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Hiding Behind the Curtain

Hiding Behind the Curtain

I want to start a movement. I think it’s time we throw away our social networks and get real. Forget you, Facebook. I want to get on a site called RealBook – a place where we gather and tell each other how it’s really going. Not “vague-booking,” no perfect pictures showing off our fabulously cooked meals. No. I want to see your houses after a two year old has ripped through the living room in nothing but a diaper, wielding a broom that has knocked over all of your folded clean laundry. That’s right. Let’s stop hiding behind the Internet curtains and get real, people. Let’s pin a great margarita recipe on Pinterest and go right ahead and make it. I say this kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it just dawned on me that it’s really easy to hide behind ourselves out there on the Internet. It’s effortless to pick and choose how the world sees us. For me, people often ask me how I manage to work at home with two kids merely 18 months apart while writing articles all day, cooking that really awesome slow cooker chicken and biscuits I posted on Facebook 10 minutes ago. The reality is this: that’s just a picture of a dinner comprised of 4 ingredients. I threw it in my slow cooker, which took all of 5 minutes, all while my 8 month old daughter was scaling the sofa and my 2 year old son was throwing everything that was on my kitchen table onto the floor. Let’s not talk about the one paragraph I had been trying to write for two hours because every 10 minutes someone needed a diaper change. What you don’t see in that picture is the living room, also known as Disaster Central, where toys are scattered on the floor like land mines, the ten changes of clothes that were needed by my daughter, no thanks to several of her diaper blow outs, and about 20 dust bunnies, thanks to having two very large cats. You don’t see me, the person taking the picture, wearing last night’s pajamas, crying because I didn’t get enough sleep last night. You don’t hear the cacophonous screams of the 2-year-old chasing the cat into the other room, or the 8-month-old emitting her high pitched noise because she managed to stand herself up but can’t move another inch. Nope. All you see...

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Why Can’t We Play Nice?

Why Can’t We Play Nice?

You know what I absolutely, 100% have to avoid to keep my sanity? Internet comments. It never ceases to amaze me that one minute I can be reading a really well-thought out article on something scientific or heartfelt and it completely gets ruined by Internet trolls. What makes it worse is these trolls then start picking fights with each other, then the name calling starts, people start unleashing their fury via caps lock, and before you know it, a perfectly good piece has been ruddied by the Internet haters. Guys, what is up with this? This is not a far cry from bullying. And truth be told, what sort of example are we setting by spending inordinate amounts of time fighting with a person who goes by the screen moniker justinlovr897 because they didn’t agree with the fact that we prefer the color purple over the number 9? I know those two things are completely incongruous, but that is exactly what happens on the Internet. People start fighting over stuff that is completely unrelated. Instead of learning from the Internet, we’ve begun feeding the vicious, angry troll that lies within. And do you know something? The kids are watching. Very much in the same way that our children model our behavior at home, our Internet habits are just as influential. If anything, they are more susceptible out there in the ether because there are no physical walls in which to hide. There isn’t a safe place. We are creating a pretty scary world, and it’s not doing anyone any good. The Internet has been set up as a stage for us to engage in discourse, except that kids have jumped on social media to start picking at each other through the veil that is Facebook or Twitter. We have jumped on news articles to yell at each other because we don’t agree with a political candidate or someone’s sexual orientation. We’re not nice, and we’re passing that onto the next generation. Folks, why can’t we play nice? The same goes for us, oh moms of the Internet, and you’ve read about the topics ad nauseam. Your vaginal birth wasn’t real enough. Your c-section birth was too fake. That bottle you’re feeding your baby is full of poison. Your breast feeding is disgusting. How could you even consider a disposable diaper when the landfills are at maximum capacity? Why did...

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The Lost Art of Letter Writing

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

The Internet is full of letters that never get sent directly to the recipient for whom they were intended. I’ve come across this a lot as someone who spends way too much of my time surfing the bytes and pieces of it all, and the peculiar thing about these letters is that, while the audience is wide and the message is clear, I’m often dumbfounded by the publicly published notes. What has happened to the art of letter writing? And I do mean the ones that are created with a pen and paper. I saw the trend start with mommy bloggers. Many of them would pen (or is that key?) letters to their children and publish missives on their respective pages. These perfectly crafted notes were personal, full of wonderful sentiments and sweet pictures of their little ones. As beautiful as they were to read, these awfully personal notes were published for the entire world wide web to view. My very personal opinion on this matter is these sorts of letters should have been typed or written and put in a box so that they could be read by their children at a later date. Then it got me thinking, whatever happened to the lost art of letter writing? The irony is not lost on me, that here I am, Chief Technology Mom, purveyor of all things positively technological, a self-proclaimed gadget junky who makes a living on the Internet and yes, uses tech with my kids, and yet I am opining on this whole Internet-letter business. I’m a bit technical, but I am also a fan of the classics. It kind of goes back to the idea of over-sharing. We are constantly toeing the line over what we distribute in the ether, be it too personal or just personal enough, and we’re seeing our human interaction dwindle, as it is replaced by one on the computer screen. Do these moms write letters to their children publicly because they truly feel it is something their audiences are meant to read? I am not here to judge. I am infinitely curious. I wrote a letter to my son before he was born, and I published it as a note on Facebook. It had received a lot of comments, all positive, and then I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be better for his baby book? A special note from me just...

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My Disinterest in Pinterest

My Disinterest in Pinterest

I’m just going to come right out and say it: Pinterest makes me anxious. There’s a lot of jokes roaming the Internet about Pinterest users, whether they’re compartmentalizing the perfect life for their friends to see or taking on projects that go far beyond their scope of crafty talent. I fall into the latter category, because while I may be inventive when it comes to baking a cookie or MacGyver’ing a complete meal, I cannot make a dress out of a shirt nor do I have time to decorate make a backdrop out of paper plates. Maybe I’m pessimistic, but I like to think I am completely realistic. Despite how anxious I get looking at the pins and re-pins from my friends, I still use Pinterest for its intended purpose: a sort of bookmarking site to keep thoughts and ideas until I’m ready to look at them again. What I find odd is that Pinterest has evolved into this sort of ribbon-tied, picture-perfect life all contained in a Mason jar. I can’t jive. I just can’t. The only Mason jars we have in our house contain the random bits of hardware we’ve saved over the years and just haven’t brought ourselves to get rid of. I’m certainly not going to put homemade biscotti in them. I’m also terrible at tying ribbons. There are literally thousands upon thousands of ideas for parents who are on Pinterest, whether it’s homemade play dough recipes, DIY costume ideas, cupcake recipes, to planning the perfect kid birthday party. It all looks so beautiful and amazing and perfect and, frankly, scary. Nay, intimidating. I often find myself gazing at the home improvement ideas and then feeling sorry for my 80’s bathroom in desperate need of updating. I know it only takes a bit of paint and some mosaic tiles, but I’ll be honest, pinning is about the only time I will ever spend on a project. I can dream. I can pin. I can strive to build my own jewelry stamper out of a wire coat hanger, but it just ain’t going to happen. Not today. What makes Pinterest unique in how we share information is it takes our would-be at-home cork boards and puts them on the Internet. We as users are motivated to find the things that are truly interesting to us, and so we pin and pin and pin some more. The...

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How We Share Information

How We Share Information

There’s a lot to be said about the information we share on the Internet when it comes to being a mother. I know that for me, the moment I first held my son, my first born, the world became a pretty scary place. All of a sudden the articles, headlines, published studies and blogs were completely unnerving. The overabundance of information hit me so hard that, quite honestly, I wasn’t sure which information was right and which information was wrong. I started to notice trends on social media within my circle of mom friends. We were all quick to hit the “share” button on Facebook of an article. We’d even share one of those urgent posts that dealt with an urban myth, like, if you found a spider in your toilet, be careful because it is a rare spider that will bite you when you use the toilet and you will die! Share! Share! Share! Share! It made me realize how quick we are to share information without first checking the validity of said information, but to what detriment are we doing that? All too often I find posts about various studies, whether it’s about the benefits of breast milk, high protein diets, vegan diets, organic diets for our children, exercise, well visits and so on, and so many times these posts are shared with such alarm that it could frighten anyone who wouldn’t know better than to do her own research. This is probably a good time to talk about correlation and causation. Earlier this week, I read an excellent excerpt from a book that dealt with this very topic, and of course I was very quick to share this information to those in my social feeds because I felt it was an excellent piece that covered what this correlation versus causation is all about. As moms, we tend to take correlation as actual fact, by mistake, of course, and shut our computers down and worry that we might have poisoned our child because we fed them inorganic milk. This is where the over sharing of information bites us all in the collective butt. One person takes a study that breaks down the correlation of inorganic milk and sick kids and the next thing you know, mothers everywhere are freaking out. What the person doing the sharing failed to realize is that there is a correlation between the...

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