Let’s Hear It 4 The Boys: Joining the #MeToo Conversation

Alternate Title: Decency Saves Lives.

Red Solo Cup

via

This is about four men I haven’t talked to in well over fifteen years. They were never particularly close friends of mine, but each played a pivotal role in my life.

The first three are Dan, Steve, and “Toga” Greg. It was the summer after I graduated high school and some girlfriends and I drove 45 minutes to attend one of Toga Greg’s house parties, as we’d done many times before. I helped myself to a solo cup of Captain Morgan and 7 Up. I left my drink with a girl when I went to use the bathroom, as you’re told to do for safety. The problem is, she didn’t watch it. It was pretty obvious to my best friend Tori that something had happened when all of a sudden I couldn’t move or speak coherently. She called our high school friend Steve who picked up our other friend Dan and drove quite a ways to come to our rescue. Most of the memories of that night are lost to me forever, except for the relief I felt looking up and realizing I was safe in Dan’s arms as he carried me out of that house party to Steve’s car. I have a few mental screen grabs of Tori, Dan, and Steve’s scared faces as I intermittently vomited and passed out on the floor of someone’s parents’ basement. I woke up the next day and went home as if nothing happened. I never said anything to Dan or Steve about it, and they never said anything about it to me or anyone else, to my knowledge.

Months  later, I was a 17 year old Freshman at Millikin University heading to class in Shilling Hall when my cell phone rang. It was Toga Greg. Class was starting and the hall was emptying, but I was compelled to answer.  I could barely get out an incredulous ‘Hello?’ before he said, “I have to tell you something, I’m so sorry. A couple months ago when you got sick at that party, it was because someone drugged you. It was actually a guy I know. I just found out. He didn’t know you were my friend, and…I’m just so sorry. For what it’s worth, you were safe the whole night and I’m never talking to him again.” I was stunned and relieved at the same time. Part of me had forced myself to remember that night like you would remember a nightmare: vague and shadowy, but hearing his words all of a sudden it was over for good. When I think of the integrity it took that 20 year old boy to call me up months later to apologize and give me the gift of peace of mind, I’m still overwhelmed with gratitude. We never saw each other or spoke again; but if he hadn’t had the courage to call me that day, I’d have wondered about that night forever.

The next story is about my sophomore year of college and a boy named Matt. He’s actually the second boy I ever kissed; I was a Junior in high school and it ended up being a somewhat awkward experience so we decided to be friends. Cut to a few years later when we attended the same college…I’d had too much to drink at a wild costume party at his fraternity house. In the middle of kissing in his room, I suddenly realized I was about to pass out so I crawled onto his bed, curled up and immediately fell into a deep sleep. What he could have done in this moment: anything. What he did: put his hoodie on me over my somewhat scandalous theme-party costume, locked me safely in the room so no one could find me compromised and went to find my best friend to take me home. About a year ago I watched the documentary The Hunting Ground about the prevalence of rape on college campuses. As the credits of the documentary rolled, with tears in my eyes I looked up Matt on Facebook and sent him a very random and overdue thank you message. He replied modestly, reassuring me not to worry about it.

My point in sharing these unflattering stories of myself is that all four of these men had the capacity to destroy my life; I unwittingly gave them that option. But they chose to protect me. They were just acquaintances who put themselves between me and the types of guys who could have done me indelible harm, for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It bears repeating; anyone that has a #MeToo story is entitled to exactly as much blame as I’m entitled to my good fortune in these situations: which is none. Sometimes all it takes to be a hero is to do what is decent. Decency can save lives.

So here’s to the heroes in my life and the heroes in yours. If you’re reading this and part of the #MeToo movement, I hope that for every horrible man that happened to you, there’s a good and decent man who was there for you a different time. If you’re a young girl reading this, do as I say and not as I did; Blackout is a fantastic Britney album, but never a good look for a lady.

If you’re Dan, Steve, Greg or Matt: thank you so much for your decency, it may very well have saved my life.

Take No Preschoolers

Savvy 1 month

This morning my four-year-old Savannah (pictured above when she was blisfully unable to make biting, hurtful remarks) asked me if she could have a “healthy breffast, with no sugar.” I happily agreed to make her some eggs. About two minutes into me cooking, she took one look at the eggs and said, “NOT LIKE THAT! OH MY GOSH I WANTED THE KIND THAT ARE ROUND AND YOU CRACK THEM!”

“I don’t have any hard-boiled eggs cooked though.”

“NO, YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND ME! YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO COOK THEM YOU GET THEM OUT OF THE ‘FRIGERATOR!”

“I do understand you, but I’m telling you that I have to cook those kind of eggs FIRST before you can get them out of the refrigerator.”

She then let out some sort of primal scream of frustration and flung herself onto the staircase crying, “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME IN THIS HOUSE! YOU DON’T EVEN LOVE ME!”

From his chair where he was enjoying his hot coffee and reading the news, my husband muttered, “Jesus, what is she, on her period?”

In this moment, I realized two things. 1. My husband is 100 percent going to infuriate my daughters when they are teenagers and I’m going to sit smugly in the corner with my hot coffee and watch him try to figure out what he said/did wrong. 2. My four year old is just a small version of me when I’m PMSing, hangry, drunk, or some combination therein.

We recently watched the Judd Apatow stand up special on Netflix and in talking about his wife and two daughters he hilariously said something to the effect of, “I don’t just live with three women. I live with three ages of the same woman.” So if that’s true, my husband is in for hell on heels.

Since Savannah’s been having these outbursts, I’ve been looking up a lot of parenting resources on discipline and how to curb anxiety in your children before it gets out of control. But probably the most useful article I came across is not a parenting article at all, but it should be. It’s called, Hostage Negotiation Techniques That Will Get You What You Want. It includes this chart and points out that the reason most people aren’t great negotiators is that they skip the first three steps and move straight to Influence, when the step that actually weakens someone’s defense the most, is actively listening while they talk.

hostage-negotiation-techniques

Via

So the moral of the story is Savannah ate Lucky Charms and I’m turning to the FBI for parenting tips.

Happy Friday, Y’all.

#MommyBombing

I got the idea for this post when I was volunteering at my daughter’s school and a fellow mom acquaintance dropped a snide comment on me that had me like,

The Audacity

Lucille Bluth

So I posted a call on my social media for what I’m referring to as “mommy-bombing” stories, meaning those verbal grenades lobbed by fellow parents during an otherwise friendly conversation that leave you like:

Excuse me what just happened

And you guys did not disappoint! So here, edited for brevity, is a gold mine of your experiences with Mommy-bombing:

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Am I Doing This Right?  

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Being a borderline millennial and having two daughters has made me a devoted Taylor Swift fan. Since her new album dropped it’s all I listen to with my girls, which gets dicey because it’s got some “grown up words” in the lyrics, but damn that girl writes catchy tunes.

There’s a line on her new album that says, “And I know I make the same mistakes every time, bridges burn, I never learn, at least I did one thing right.”

Obviously Tay’s not writing about parenting, but when I heard this line it was like she unwittingly summed up everything I feel about my identity and how it’s tied to motherhood. Continue reading

Fox Mornings: 5 Cool Games You Haven’t Heard Of Yet (a must-read if you’re shopping for older kids)

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This morning I ventured over to Fox Mornings to show off holiday games/gift ideas, perfect for big family gatherings. If you’ve ever read any of my behind-the-scenes posts, it will not come as a surprise to you that I woke up at with searing pain in my throat and virtually non-existent air access in my sinuses. Continue reading

Self-Indulgent Birthday Post: “Jesus, it’s reckless!”

Tomorrow is my birthday. I love my birthday. I’m not overly sad about aging because my life has elements today that are so much greater than I ever imagined I deserved.

Baby Birthday

Again, I read the words I wrote last year at this time. What I hear in them is an honest confession, with a tiny gap in the slats to let in a ray of hope for improvement. Continue reading

KC Live: Sick Beats, Hot Jamz, and Cool Holiday Toys (Must-Have List!)

So because something always seems to happen right before I’m booked for a segment, I was suspicious of how smoothly my morning was going. Then my four year old got out of bed to come say good morning and I realized she had cut her own hair into a mullet last night while the babysitter was over. Some people may view this as no big deal or a rite of passage, but I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut and I wanted to scream. Rightfully, Savvy was very ashamed and upset, but as I comforted and reassured her, my husband quietly and correctly saw that inside I was getting very close to having a stroke. As she shuffled off to find her doll, I could see the terror in his eyes as he braced himself for the white hot rage that was clearly steaming out of my pores. Luckily, there was no time for me to throw a fit, so I bottled it up to let it ferment like a fine wine and headed to the TV station. Continue reading

KC Live: Blinded By The Light (And Cool Products for Parents made by Parents.)

Actual things that happened before this segment: at 9pm on Sunday I realized I needed a drill to put together the Tot Tower. My husband was on a plane to Chicago and our drill is MIA and probably dead, but luckily my neighbors are an incredibly nice Canadian couple with grown children and the husband was able to come over and help me put it together. He really had the best joke when I said, “thanks! I’ll give you a shoutout tomorrow!” and he said in his endearing Canadian accent, “Oh, hey, don’t do that. I don’t want people saying I was over screwin’ at the neighbors house.”

Cut to Monday morning: after making breakfast for two dogs and two kids, packing lunches, dressing Avery in spirit wear, packing not one, but two halloween costumes for Savannah’s preschool party, showering, doing my full hair and makeup, going over my talking points and loading my car with all of the things for my segment, I was trying to get us out the door to school with my hands full and my plastic cup of crystal light hanging from my teeth (moms know this move) when I stepped down the garage stairs and splashed crystal light DIRECTLY IN MY EYEBALL and all over my face. I was completely blind for 45 seconds as my eye burned with the fire of a thousand suns. My brain went into damage control denial, like, “This is fine. I’ll just wear sunglasses for the segment and go to the ER afterwards. I can totally drive with one eye.” Luckily I regained vision in time to see the tributaries of black eye makeup streaming down the left side of my previously contoured face. But there was NO TIME, so I grabbed an old paper towel off the floor of my car to wipe off the black makeup before it dried, made it to school drop off, then went to the TV station where I had approximately two minutes to fix my face before I was on live TV, 8 minutes into the show.

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10 Things I Want To Tell My Teenage Goddaughter

Yesterday my friend came over so I could glam her up for an event, as is tradition. She comes over before one of her fancy galas and we pop a bottle of bubbly and gab while I toddler-in-tiara her like the tyrannical stage mother I repress deep down inside me. Her teenage daughter was in tow yesterday and I was thrilled to find out I’ve been appointed her new Godmother. I even baptized her with a little Prosecco to make it official. Last night I sat down and wrote this to her and I’m sharing it here with permission.

Ten Things To Tell My Teenage GodDaughter

 

Dear Brooklyn,

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