hit anyone.”

(From: The Number of Male Domestic Abuse Victims Is Shockingly High — So Why Don’t We Hear About Them? Emphasis mine)

Education, domestic violence, rape, parental rights… none of these issues plague only women yet feminism would have us believe that they do (or, at least, that they are a far greater problem for women that men don’t even warrant consideration). In all of these areas they have successfully erased men from any role other than persecutor leaving men tangled in both social and legal webs constructed to help society by helping women first and foremost. And because they are men their complaints, their pleas, go unheard. “Men don’t need our help, they’re men!” Thus the narrative serves itself.

Likewise, instead of tackling the universal issue that is police brutality BLM has chosen to focus on it only where it affects black men and women. One can agree that this is a problem in our society without needing to make it about one race over another but BLM would have us believe that that is a cardinal sin, something to be met with outright hostility (see: the response to #AllLivesMatter). 

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 10.27.33 PM

This flawed cartoon is a great example of what I’m talking about here. AllHousesMatter is being said because all the houses are on fire, not just the one. Yet we refuse to so much as acknowledge that more than the one house is burning (because it was a less fiery fire or maybe the house you were trying to save had had a long history of neglect or whatever other reason you dig deep to find to justify the erasure of another person’s home) which inevitably leads to not only the loss of the house but overlooking the fire as a whole thus allowing the fire to rage on. 

But hey, at least that one house you spent all your time and energy on was saved, right?

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 11.18.36 PM

In 2015 more white men were killed than black men by police (494 vs 258). But this is not the statistic that the media focuses on. Instead, they have “corrected” the numbers to reflect something jarring and unconscionable- percentage-wise more black men are killed because percentage-wise there are less black men in the country than white men. Voila! Evidence supporting the erasure of white victims! Cue outrage!

Unarmed white men who have been killed by cops have been largely ignored by the media because the public is more interested in the police related deaths of minorities.   

A year ago Zachary Hammond, 19, was killed by police. He was unarmed and in his car.

Amid heightened scrutiny of fatal police shootings across the country, Hammond’s death has prompted numerous questions, few answers — and almost no national outrage. 

More than a week after Hammond’s death, his family’s attorney says race is almost certainly playing a role in the disconcerting silence. Unlike the victims in the highest-profile police shootings over the past year — in cities from Ferguson and Cleveland to North Charleston and Cincinnati — Hammond was white.

“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” Bland told The Washington Post this week. “The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”

In January of this year Daniel Shaver “cried, complied with police orders and begged for his life before the fatal firing, according to a newly released police report.”

Dylan Noble was killed just last month.

The video shows Dylan Noble lying on the ground on June 25 as two officers with their guns drawn stand feet away from him. As officers yell “Keep your hands up” and other commands, one shot is fired. Seconds later, a third officer approaches the pair, and another shot rings out. At one point during the video, Noble can be seen raising his arm and saying, “I’ve been shot.”

This is the real life cost of the exclusionary language of BlackLivesMatter. This is what it looks like to tell one group of people to sit down, to be allies and allies only, that “it’s our turn now”. This is what it looks like to elevate certain lives over others. 

The only way to truly tackle universal issues is to address them universally. Rocket science this is not. We cannot wear blinders. We cannot succumb to tunnel vision for the sole purpose of building and maintaining a narrative. If we do, things will never ever change. No, I’m wrong there. They will change, but only in that the abuse will be shifted onto the next group where it will flourish until the next scapegoat comes into view.


A week or so ago we all cuddled up on the couch for movie night and I served this experimental dessert to the family. 

IT WAS TO DIE FOR! Not too sweet but sweet enough to hit the spot. The next day my eldest grabbed the last of the bars for a quick unhealthy (but hey, she has youth on her side) breakfast on the way to camp. Unlike women this beauty gets better with age. I highly recommend making it the night before and letting it sit on the counter. 

(See a bigger version of the pic I snapped as my eldest was running out the door here)

Blueberry Crumble Bars
Serves 15
A not-too-sweet berry treat.
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Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
279 calories
40 g
45 g
13 g
3 g
8 g
96 g
49 g
24 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
96g
Servings
15
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279
Calories from Fat 113
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
20%
Saturated Fat 8g
40%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 45mg
15%
Sodium 49mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 40g
13%
Dietary Fiber 2g
6%
Sugars 24g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
3%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the crust
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup rolled pats
  3. 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 cup butter, margarine, or shortening; softened
  8. 1 egg
  9. cinnamon to taste (I use a ton)
For the filling
  1. 4 cups blueberries (I used frozen, thawed under running water)
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1 Tbs cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13in pan.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients. Add the egg and butter (margarine or shortening) and mix well with a fork or pastry cutter. You want the crust to be crumbly but able to hold together when pressed.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch. Don't overthink it, just stir it around a bit until the blueberries are more or less coated.
  4. Take half your yummy cinnamon-y crumbly dough and press it into the prepared dish. Make sure it's even and sticking together well.
  5. Dump your blueberry mixture on top of the crust, spreading evenly.
  6. Now crumble the remaining dough over the blueberries.
  7. Stick it in the oven for 40-45 minutes. I began checking at around 30 minutes just to be sure. You want it to be slightly brown and.
  8. Allow to cool before serving.
Notes
  1. This tastes UH-MAZE-ING the next morning!
  2. I know butter is by far the best but if you have dairy allergies in your home like we do I highly recommend either Earth Balance or Crisco Butter Flavor.
Adapted from AllRecipes
beta
calories
279
fat
13g
protein
3g
carbs
40g
more
Adapted from AllRecipes
Mrs. Uppity http://www.mrsuppity.com/

What I’m Telling My 5 Daughters About Hillary’s Historic Primary Win

clinton

Ladies, history was made. There is no denying that. That’s why I pulled you all out of your rooms before the California polls closed to sit in front of the TV and watch what your children will likely read about in their social studies textbooks. That’s why your dad and I made a point to explain what was going on and why the media was calling it “historic” and talking big talk about women’s rights.

But, little ones, there is much more to it than that!

You’re being told Hillary has paved the way for you. She hasn’t.

You’re being led to believe she has overcome oppression based on her sex to get to this point. She hasn’t.

You’re being informed that you should be inspired by her but that’s up to you.

Before you let those around you dictate how you should or shouldn’t feel (or, more importantly, what you should or shouldn’t think) about this moment in history I want you to really think about it.

Did Hillary have to fight sexist laws that prevented her from running for president? Absolutely not. And neither would her mother have had to or her grandmother, for that matter.

maxresdefault

Because regardless of what the media and feminists would have you believe women have had the opportunity to run for public office, including the presidency, in the US for well over 100 years. Before we women were given the right to vote women were entering elections. In 1872 the first female Presidental candidate, Victoria Woodhull, made her name known. She would run again 20 years later. The second female presidential nominee, Belva Lockwood, was a lawyer (like Hillary) who ran for president in both 1884 and 1888. And the list goes on. In 1984, a year before your Dad and I were born, Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman nominated by a major party for the office of vice president.

Hillary is standing on the shoulders of giants, both male and female.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 5.42.33 PM

Make no mistake, loves, Hillary has done nothing for you by winning. She has not made it any more or any less possible for you to run for office and be a major party’s official nominee than the women who ran over a century ago.

Were things bad for women in the past? Yes. Women didn’t have the same freedoms we do now. But, loves, neither did men. In fact, while women were fighting for the right to vote so were black men and lower class men. It’s not just women who have been blessed with progress, men have, too; just like today, it’s not just women who meet with oppression and bigotry.

Equal-outcome-obsessed feminism will never back away from the narrative that as long as women aren’t winning elections they are oppressed, that misogyny runs rampant as long as the same amount (or preferably more) women aren’t in positions of power in society. They use this “inequality” lie to push special treatment of women meant to give us a “leg up” because men are supposedly the favored sex. What that means for us is that we are not judged by our success, by our intelligence, by our ability; we are judged by our anatomy. Please, loves, don’t ever fall prey to the idea that because we have vaginas we “deserve” success. No amount of oppression throughout history can make this true. It’s not about what you think you deserve, it’s about what you earn. Not only should you live your life based on this principle but it is also the only principle by which you should judge other people’s capability.

So, yes, history was made because it was a first. And that is something. It’s just not a defining moment for all of womankind. We’ve had this opportunity for a very long time. We have not been robbed, we have not been held back, we’ve simply failed to rise to the occasion.

 

 

Femininity In Fashion: Relax, It’s An Umbrella!

I have noticed there is a definite idea (perhaps even a stereotype) of what feminine appearance is. In a lot of cases, it even seems quite juvenile, as if “feminity” is equated with a child-like innocence. I don’t necessarily disagree with that as femininity is about being gentler, softer, lighter; but is this the only way to express one’s femininity physically?

This is what I get when I google “feminine style”:

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Pastels and light colors.

Flowing, light fabric.

Dresses and skirts, mostly.

Pinks.

Though I think the feminine stereotype in fashion exists for a reason I want to push against it a bit, mostly because this is not how I feminine. I’ve been thinking about the “rules” around femininity in dress and trying to narrow down the basic guidelines for what makes a woman more feminine than masculine in her appearance.

Cut– attire that accentuates her curves because curves are decidedly female.

Fabric– it can do the same as cut, accentuating the points of her womanhood (think a woman’s blouse vs. a man’s flannel working shirt). And don’t forget about lace, eyelets, metallics, etc.

Color– I don’t think color matters as much. A woman can look feminine in an array of colors. Color is more based on mood and personality. For “flirty” go with brighter colors, for “classic” go with more muted tones, etc.

Print– I am a sucker for a good floral. Really anything “delicate” works. Thin lines (if you are going geometric), floral prints, polka dots, etc.

Some Examples of Different Ways to Femininefem fashion 1 smallerfem fash 2

(I’m sure there are even more ways and if you have any ideas and examples, please comment!)

All of the women above are feminine. All of them come with a certain sex appeal that works for them. Not one of them could be mistaken for male or sloppy. Yet all of them have a different way of expressing feminity. Pastel pink ruffled dresses are all well and good but they aren’t the only way. As Angelina Jolie shows women can wear pants and a dress shirt and still be all woman. Jennifer Lawrence rocks a very simple cut with a bright color and still manages to show off her curves. Sandra Bullock pulls off a serious blue and equally serious cut but remains soft.

The truth is the only way to fail at being feminine is not to show up for it. Accept your womanhood and put some effort into your appearance. Those two simple things will bring out your innate femininity more than a set uniform.

I’d love to know how you all feminine. What is your own style like? Who are your fashion inspirations? Do you consider yourself very into fashion, not into it at all, or somewhere in between? 

Brock Turner and Rape Culture Hysteria’s Double Standard

brock

If you are unfamiliar with the story of the Standford Attacker please read up on it here. A bit about the men who caught Brock can be found here and his victim’s letter is here. I will continue assuming you are aware of the case. 

Brock Turner is a rapist. There is no doubt that he assaulted his victim and that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He is a criminal. Heck, he may even deserve worse than he got.

But…

Brock Turner is not proof of rape culture.

Let’s pretend that all rapes are committed by men against women (in other words, let’s go with the common rhetoric of the media and the left). Even if that is the case there are a few very important things that need to be noted here:

What Brock Turner did is considered out of the norm. So much so that when two men (MEN!) saw him assaulting this poor girl they approached him. When he ran, they chased after him and tackled him. And when one of them gave police his account he cried because he found the whole thing so disturbing. Brock Turner is not all men. In fact, he isn’t even most men.

He was found guilty. The case wasn’t shrugged off because she was drunk or dressed immodestly or whatever else. Brock was found guilty and is being sent to prison. The outrage is over his reduced sentence and I hear you there! But let’s look at this honestly, the judge gave him a light sentence because he felt he was unlikely to be of harm to others later down the road. Not because “rape is no big deal” but because 1) Brock himself was drunk (more on that in a sec) and 2) Brock is an upper class young white male athlete and college student and statistically not likely to be a career criminal (unless you count white collar crimes, but I digress).

To be clear I don’t think #2 is exactly fair. But, let’s be honest, it’s not outlandish. The judge is right in his reasoning, I’m just not sure he’s right to reason that way to begin with. To be sure, 6 months doesn’t seem like enough but 14 years seems excessive for a drunk 19-year-old guy who may or may not be a repeat offender. I suppose the question then becomes, is Brock worth the benefit of the doubt? The judge thinks yes based on his life thus far, his economic status, his place in the community, etc. Others think no because he raped someone. Who is right?

And he was drunk, let’s not forget. It’s important to remember that there are degrees of inebriation. His victim was blackout drunk. She was completely unable to offer consent (or speak, or stand, or open her eyes). If she was still conscious when Brock started on her, which I have seen some suggest, she still more likely than not was unable to consent based on how quickly she passed out. In her letter, she recounts the message she left to her boyfriend that was so slurred he couldn’t understand a word she was saying. People that far gone are incapable of consenting. But though Brock was also drunk he clearly was still in charge of his faculties. Not only was he able to undress and move his victim, when he was approached by the two men and questioned about his actions he ran. What does this tell us? That he knew what he was doing was wrong. I do believe Brock had lost a bit of his inhibition but that’s not the same as losing your ability to reason or control yourself.

However, the rape double standard still prevails. Women as drunk as Brock was when he assaulted his victim are considered victims, themselves. The fact that the validity of their claims is questioned feeds the “rape culture” narrative. The truth is we can’t have it both ways. Either these women are too drunk to consent or they aren’t. Either Brock was too drunk to knowingly rape someone or he wasn’t. If we were to follow the feminist line of thinking Brock is innocent.

Consistency demands that I fall on the side of Brock as rapist and moderately drunk women as alarmist. If you disagree with one but not the other you are likely falling victim of blind allegiance to ideology and not thinking critically. If Brock still isn’t innocent because he was moderately drunk then many women crying rape are full of it (be that shit or remorse or both). If these women are, in fact, victims then Brock is not only innocent but may be a victim himself. So which is it?

Lynch Mobs Aren’t Justice

No doubt his victim’s life will never be the same. No doubt she will struggle with this for a very long time if not till the end of her days. And no doubt Brock deserves punishment and rehabilitation. But we want more, don’t we? We want our pound of flesh.

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Have you seen this floating around social media? Perhaps accompanied by calls for castration or even death? I have to ask, to what end? What will destroying this guy’s life and pissing on his grave really do? Will it take back everything that happened? Will it prevent rape? Will it be justice?

Acknowledging a Cautionary Tale is Not Victim Blaming

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Yes! Absolutely! But show it to your daughters, too.

Rapists are going to rape. Sick men will forever exist who assault women. Always. Forever. Nothing will ever change this. Sorry. It totally sucks. So what do we tell our daughters? We tell them to be smart. We tell them to be on guard. We tell them though they have every right to put themselves in danger expecting to be safe from harm isn’t prudent and it’s not revolutionary.

“Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked.”

And the victim is absolutely right here. Alcohol is not an excuse to rape someone. It doesn’t negate illegal action. It doesn’t somehow condone assault. But it is a factor and ignoring that does a great disservice to our daughters and to our sons (who can face both sexual assault of their own and false rape allegations that seek to destroy their lives). More to the point, we can’t acknowledge alcohol being a factor only when it comes to women.

Everyone needs to remain safe. 

Do. Not. Get. Shit-faced. In. Public.

Keep your wits about you.

Trust no one.

Be on guard.

And also maybe don’t assault unconscious people behind dumpsters.

The Bad Good Wife (One)

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Things will not be good all of the time. You will not be good all of the time.

Two simple truths that still manage to catch me off guard.

The problem with a good marriage made on a solid foundation is that it becomes easily neglectable when times get tough. As in when death strikes all too close to home, when illness hits, when life pulls the rug out from under you in one way or another. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and when your marriage is well oiled it takes a bit before it starts singing. Which is good on the one hand but bad when these tough times last long enough to stretch you thin.

I know this and yet I didn’t prepare, I wasn’t vigilant. Because it happens, you know? Balls get dropped.

This is me slapping myself a few times and standing back up.

I don’t know what made me realize I had reverted to a lot of my old ways or that life at home had turned into a bumpy road (the kids) filled with going through the motions (the marriage) but it suddenly came to me with the type of clarity that feels both freeing and like a house just got dropped on you.

“Shit. Not this again.”

Oh yes, this again.

The dishes have both literally and figuratively started piling up in my life and I am left to wash them and put them away; a task I don’t love doing. It’s well worth it, though. I know this because this is neither the first time I’ve had to nor will it be the last.

I’m starting simple, from the beginning. The things that I would tell any newb I’m telling myself- Be aware. Stop talking, start listening. Be available. Smile more. Have a routine. Value order. Say yes. Be a soft place to land. Take care of yourself.

Either I remain in control of myself or my base self takes over. All the bad habits, all the comfortable lies I’ve been told, all the conditioning comes bubbling back up to the surface. Like an alcoholic we are never free of our addiction to laziness and self-importance. Like a food addict we are surrounded by our addiction all day every day, supported by a society that tells women these are virtues that we “deserve” to indulge in. Knowing that if I don’t get the dishes done before bed I will be set back time and energy in the morning doesn’t change how comfortable and enticing my bed is. This is just as true for the comfortable and enticing ego-stroking offered us every single day at every single turn by a society whose focus is the self-gratification. But I have to remember there are consequences to my actions (and inactions). I have to remember that Sirens sing beautifully and misery loves company.

This morning I got my kids up and dressed early, I made my bed, I ate something healthy, and my husband gave me a project to be done by the end of the day.

Routine. Order. Progress.

xoxo

The Definitive Answer to Why Your Man Acts Like a Child

You treat him like one.

The End

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I clicked on the comments under this gem when it appeared on my Facebook timeline. “So true.” “It’s funny because it’s true.” “I’m sharing this with all the women I know.” 

This is not just some funny joke, ladies, this is very much what we now expect of men. We demand that they be ‘men’; we want the romance and the strength and to be provided for but what we expect is for them to act like children. We laugh at the many representations of the bumbling idiot husband on our favorite shows and the commercials that accompany them. We roll our eyes and complain about all the ways our men have done some simple thing wrong with our girlfriends; sometimes not even bothering to wait until he is out of earshot. We belittle men at every turn and yet we’re surprised when they don’t fulfill our outlandish demands. “Man up!” is the constant refrain of the 21st century woman but the message we send is a clear contradiction, one that is not easy to shake- “you’re a child in my eyes and always will be.” Men today are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Why would they even want to try?

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Mrs. Shrew: “I ask him to do the dishes but he won’t so I have to do them myself.”

Mrs. Uppity: “I see. Has he ever done the dishes?”

Mrs. Shrew: “Yes but when he did he didn’t put them away right and he left water on some of them.”

Mrs. Uppity: “So he has done the dishes but when he did you were sure to correct all of his mistakes?”

Mrs. Shrew: “I was so frustrated! I asked him if he had ever been taught to wash dishes. I mean, has he ever even seen how everything goes in the cupboard?!”

Mrs. Uppity: “So after he did the dishes you more or less belittled him for the action.”

Mrs. Shrew: “Well…”

Mrs. Uppity: “But you expect him to still want to do them? You expect him to still want to pitch in when he knows that whatever he does won’t be good enough?”

Mrs. Shrew: “He just needs to try harder.”

Mrs. Uppity: “Try harder to what? Help out or be you? Let me ask you this, is it the end of the world if he puts them away differently or doesn’t dry every drop of water? Are the dishes any less done, then? Any less clean?”

In this imaginary conversation I am both Mrs. Shrew (my past self) and Mrs. Uppity (my present self). Because, ladies, I have been there (and this was me being nice). I have nitpicked him until he was afraid to move and then was full of what I believed to be a righteous rage because the man wouldn’t move!

If you expect a man to be a man and treat him accordingly he will rise to the challenge.

If you expect a man to be a child and treat him accordingly he will rise to the challenge.

(and guess what, women are no different)

“But what about the men out there who…”

Let me stop you right there, past self. What about them? There are always going to be lazy self-involved jerks. The problem isn’t that they exist the problem is that we think they are men’s default setting. If you are one of the women partnered with such a man I do feel for you but it’s important to understand that the likelihood your man is this man (the type that doesn’t want to carry his own weight at all, that acts like a child no matter what anyone does, that has no interest in adulting) is small. In other words, assume the best not the worse and then act accordingly.

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If you were asked to help or simply just to be present with someone who showed you little to no respect how obliged would you be? Would you jump to help out someone who always made you the butt of their jokes? Would you want to be around a friend who constantly belittled every last thing you did?

Respect is integral to a marriage. There are many ways to be respectful, of course, but a big one is not mocking and nagging your husband to death. Trust him to do his thing. Trust that he will take out the trash when you ask, that he can handle the kids without you, that he will do his job and do it well. And when you are in bed at night or when you are on the phone with a friend don’t resort to cheap jokes at his expense, don’t nitpick every action he took or didn’t take. Just love him. And it also wouldn’t hurt to thank him and praise him for all the things he does for you and yours.

 

Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Had Stretch Marks and Loose Skin Like Me?

“Beautiful!’

“Stunning!”

“Brings a whole new meaning to phenomenal!”

“You’re gorgeous, mama!”

“Flaunt that mombod!”

Is there anything more condescending than a complete stranger telling you how to feel about your body? Why yes, yes there is- a complete stranger employing the gratuitous use of words like flawless and stunning to tell you how to feel about your body.

(click for article)

screen-shot-2015-10-15-at-6-26-44-am I’m not harshing on mombods. In fact, mine closely resembles the one above (sans bellybutton andcurrentlymaybealittlebigger). But I have a few issues with the mombod love as presented here:

1. You don’t get to tell me how to feel about my body. Or what to do with it.

“This mombod should always be on display.” 

No. Uh-uh. Stop.

“You’re stunning, mama!”

I mean, okay thanks or whatever but I don’t have to feel that way about myself.

“Love your stretch marks!”

How is this not like telling a random woman on the street to smile? Last I checked that was counted as a microaggression.

Not only that, all of this is incredibly condescending. There is encouraging women to own their own bodies, their own style, their own kind of beauty and then there is force-feeding women nauseating platitudes straight out of Empowerment Inc. Do you think I’m too stupid to form my own opinion about my body? Because you really sound like you’re talking to a depressed toddler, not a grown woman.

2. You don’t get to tell anyone (men included) how to feel about certain bodies.

“Mombods should be celebrated.”

Why? Why do women need this? I’d say moms need an acceptance of the validity of motherhood as a whole not a “celebration” of stretch marks and saggy bellybuttons. Is it really empowering to demand a constant stream of praise and celebration from others? People have preferences. Not finding mombods attractive or ideal is not a character flaw it’s simply not finding mombods attractive. How will guilting these people into celebrating us help us, really?

Look, mombods aren’t ideal. They’re never going to be ideal. Little girls don’t fantasize about sporting stretch marks and diastasis recti. We have the narrow beauty standards we do for a reason. They have stood the test of time, fluctuating only slightly (regardless of how many memes you have seen listing Marilyn Monroe as a size 14 this is a general fact). There was never a glorious time when loose skin and stretch marks were touted as the epitome of beauty. If anything they have been tolerated.

I think there is a mistake in focusing on only one type of beauty (and no, I’m not referencing inner beauty here). Ideal beauty is not all there is to be had. People have complex beauty and complex ideas about beauty. Societal ideals notwithstanding, beauty is more of a continuum than a set point. A woman can be “f**king hot” and another woman can be “cute” and both can still fall under the beauty umbrella. So though we shouldn’t be demanding the celebration of the mombod it’s fair to reassure women that mombods are not the end of their beauty. The good news about this is that that means we’d never have to use the word flawless again. Hooray!

My husband insists I am beautiful to him. I’ve had a number of children including a set of twins and my weight has fluctuated over time. Never has he said “Your stretch marks/loose skin/cellulite is so hot. I’m so turned on by them right now.” Never has he patted me on the head with words like stunning and phenomenal directed at these flaws. They are tolerated by him. Accepted. They neither add to my beauty in his eyes nor do they take away from it. But they do add to our intimacy. Once when I was lamenting the fact that my skin betrayed me when other women’s skin treats them right by not getting all gross and stripy he pointed at my belly and said “I did that.” “Well no,” I countered “my stupid genetics…” “No.” he said firmly “I. Did. That.” It wasn’t a confession or an apology, it was a statement of fact to him that he showed obvious pride in. For him beauty is irrelevant when it comes to my mombod; it’s about possession, about our union. He did that. Like a beat-up old truck or a well-worn pair of jeans that fit him like a glove I am his, I have served him well, and I am well loved.

Women don’t need to be hit over the head with grandiose platitudes. No one needs to be forced to celebrate something they don’t deem worth the celebration. We don’t need hashtags to validate our less than perfect existence on a less than perfect planet. What we all need is simply to matter- to ourselves and to those who matter most to us. And I love you Internet, I really do, but that’s just not you.