Second Dinner

Family dinners on television always look so serene. The kids gather 'round excitedly, the plates all match, the table is set and a perfectly cooked roast graces the center of the table. Everyone is smiling and happy, gratefully partaking in a wonderful meal together.

Now to real life.

The kids have to be called to the table numerous times and after pulling themselves away from their toys/TV reluctantly come to the table. They ask "what's that?" when they see the failed Pinterest turkey, corn, rice bake disaster in the middle of the table and dad shushes them so mom doesn't start making vodka sodas to deal with her recipe disaster. The kids whine throughout the meal and have to be threatened to complete 1/2 of their plates. Mom spends the meal telling everyone they're not getting dessert (even though she didn't make dessert) while also getting covered in rice cereal from the infant in her lap who also won't eat.

Judging Your Carseat Facebook Photo

We all do it. If you say you haven't done it, you're lying right now which is worse than not properly putting in a carseat. You know you're a parent if you've ever judged someone on the following:
  • Their kid in a carset with straps loose enough for bungee jumping
  • Their kid in a carseat wearing a coat that looks fit for surviving in the Arctic Circle
  • Their newborn forward facing in the front passenger seat
  • Forgetting the carseat all together and just strapping their toddler to the top of the car
For these reasons, many of us have Facebook Carseat Photo anxiety. This is characterized by you inspecting a photo before you upload it with great detail to make sure the chest clip is just right (use a ruler just to be sure).

Updating Facebook

We hear it all the time: "Parents post too much on Facebook." What the childless (or child-free as they like to be called) don't understand is that once you have kids, your social life goes down the drain. Can we just all admit that?

When your days are filled with diaper changes, potty training, misplaced reading logs, last minute baking for ANOTHER fundraiser *and* working, making time for people who don't need you to steady them while they sit on the toilet just ain't happening most of the time.

Drive Thru Grocery Stores

There's a reason parents describe shopping for food alone as a vacation. Have you tried doing it with kids? If you've got a baby in tow you either have to perch the bucket carseat precariously on the shopping cart (a big "no no" these days) or place it directly inside leaving little room for actual food. If you're shopping with a toddler or older kids, good luck. By the time you get out of there not only are your nerves fried from saying "NO" a million times, you've gone $80 over budget and can't even remember what you bought. 

MLMs- Network Marketing Companies

Random Potential Parent Friend At The Park: Hey! You look cool and have a kid just like me, want to be best friends?

You: That would be amazing! Yeah!

Random Potential Parent Friend At The Park: Fantastic! What's your phone number and email address?

You: Here's all my info!


You: oh.

Parents love networking marketing companies. We won't call them "multi-level marketing scams" because lots of them are actually legit, albiet annoying as hell, but legit, companies.

Have you ever been invited on a "playdate" only to discover it is a sales pitch for a candle company? Because buying candles at Target isn't good enough anymore. You need to order them only and on a regular basis for $8 each. And not only can you spend your grocery money on candles you can also become a candle selling representative because who in their right mind wouldn't want that? Just sell six thousand candles a month and you'll earn a full-time income!

Few things are more uncomfortable than being pressured to buy natural cleaning products infused with tea-tree oil while sitting in your friend's home office (ie. corner of the family room furnished with an Ikea desk). Sure, maybe we'll make a pity purchase under $20 but only to get you off of our back but we'll avoid you from then on.

Almost everyone has signed up for one of these companies after getting caught up in the kool-aid from a dynamic televangelist of a friend. Stories about how the person who signed them up went from a studio apartment to having six houses and a Mercedes are pretty tempting. 

For about 36 hours you dream being a network marketing superstar, buying a large feels full of possibilities! You call everyone you can and with baited breath tell them about this amazing opportunity you can't wait to share with them. Maybe you even attend one of those motivational seminars held in hotel conference rooms.

Reality only hits when you see that first $69.95 monthly auto-charge for regular shipment of PRESTOTRINKETS.

Why do we love network marketing companies? Kids are expensive. The promises of InstaRiches and being your own boss are hard to resist. It doesn't help that every now and then you stumble across someone who is actually earning money from one of these companies although it's hard to know because of the "fake it until you make it" mantra that rules these organizations.

The next time you find yourself in a friend's living room looking at overpriced makeup wondering if asking to use the bathroom and then escaping via an open window, know that you're not alone. And if you're that friend demonstrating the benefits of overpriced lotion, please at least have the decency to put out a cheese plate.

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Being Against Juice

Being a North American parent in 2015 means you have a lot of information and fewer concerns than most of the world.

We're not raising kids in war-torn cities. We deal with foreclosure but not firebombs. None of us think about roof snipers while grocery shopping. Raise your hand if you're facing intense religious persecution? Nope? Didn't think so.

We'll never admit but our lives are pretty cushy.

I'm not saying we don't have problems, just not "rest of the world" problems. 

In response to this comfort, we create new enemies out of the mundane. Our current target: Juice.

Why juice? It crept into our homes under the guise of nutrition but when we learned the truth, that natural sugars are just as "bad" as the ones in Fruit Loops, we lost our collective minds.

Juice Ingredients

"DOWN WITH JUICE!" we scream in the streets, one hand pushing a stroller and another holding a homemade protest sign.
Amy before Juice

Amy after Juice

Parents brag about not giving their kids juice like they've been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in the category of Withholding Juice. There is an unspoken competition to see how long you can prevent your child from tasting the substance.

The only type of acceptable juice is homemade and derived from lettuce & kiwi.

Parent #1: "Billy is 2 and has never had any juice."

Parent #2: "Samantha is 3 and has never touched the stuff."

Parent #3: "Noah is 3 and a half and doesn't drink juice but he is allowed water with two drops of stevia on his birthday."


What You See

What Parents See
A 4-year old who turns down juice in favor of water in public is worshiped like a god. Parents will fall all over this golden child and say things like, "Wow! Good for you! What an adorable little angel!" while tossing disgusted looks at their own kids:"You little rat-faced juice drinkers why don't you ever ask for water. Be more like THIS KID." 

Coconut water straight from the young, organic coconut is a good alternative to juice.
Before dropping kids off with grandparents or babysitters parents give them emergency contact numbers, allergy information, and a change of clothes. Then right before they leave most parents hiss: "And if you give my child juice so help me God I will kill you."

Little Rosie before swallowing the first sip of juice

Little Rosie after two sips. Now she hungers for the souls of baby animals.

Growing up, we all drank juice. No, we drank Tang, the party school of juices. We walked around with our upper lips and teeth stained all colors of the rainbow from whatever our parents would mix with water and throw in the fridge for us. Now if your kid is sporting once of those telltale Red #40 Shame Mustaches people will tag you in Facebook posts about proper nutrition.

Every people group has their own sport and for parents, this is juice blocking.

Being Against Juice, we like you.

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Silently Judging Other Parents

"Can you believe their 8 year-old still sleeps with them?"

"I would never let my kids eat that garbage."

"Why do you dress him like that?"

One of the many perks of being a parent is that you're under the constant scrutiny of your peers. Only semi-retired parents (grandparents) dare criticize aloud. The rest of us prefer to deliver your Child-Rearing Report Card in the form of unsolicited advice, loaded side-eye glances, or a slight shake of the head. 

Why do we like it? The sick truth is that it feels good to think you know better than someone else. When your kid is sitting quietly in a restaurant eating their $15 grilled cheese and another one is losing their mind in the corner booth adjacent to yours, it's hard not to feel slightly superior.

"SUCKS TO BE THEM! LOL! IT'S CALLED DISCIPLINE TRY IT!" your inner a-hole yells. 

Don't get drunk on smugness. Your kid's public freakout is probably scheduled for next week.

How do you deal with being on the receiving end of judgement? The next time someone makes you feel like dog excrement because your kid has a tantrum or watches X hours of TV a day, just remember that the judgiest parents are often hiding the biggest parenting fails.
Ad: Have a toddler? You need this book.

Get Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault on Amazon