Facebook, the POTUS, and my Sunday rant

I, like most of you reading this, grew up in a small town. There wasn't a whole lot of diversity in Brigham City, Utah. My schools were always nearly 100% white, middle class families. And, being in Utah, a good percentage was LDS as well. As a result, I didn't grow up with a lot of diversity. The problem with that is now, with social media, we have access to nearly every race, religion, and political party you can imagine. We can be connected to over 1 billion people everyday on Facebook alone. And, surprisingly, not every person on there agrees with everything I think. Even if I am absolutely, for sure, without a doubt, right. Right?

Let's face it, we are spoiled. We are one of the first generations of humans who haven't had to work in the fields all day just to make sure our family is fed. We have access to all of the knowledge mankind has ever attained and it's at our fingertips. So, maybe all this arguing on Facebook is out of pure boredom. But, I can't be the only one who is tired of it, right?

I mean, I can't be wrong in assuming this is the worst it's ever been. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone seems to want to argue their opinion to death with random people we went to high school with.

But I think we can all agree that there is no chance we're ever going to all agree. And that's ok! If we all had the same opinions about everything, we would be a pretty boring race of people. Nothing would ever change, we would never progress. It's ok that we disagree. It's the way that we go about it that isn't right.

In the last week, I can think of two posts in particular that stood out to me. One was from a liberal, millenial female. She posted a long rant about how, basically, Republicans are bad, horrible people who do bad, horrible things. The second post was from a conservative, middle aged male. His post was about how Democrats are bad, horrible people who do bad, horrible things.

And the thing is, they may stand on completely different sides on every issue you can imagine, but their messages accomplished the same thing: absolutely nothing. Conservatives, in agreement with the conservative man, liked his post. They felt a little better about their own thoughts and beliefs being verified. Same thing happened with the liberal female.

I, in the mean time, just felt sort of sick reading both of the posts. For one thing, both posts contained references to articles and news that was misleading at best. (But we'll get to that.) But worst of all, both posts were just dripping with anger and hatred at an entire group of people.

Come on, everybody. How many wars do we have to go through as a civilization before we realize this gets us nowhere? Anger and hate only leads to more anger and hate. There is no light there. There is no forgiveness, no understanding. Are we really so naive as to believe our thoughts and opinions are the only truth out there? Do we really think all these people we argue with on Facebook are just the bad guys sent to star in our movie?

Who wins there?

I'll be honest, I didn't vote for either major party candidate. I am certainly not happy about Trump becoming our new POTUS. But, I feel like I was set up for this kind of let down a year ago. There was never, for me, really an option of a great outcome in this election.

And because of that, I have felt angry too. But I've felt more angry and involved in this election than ever before. And that isn't because I suddenly found that I have a deep sense of patriotism that cannot be quenched. It's because of social media.

It's because I am bombarded by it day after day after day.

It's because the world is becoming increasingly black and white, and there is no room or acceptance for people who live in areas of gray.

This morning, I read a post where a lady posted letters her children had written to Trump. Her young children, who apparently were sobbing and screaming after election day, were so upset that they felt they had to write Trump a letter telling him they didn't like him.

I'm not passing any judgment on this family. My point is, emotions are running high. Even among children. I think we all need to acknowledge that, well, we are all kind of acting like children. The problem is, we should know better.

The one thing I am so happy about in this election is that we are all so conscious and aware of our government now. Yes, we are deeply divided on all the major issues. Yes, it's caused riots and murders and horrible, horrible things. But as someone who was apathetic about these topics only years ago, I will say that I am grateful it seems that almost no one is sitting back, ignoring politics and just letting things happen anymore.

Our awareness is the most important tool we have. One voter can't change the outcome of an election. But is there a single person in this country who doesn't have one careful eye on the President right now, waiting for him to screw up? That is an amazing thing, and that is why I don't feel it's necessary to march for women's rights or whatever just to oppose the new POTUS. You can bet if he does one thing to hurt women's rights, he will be fought the whole way down. We are all aware and ready to fight. So, do it. Keep your boxing gloves on. Just stop using them to fight down friends who disagree with you.

And, on that note, I have to plead with you all: please, please be responsible about what kinds of posts you share on Facebook. It may seem so small and inconsequential, but it isn't. I hope we are all aware by now that the media is biased at best and should be taken at face value. But so often I see articles posted, from "legitimate" news sites, that are full of misleading arguments, facts that haven't been proven, and even outright lies.

So before you share something political, ask yourself if the information is really correct. It may reaffirm what you believe, but that doesn't make it true. Read the entire article, at least some of the comments, and then research it from another angle. Fact check. Read the opposing arguments. Form your own opinion, don't just adopt one from some BuzzFeed writer who is paid to entertain, not inform.

It takes two extra minutes to search Snopes and see if the information you are sharing is true.

It takes even less time to ask yourself, "Is this logical? Would this really happen? Could this be false information?"

I am happy to see you all share. I read posts from both sides all the time, and I am certainly far from perfect when it comes to politics. I am so glad that we are all involved. But I think we need to acknowledge that becoming involved and interested in politics comes with a responsibility. (A Spiderman quote belongs here, doesn't it?) So, let's all take a collective deep breath. Let's all realize that one person in Washington DC is not going to ruin our entire lives. And let's all acknowledge that we may not have all the right answers all the time.

Birthday Parties and a Guest Post by Melissa!

Awhile back my cute friend Melissa asked me to write a guest post for her blog, The Frolics of Mama Llama. I immediately asked her to write one for my blog, and then... totally forgot about it like the unorganized disaster that I am.

It's ok guys, I bought a new planner today. I've got it under control, really.

Anyway, today on her blog she posted this hilarious tidbit and I just had to share!

Last year around this time I started stressing about Dayen's first birthday party and what theme to do. Seriously, I spent way too much time pinning ideas for a kid who had no clue what was going on the entire day. Oh, and then it rained. Because the weather is always against me.

Hop on over to her blog and follow her, she is so hilarious and fun, I promise you won't regret it.

And now, without further ado...

Once upon a time, we just had birthday parties. There were no themes. Just plain ol' music, cake, ice cream, and junk food. We had basic decorations, like helium balloons and streamers. We played games like "Pin The Tail on The Donkey," "Heavy, Heavy Hangover," hit piƱatas with baseball bats, and did a "Cake Walk," if we were feeling fancy enough. We opened presents, sang "Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too." Everyone went home sugar high and happy.

Ah, those were the days. I yearn for the same simplicity. Nowadays, you have to have a theme for your party and it has to be big. Points if it has to do with whatever your child is currently obsessed with. Extra extra points if it's good enough to pin on Pinterest. The food has to be organic, gluten free, soy free, with no GMO's or high fructose corn syrup in it. And the thing is, after all the time and money you spend on DIY-ing everything for the big event, your kids won't even remember you threw the party in the first place. Unless they look on Pinterest years later and see that you pinned every detail.

Don't worry-- I, too, have fallen into this trap. That's why, this year for Lil Spits' first birthday, I'm throwing a Mom-themed birthday party.

You heard me right. I have pooled my resources and realized that she doesn't like watching tv, she likes toys, but not any particular character, and I'm still figuring out her little personality. I do know that she likes me and binkies, though. And if I have to choose between throwing a binkie birthday party or a mom party, you know what I'm going to pick.

We shall start out by sending the invitations. They're going to be evites. We'll pretend that I'm trying to reduce my carbon footprint, but we all know the real reason behind sending an evite: They're free and I don't have to stand in line at the post office.

The evite will probably say something like this:

You are cordially invited to Lil Spits' first birthday party!

Date: on her birthday, unless that's a weekday, then we're going to ruin your weekend by throwing it on a Saturday.

Time: not too early and it won't go for too long, because, you know, naps. Not only for the kids, but for the mom throwing the party (aka me).

Location: Somewhere that doesn't require a deposit, doesn't mind screaming kids, allows me to bring my own food, and has a bathroom that can handle an army of toddlers. Bonus if I don't have to clean up after.

Attire: Sweatpants and no makeup. I'm talking to you, super moms.

Please bring: Cash, diapers, and wipes. That's it. We already have enough toys to pick up.

The evite will have a picture of me on it.

We will have cupcakes, because I've gotten really good at making them, but they take a while, which means I won't have time to cook anything else... so we're also going to have leftovers. Hope you don't mind.

We will play music that I like, but it'll spontaneously be interrupted by ads and we'll have to switch songs mid-play because somebody isn't going to like it.

We'll play games like, "Sorting the Laundry," and "the Quiet Game," and "Sleep Training."

We will end the party by sending everyone home with a goodie bag! It will be full of their own garbage from the party to throw away so that I don't have to do it.  

I, for one, am super excited about this birthday party! It'll be a blast. If anyone wants an evite, hit me up.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see ya on the flip-flop.


New Years Momsolutions

Does that work? Momsolutions? Should I have gone with Resolumoms?

Well, January 4th. The internet and, let's face it, my brain, are officially bursting with resolutions and newfound determination to actually accomplish them this year. It's funny to me that we always insist on making resolutions, and then we forget half of them by the second week of January.
I usually make a few resolutions in my mind and then ruin them all by making a batch of delicious cookies that night, but last year I actually wrote a list in the back of my planner and then... well, completely forgot about it until I stumbled across it like a week ago. The funny thing is, most of the resolutions I had written down actually seemed pretty impossible a year ago. But as I read through them, I realized most of them came true!

Caleb able to quit Maddox by Christmas This was the best one- he quit in April, and every day I am so grateful for his new job and how hard he works!

Me- do Photography full-time January is definitely my slowest month, but I would say 2016 was by far my busiest year with Photography. I also started trying out videography (also on my resolution list) and started working for one of the best photographers I know!

Learn Sign Language This is cool because the only reason I made the resolution was because I was watching Switched at Birth at the time. I downloaded a few apps and tried to teach myself, but gave it up fairly quickly. Then, when I started school this Fall, I ended up taking an ASL course. I love it- it is so much harder than I thought, but this is one of the resolutions I accomplished that I am most proud of!

Start working on the basement Ok I'm not even ashamed to admit that this is never going to happen. But thanks for pretending, 2016 Anndee. Our house was built in 1930 and our basement is terrifying and full of spiders and basically beyond hope. That's ok. Some dreams are ok to let go.

School loans PAID OFF This is another one to be proud of- those things have been hanging over my head for years, and even though we "share" finances, I really wanted to be the one to pay them off. It took until November, but that still counts!!

So after finding that list, I thought maybe there is some secret magic to writing down your goals and I should do it again this year. The thing is, we have a lot of big goals we want to accomplish this year, but I can also think of ten thousand little ones. And I am the kind of person that if I need to do something, I want to do it right now so it's not haunting me forever. So for example, if I notice that I need to vacuum, I will do it within twelve seconds of noticing it. (That's my vacuum guarantee!) Or, if I make a resolution to, say, floss more, I will go floss right that second and then forget for the rest of the year.

That's gross but still mostly true.

Anyway, a lot of these little things I keep thinking of have to do with motherhood. But they feel less like little pushes to do or be better, and more like anvils of guilt falling on my head when I realize I'm not doing something absolutely perfect.

For example: I should start taking Dayen to story time at the library because I think he would really enjoy it. Turns into: I am a horrible mother for not taking him to story time in months, I never take him anywhere or do anything he would enjoy because I am selfish and horrible.

Or, just barely, I put Dayen in his pj's after dinner and he went straight over to his books, and I thought, "I should really make it a point to read him a story every night before bed." And instead of thinking what a fun tradition that will be, I suddenly feel the weight of the next several years worth of nights and I start thinking how it's impossible to read to him every night so I'm going to wind up failing and I feel the guilt of the failure before it's even happened.

But let me ask you something. Does this look like the face of a kid whose family is failing him on a daily basis?

I only share my craziness because I have this feeling I'm not alone. We all do it to ourselves, and we do it to each other. We demand perfection in motherhood, and it just isn't possible. So instead of just enjoying all these fun stages, every day I question if I am doing everything I can to help him grow up to be smart and strong and healthy and somehow still make him love me enough to visit all the time and never put me in a nursing home.

You want to know what's amazing? This sweet little boy loves to learn. I don't even have to try. He knows all his letters and their sounds, and he loves to sound out words in books. He knows colors and numbers and shapes, and even the silly things like animal sounds. And two seconds ago, I heard him standing up on his rocking chair (because the kid also loves danger) and without even turning around I told him to sit and he did. Cause we get each other. We spend all day every day together, and I'm over here still questioning if it's enough. I'm still making a mental list of all the ways I need to improve and do better.

Resolutions are great. I think we should always be improving. But sometimes, I think we need to cut ourselves some slack. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pat on the back and say, "You have done enough. You have done all that is necessary and more. Sit down, play with some legos, and enjoy the reward."

Just promise me something? Don't let your resolutions be an excuse to beat yourself up.
You are enough. You're doing great. Just keep truckin' along.