That's what SHE said: modern motherhood myths, salvation through tattoos, too much ethnic casting, and more . . .

Sometimes, white people are like the kid in kindergarten who always wanted to play with your toys but they’d never let you play with theirs. You try to tell them your toy is only for you and they’ll report you to the teacher saying you didn’t share. It’s like how white folks whined about not being in SELMA (even though the movie did show the contributions of some white characters but logic has no place in the stupidity of racism). That’s like us being all “WHY WERE WE NOT IN SCHINDLER’S LIST?!?” Because it ain’t about us! When Tom Hanks spent 3 hours talking to a white volleyball on a desert island, did we ask why the ball wasn’t brown??? NO WE DID NOT.

Mythological Motherhood is the modern phenomenon responsible for the discontent, disillusionment and disconnect plaguing parents of every demographic. It speaks to the enormous gap between what we believe to be possible (based on stories we’re both being told and sold) and the way our current realities look and feel. The greater this gap, the more of these myths a person has likely subscribed to. The consequence of this mass mythology (presented to us as TRUTH) is an entire generation of mothers who — though more attentive, compassionate, involved, patient, knowledgeable and educated than any other group of mothers since the beginning of time — suffers from so much self-doubt, inadequacy and overwhelm that we barely even benefit from our position of relative privilege.

They are called The Parent Circle, and in the kitchen, they had on their bossy skirts. We made big vats of jam with them, and I seriously couldn’t understand a word they were saying, though they never stopped trying to explain things for even a minute. We managed to make some good jam, and we managed to laugh. I had been so talked-out that when I got the chance to do dishes, it wasn’t even righteous work. It was selfish. One woman stood behind me while I washed, and she petted my back and fixed my shawl. She didn’t say a word.

What also happened during those two years was that the Jewish theologian spent time with Palestinians in the West Bank, and he actually saw the reality of their daily lives. He said to me, “I still support the State of Israel and believe the Jews have a unique role to play in God’s redemptive plan. But the kind of injustice I’ve seen in the West Bank, and that you have described in your talk, is unconscionable. It can’t continue. But few Jews actually know what’s going on here.”

Everything changes when we remember that people are people. Everyone has a story and the importance of sitting across the table listening to the stories of those who are or have the potential to be our enemy is critical…CRITICAL for any kind of peace in any area of life! Nothing is going to get done and no peace will be known if people continue to say how wronged they have been and continue to avoid relationships with the ones who disagree and make us uncomfortable. I believe this is true for Israel/Palestine and I believe this is true for race issues in America and I believe this is true for people who homeschool or choose not to, and I believe this is true for republicans and democrats and everyone in between.

"Maybe I need to stop fighting it and start accepting it. Maybe trying to cut this ball and chain loose has been a great adventure in going about things the wrong way. Instead of spending all of my time trying to saw the chains away I’m just going to start taking the ball with me in my back pocket while I’m rock climbing and writing poetry and making art and telling stories and feeding people and generally kicking ass at life."

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Friday Finds for New Moms

Over the past few years I've heard from some great companies that are making ingenious baby gear, but because I'm well out of that stage, it has felt disingenuous to talk about those products since I'm obviously not trying them out myself.  When I found out my assistant/email whisperer/writer Lindsey Anthony was expecting, I asked her if she'd like to help me create a Friday Finds of all of the best baby products out there. I love the stuff she found and I wish some of these had been available when I had infants. Thanks Lindsey!

Dear new moms and mamas-to-be, 

I feel you. If you ever wished for a baby registry cheat sheet to go along with your magical doula who will make labor completely painless and your short-on-sand hourglass to give you just three more hours in the day, preferably at a less than ungodly hour, I have tried to make one of these happen for you.  Behold…the Friday Finds for New Moms.

(Left to right)

1. If you are looking for a lightweight, all-terrain stroller with great maneuverability that also doesn't take up the entire sidewalk, a one-hand fast fold, adjustable handlebar, 5-point safety harness, full recliner seat, extended canopy, a peek-a-boo window, and comes with a matching diaper bag, not to mention the hand-stitched leather detailing, Mountain Buggy's urban jungle: the luxury collection stroller in pepita (or nautical) gives you everything you want in a stroller while rocking a ton of style. *Also compatible with a separate Carrycot and several different car seats. 

2. BabyBjörn's Bouncer Balance Soft is both bouncer and napper early on, "high" chair and regular chair for later on, and can slip between the cracks of even the tightest of car packing jobs for a weekend away. 

3. Chic, water-repellent, reversible seating with a one-handed fold, made with lightweight aluminum, one-handed seat recline, a huge adjustable canopy, 5-point safety harness, adjustable leg rest, front swivel wheel locks and the list goes on... Inglesina's Trilogy Stroller in Special Edition Denim is an Italian-made smooth ride for the everyday that is as stylish as it is functional.  
*Also compatible with a separate bassinet and several different car seats. 

4. If you're looking for a baby monitor that isn't looking up your baby's nose and examining every pore while monitoring their pulse rate, but still gives you a clear picture with a lot of bells and whistles without dropping several hundred dollars, the Levana Ayden 3.5" Digital Video Baby Monitor is a sensible monitor that still gives you night vision, temperature monitoring, and a 2-way talk intercom if you're into that. 

5. I love me some function over form, and Phil&Teds Nest travel bassinet is a pragmatic mom's dream. The portable pop up bassinet also serves as a travel bag for baby! 

6. In three soft velcro snaps (minus one swaddling comedy of errors), you can have your little bundle swaddled and ready for sleep in seconds with one of Halo's SwaddleSure Adjustable Cotton Swaddling Pouches.

7. BabyBjörn's Travel Crib Light is perfect for a traveling family like mine with family on opposite coasts and an uncle with an NFL Sunday Ticket package two doors down. 

8. The Evenflo Platinum 3-in-1 Soft Carrier Versa Fit has a lumbar support belt, great for both new moms and new dads who are taken by surprise at the neck and back pain that comes with parenthood. (My husband especially likes Evenflo's more masculine look compared to the sling carriers.)

9. The Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Nearby Napper is the mother of all pack 'n plays, complete with a removable bassinet that flips into a rocker seat and can also be used as a vibrating seat,  a diaper changing station with a side storage unit, a mobile, music and sounds, and a push-button fold. With this convertible playard, who needs a crib? 

10. Little Green Pouch's reusable 7 oz. pouches are a nice eco-friendly solution for baby purees and all things mushy. Free of all those toxic acronyms and dishwasher safe!

11. Babyganics has a long list of products I'm a fan of including their All Purpose Surface Wipes and Laundry Detergent. If you can't tell by the name of the brand, the company is devoted to using non-toxic ingredients and they abide by both US and EU lists of "ingredients to avoid."

12. For the toddler years, JJ Rabbit has designed a plastic cup you can feel good about. JJ Rabbit's Cuppie is made from biodegradable and compostable bio-plastic and hides a small animal friend at the bottom. 

13. 4moms mamaRoo works like a magic wand with bouncing, swaying, rocking, multiple speeds and sounds, as well as bluetooth and mp3 capability, an AC adaptor (my personal favorite), and it all can be controlled from an app on your smart phone. Brava! 
*Also check out the newborn insert to go along. 

14. Convenient, lightweight, and durable, Mountain Buggy's pod high chair removes the need for a clunky piece of plastic with dried oatmeal caked in the crevasses taking up space at the kitchen table.

15. Graco's Simple Sway Swing is the nap maker- the gift that keeps on giving.  

16. JJ Rabbit's ergoFork+Spoon are made from plants, people! This is how to do plastic.

17. JJ Rabbit dipPLATE is biodegradable yet also safe to put in the dishwasher. Cute factor a plus. 

18. JJ Rabbit dryBIB is made of organic cotton, waterproof with a catch pocket, but really, I love the simple designs. 

19. I live with a handyman. We love tools.  Mixed Pears BiteSizers Mealtime Scissors are a great on-the-go shortcut to have for meals out.

20. If you're doing the cloth diaper thing, Prince Lionheart's Warmies Wipes Warmer keeps your cloth wipes moist, warm, and ready.

21. Prince Lionheart's Wheely Bugs come in two different sizes (small and large) and six different designs. Encourages gross motor skills, great for indoor play, but really they are just super cute!

22. Prince Lionheart's 2-in-1 Diaper Depot (which also works with the Warmies Wipes Warmer) is a nice way to try to keep your changing station organized. It has six different configurations. 

23. If you're looking for a classic, vintage style baby gown for a christening, photo shoot, special occasion, etc...Feltman Brothers makes this adorable Special Occasion Set with Scalloped Lace Trim, complete with hand embroidery, french lace, and a sweet little bonnet. 

24. I've found the Baby K'tan's Breeze Baby Carrier is the easiest of the slings to figure out and for Southern California, I appreciate the mesh fabric, allowing mama to cool off, too. 

25. This sweet little gem made in Canada promotes skin-to-skin nap time with a tiny bit more freedom. The Sleepbelt comfortably belts your baby to your body, allowing you and baby to get some more secure Zzzs or freeing up your hands for all that reading you plan to do now, right Mom? 
*The Sleepbelt cannot be used as a sling!

26. One of my favorite companies right now is aden + anais. Besides everything they make being aesthetically gorgeous, I love the cotton muslin they use. This terry cloth twinkle baby bath wrap is so cozy!

27.  Cake Lingerie makes a ton of maternity lingerie that actually makes you feel like you've still got it - pregnancy belly, swollen ankles, and all. This Honey Toffee Shaping Nursing Tank Top is the softest with no seams, tags, and easy access for breastfeeding. 

28. Pish Posh Baby aden + anais Organic Dream Blanket is just that. Made of cotton muslin so it breathes, it's great for tummy time, a blanket for the stroller, or a quick shade when out to brunch. 

29. Noodle & Boo's Elasticity Oil is great for that 7-month itch on through the 4th trimester when everything makes its way back.  You can also use it as a bath or massage oil. 

30. This cool piece is a hand-painted nursing cover made of flax linen. Galileo Linens in Brooklyn makes Hand-Painted Nursing Covers as well as some cool screen-printed ones and linen baby carriers. Right now, they can be found at Bump Brooklyn. 

31. The Hugaboo is a convenient seat for baby (once they can support their head) to chill with the family on their own terms. It's intended for floor use only and adult supervision is obviously required.

32. Lansinoh Signature Pro Double Electric Breast Pump is a must have. Easy to use, easy to clean, love the digital display clock, different suction settings, BPA free and comes with a simple tote. 

33. Again with the aden + anais, I know. But this prince charming starburst teething toy is crafted from soft maple wood and comes with a muslin piece of fabric tied around the teether. Great for comfort and drool.

34. The Lansinoh Breastfeeding Starter Kit is a great shower gift for new moms who will need that extra TLC those first few weeks while they get the hang of it. Comes with disposable nursing pads, breast therapy packs and HPA Lanolin for all the soreness. 

35. Belli makes fantastic pregnancy-safe skincare products. My favorite of which are their Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub, Acne Control Spot Treatment, and they also make an awesome Elasticity Belly Oil and Lip Balm. 

36. And for all those emails to catch up on or delete, there's the Lansinoh Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra

With love, 
Lindsey @rewindrevise

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Blue Apron’s family plan

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

For the past two weeks, we have been trying Blue Apron’s new family dinner plan. I have written about blue apron before. It is a service that sends recipes along with exact measurements of the ingredients that he will need, so that it takes all of the guesswork and shopping out of creating meals from scratch. The family meals are $8.74 per person, delivered in a refrigerated box so that you don’t have to be sitting at the wait when the box arrives. Because I like to cook but hate to shop, this is a really ideal service for me. All of the groceries I need show up at my door, and then I can just pop them in the fridge and cook in the evenings without worrying about running to the store, or doing any kind of meal planning whatsoever.

And the meals? Are really good. Like insanely, gourmet-level good. If I look back at my 20 some years of adulthood and all of the meals I have prepared, hands-down the ones I have made from Blue Apron have been the best. I have learned a lot of new skills, like braising chicken correctly and making the perfect roasted vegetables. Their recipes aren't too hard, but they are just challenging enough that I find it really exciting and fun. I am making great meals, but I also feel like I am growing as a cook.

The one minor complaint I always had about Blue Apron was that previously they delivered 2, 4 or 6 servings, but the meals were just not designed to be shared family style. So for a family of six, it meant that you were ordering three boxes of food, and having to do the math on each recipe. I guess they heard that feedback from their consumers, because they have now instituted a family meal. It feeds 4 to 6 people, and while the recipes are still really good, they are a bit more manageable for a busy mom. Here are some of the meals we tried with the new family plan.

Roasted Chicken & Root Vegetables

with Potato-Rutabaga Mash

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This meal was a hit. Who knew rutabaga was so delicious? Simple and yet delicious.

Masoor Palak Dal

with Curry-Spiced Cheese & Date Chutney

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I really loved this meal, too. It’s not something I ever would have thought to try, but everyone enjoyed the stew and the cheese was insanely good.

Blue Apron’s website also curates all of the recipes of the boxes they send out, so that you can make it later on your own. I’m a fan of the Chicken Schwarma.  Blue Apron is available nationwide, shipping to over 80% of the country (check your area here.) Each menu is between 500-700 calories per person.

If you would like to try their service, Blue Apron is offering the first 50 readers two free meals on their first Blue Apron order.

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What I want you to know about living with fibromyalgia

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Emily McCallister

My name is Emily McCallister. I am 24 years old. I have lived with fibromyalgia for 10 years.

According to, fibromyalgia "is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues." The way I explain it when I'm in a good mood is that it feels like arthritis in my musicales. The way I explain it when I'm in a bad mood is that it feels like someone beat me with a club in my sleep.

Imagine, if you would, being 24 years old and feeling like you're 75. At 24, women are typically climbing the ladder in their chosen career, going on dates, attending happy hours with friends and colleagues, and traveling. Me? I'm lucky if I can pull myself out of bed in the morning. I wake up, and I immediately feel the sensation of exhaustion. Basically, I never (never ever ever) feel rested. Once I muster up the mental agility to convince myself to get out of bed and get ready for work, I slowly become aware of all the aches and pains. By the time I'm dressed and driving to work, I feel like I need a nap. Then, I sit in front of a computer all day where I become increasingly more aware of my aches and pains. By the time I get home at night, I can't muster the energy to meet friends for dinner or drinks. I'm having a good day if I take the time to cook dinner. I'm more likely to have a bowl of cereal. I usually lay down around 7:30 because I have no more energy. I fall asleep around 10, wake up at 6:30, and start all over again.

Can you fathom how depressing it all is? To feel sick 24/7? I carry the majority of my pain in my hips. It hurts to sit for extended ( less than 2 hours) periods of time. I prefer to be standing or laying. I endeavor to not let my condition impact my friendships or fun, but it of course does. I cry more than seems normal because I just want to be painfree.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia comes through the non-diagnosis of other chronic illnesses (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, etc). Because there is no one test that conclusively proves fibromyalgia, there are many doctors who don't believe it is a real condition. They believe patients are fabricating the pain in search of validation and pain meds. Therefore, not only do I feel like an outsider because I can't participate in all I want to, I also feel like an outsider in the medical community. It takes more time than it ever should to find a doctor who not only believes the patient but who is also invested in the long process of finding the right medication to help. There is no one pill that eases fibromyalgia. What works for my mom (who has also had fibro since puberty), probably won't work for me. I am on my 10th new medication in 3 years. None have worked well enough to provide measurable relief.

There are women (and men, although it primarily affects women) all around you suffering. We are silent sufferers. You won't know, just by looking at us that we are feeling unimaginable pain. You're more likely to notice how sad we seem. How can you help? Listen! Provide a supportive ear when we need to vent about trying yet another new medicine. Try to be understanding when your coworker needs to work from home because she can 't afford the effort to get dressed. Be patient. It may be annoying to try to support her through this because it is slow. Take a moment to consider how exhausted she must be by how long this battle goes.

My doctor wrote a note for my job to give me the legal right to work from home as necessary. In that letter she said, "Fibromyalgia is a life-long condition." That was a strong blow to the ego. So, next time you encounter someone with fibromyalgia, consider that she is fighting a life long battle for her quality of life.

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Wednesday's Child: Makayla

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

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