This One’s For The Homeschool Moms: Mercy’s Story

Originally posted on Homeschoolers Anonymous:

HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Mercy” is a pseudonym. 

Homeschool Moms (Present, Past, and Future), this post is for you.

"Be strong and call it like it is."

“Be strong and call it like it is.”

I’ve thought a lot about how conservative, Christian (in my case, not fundamentalist) homeschooling has shaped my life, but it wasn’t until last year that I took the time to think about how it impacted my mother. My sister had just called home to tell me that her and her husband of a short time were divorcing. I broke the news to my mom before my sister did, to soften the blow a little bit. My mom’s face went grey and she said, “How could this happen to your sister? I did everything right.” There was little consoling her, she thought that she had failed as a parent.

Why would the divorce of a child who…

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How to Know If You Are “Respecting Yourself” By What You Wear

I’m a huge supporter of respecting yourself. Especially when it comes to how you dress. No, really.

But what is the modern lady to do? We read about how we should “stay classy”, how we should not be slutty, how we should take responsibility for our safety by what we wear, how we should be careful of what we make men think, how we should avoid certain items of clothing that are sure to degrade our bodies. And whatever we do, we must make sure to stay pretty but avoid attracting “too much” attention!

Please, try not to attract too much attention.

Please, try not to attract too much attention.

But either these warnings are vague, or full of contradictory suggestions. Often increasing in severity. Women should not wear leggings, pants, clothing not covered by a burka. Geez louise, who is right and who is wrong? Better find out before you accidentally disrespect yourself!

Oh, no! Anything but the wrong guy looking at you!

Oh, no! Anything but that! Give me the judgey guy who will monitor what I wear instead!

Fortunately, I recognized the need among womankind for a simple, easy-to-follow guide that will allow you to know for sure whether or not you are respecting yourself by what you wear. You’re welcome, ladies.

 1. Examine your motives.

What are your reasons for choosing your outfit today? Are you comfortable with these reasons? Are you ignoring the voices of your judgey neighbor, your extra conservative uncle, that girl at work you barely know? Have you made a decision that works for you, and makes your feel confident and secure?

If you answer “yes” to all of these questions, then congratulations! You are respecting yourself instead of everyone else. Good job.

(Side note: asking for fashion advice is not necessarily discouraged. Sometimes a girl wants to get a friend or loved one’s opinion on an outfit for a special occasion, or just because. This is not the same as relying on another person to tell you whether or not you are a worthwhile person based on your clothing. And if you happen to disagree with the person giving the advice, carry on. No one will like every outfit you choose, and visa versa.)

2. Examine your feelings.

How do you feel? Are you happy? Comfortable? Confident? Do you feel attractive? Professional? Edgy? Or whatever other adjective you were going for? Does your outfit fulfill your motives that you examined in item one? Do you want to wear this outfit?

-Conversely-

Do you wish you were wearing something else? Is someone else making you feel like you can’t wear what you want? Do you feel pressured in any way?

If you answered “yes” to all of the questions in the first paragraph and “no” to all of the questions in the second paragraph, then congratulations! You are respecting yourself by what you are wearing.

How to Know You Are "Respecting Yourself" By What You Wear

You look cute today. You know you do.

Now, go forth, you respectable woman, and conquer the day!

photo credit: Collin Key via photopin cc

Yes, All Men: Every Man Needs to Understand Internalized Misogyny and Male Violence

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

In the aftermath of the weekend’s ghastly events at UC Santa Barbara, there’s been plenty of discussion about our pervasive culture of misogyny, and the myriad destructive ways in which it manifests. A large part of the narrative has been that men need to shut up and listen to women’s voices on this topic, which is certainly true. But men also need to talk, honestly and amongst ourselves, about the nature of masculinity, and acknowledge our own destructive impulses. This is a problem that men need to be discussing precisely because it’s a problem with men. And it’s only men who are going to fix it.

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Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters

I have been trying to cultivate a medicinal herb garden lately. I have plans to start making my own tea, essential oils, etc. I have also been using fresh herbs in my cooking, and the taste difference is astounding. I recently planted lemon balm, sage, cayenne peppers, chamomile, echinacea, evening primrose, and lavender by seed. The results were so abundant that I found myself overrun with the seedlings. Not wanting to waste a good plant, I came up with a way to reuse old cans and find temporary homes for the plant babies. I plan to sell or trade (or give away) the seedlings.

It was so easy. I just used scissors to remove the top of the cans, trim the edges, and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. Then I added a layer of soil, placed the seedling, and filled in the edges with soil. Voila!

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Sage, Chamomile, Echinacea

Echinacea, chamomile, sage.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Lemon Balm

A tiny cayenne pepper plant.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Lavender

Sage and lavender sitting side by side.

 

Recycling Used Cans For Seedling Planters -- Cayenne Pepper

A cute little lemon balm.

If you happen to be in the Orlando area and would like a baby plant, e-mail me at jrgerbholz@gmail.com

How to Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem

boostsexualityMaybe it’s been a while since you looked forward to sex, and even longer since you’ve actually felt sexy. Perhaps you aren’t the best at expressing yourself sexually. By reconnecting yourself with your sexuality and getting in tune with your sexual self, you can easily gain the sexual confidence you need. Although bringing back your sensuality will require effort and may seem like a chore, it can also be fun and pleasurable. Additionally, it will make you a stronger woman.

Because we’re so busy improving other aspects of our lives, we often fail to consider ways to enhance our sexuality and get more in touch with our sexual selves. If you’ve been moving too quickly to even begin thinking about your sexuality and libido, then you’re in luck as there are many simple ways you can get reacquainted with your sexual side. Here are but a few tips to help you reboot your sexual confidence with some guidance from HuffingtonPost.com.

Dress to Impress Yourself

Maintaining your appearance is important on a variety of levels. Whether it be for your career, your partner, or just your daily life in general, keeping yourself attractive is an on-going process and may often seem like a hassle. However, it’s an essential part of life. While it’s important that you stay attractive for the reasons mentioned above, you should also preserve your looks for yourself. Part of building your sexual confidence is about feeling good about yourself. And the best way to do that is to make sure you look and feel good on the outside. This can mean staying in shape, dressing with care, and properly grooming—whatever makes you feel good about you.

Try revamping your wardrobe with new, provocative attire or change your hairstyle for a completely different look. Update your lingerie drawer with new, sexy goodies (and not just bras and panties). Pick up some tantalizing lingerie pieces that you wouldn’t normally wear such as babydoll dresses, corsets, bustiers, and other lingerie pieces that, according to AdamEve.com, can “make everyone feel sexy and desirable.” And you can increase those feelings by surprising your mate with your new outfit when he gets home from work. Or use it as a confidence booster and strut around your place in your saucy duds when you’re home alone.

Be Secure with Your Physical Flaws

We all have things we desire to improve about ourselves and when you look in the mirror, there are many things about yourself that you may not like or want to change. Whether it’s the size of your breasts or your complexion, there are certain physical attributes that you probably want to modify. In order to be better in touch with your sexuality, start by embracing your flaws.

While it’s perfectly fine to want to enhance your appearance, you shouldn’t overdo your self-improvements or make outlandish physical goals for yourself. Yes, your thighs may be too large (in your opinion), but they’re yours—so love ‘em. In addition, remember to focus on the physical attributes that you like such as your eyes or high cheekbones. For example, if you wear glasses but have wanted to go with your more natural look, Air Optix suggests ditching your spectacles for contact lenses. That way, you’ll be able to showcase all your features, especially your eyes, without anything getting in the way. These may be small things, but they can help you feel good about yourself, thus promoting your sex-esteem. Who knows, you may even learn to love your faults and blemishes.

adameve.com196

7 Reproductive Questions You Should Never Ask

Questions About ReproductionWe live in a culture that seems obsessed with reproduction. We are always talking about it. One group of people is actually suing for their perceived right to give unsolicited advice to pregnant women. Even if you don’t have children, your ovaries and vagina are often assumed to be in the public forum, in need of group discussion to decide their fate. I don’t have children, but I’ve heard this attitude can get especially tough for moms. One of my mommy friends recently told me, “Having a child has opened me up to a broad spectrum of annoying personal questions.”

But here’s the problem: making reproductive decisions is tough enough without everyone you know wanting to be kept informed and to weigh in with their opinion. It’s hard not to feel personally invaded when someone forces their way in to your private life with their prying questions. “I only ask because I care!”, some might say. No, you don’t. You ask because you are nosy, and we can see through this. Or you ask because you want an opportunity to exert some kind of control into another person’s decisions. Just stop. If you truly care about your female friends and family members and have respect for their privacy then, please, don’t ever ask any of these questions.

1. When are you having kids?

The key word here is “when”. You are assuming that, because I am a woman, I’m going to have children. It is just a matter of when! Not true. Many women choose to remain childless or are biologically unable to reproduce, and they don’t owe an explanation to every person who wants to know “when” the kids are coming. Even worse is the continual pestering that comes after the question. “The clock is ticking!” or “Don’t you want someone who looks like you?” or “The longer you wait, the harder it gets!” etc, etc, etc. I am fully aware of how age affects birth. I am familiar with how genetics work. I am also intimately familiar with my own wants, needs, circumstances, health, financials, etc., and you are not. So butt out.

2. Did you know that birth control can ______?

Give you a stroke? Give you blood clots? Make you fat? Make you emotional? Send you to hell? Fill in the blank. Actually, yes, when you go to the doctor to get birth control they give you stacks of reading material on exactly how it works. I’ll discuss the pros and cons with my doctor. And I am 100% uninterested in you personal religious beliefs on the subject. Thank you very much.

3. C-section or natural birth?

I’ve been told this is a common question. I am completely dumbfounded by that knowledge. You are essentially asking the mother: “How big of an object can you fit through there?” “Do you have a scar?” “Are you all stretched out?” “What do you look like under your clothes?” There are no words to adequately express how inappropriate this is.

On the flip side are the natural birth apologists. If you want to have a natural birth with no exceptions, then that is wonderful. That desire does not translate into the right to tell every other pregnant woman that she should be having a natural birth too. If she wants information on the subject, she will ask.

4. Breast or formula?

When did a woman’s boobs become an acceptable topic of conversation? Don’t ask what a mother’s boobs look like. Don’t ask about her nipples. Don’t try to give her pressure about either breast-feeding or not. This is between a woman, her baby, and her doctor. Again, you can have a strong opinion, but it is *your* opinion. Don’t impose that on someone else. You don’t know her situation, and she doesn’t owe you an explanation of it. And she certainly doesn’t owe you an explanation for what she looks like under her bra.

5. You know how that happens, right?

This seems to be the go-to question for women with more than four children. It makes some people uncomfortable to see lots of kids with one woman. But some people like big families, so get over it. Don’t assume they are on government assistance. Don’t assume the kids are neglected. Don’t assume they are crazy religious wackos. Just be happy that they are happy. If someday we run out of room for everyone to stand, then we can worry about over-population.

6. How do you plan to lose the weight?

Will everyone please just leave us ladies alone about how we look. We know how we look. We know that pregnancy causes weight gain. We know that the world thinks we should be skinny, and we have exactly one week after giving birth to get that way! We may or may not care. Do you really think that asking a woman who just gave birth about her weight is a good idea? Are you trying to make her feel bad? Are you deluded enough to think that there might be any other outcome?

7. Was it planned or an accident?

Oh, you mean were we having unprotected sex? Were we just horny that day or did we have a reason for getting jiggy with it? Would you like a play-by-play? WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INVASIVE? There is no possible reason why you would need to know this information. Furthermore, a baby is valuable to its mother no matter how it came to be. If the mother wants people to knowhow it happened, then she will include it in the stories she tells. Women love to talk about their children so you can almost guarantee that if a certain piece of information is left out, then she doesn’t want you to know.

Additionally, just as asking about the sex that lead to the baby is too personal, asking about the mother’s sex life after the baby is too personal. There is no reason why someone’s sex life should become public knowledge just because they had a child.

With all of that out of the way, let’s end on a positive note. Here are a few questions that you can ask to show you care:

Are you and the baby happy and healthy?

How are you feeling?

Are you interested in having children someday? (and then take the answer with no judgement and no additional prying)

How can I help you?

No matter what the differences in opinion, let’s all have a little more respect for the privacy of the women in our life. If you have been guilty of invasive prying, it’s not to late to change your ways! Change the kinds of questions you ask, and the way you give your opinion. Not only will your friends and family feel more loved and more comfortable around you, but you will gain more respect yourself!

photo credit: westpark via photopin cc

A Lady Doesn’t Take Her Dog to Her Friend’s House

Leave Your Dog at Home

This little guy may have to house sit.

Working with social media, I naturally see a lot of what people are saying on the internet. And I will tell you, it does nothing for my peace of mind. I am more aware of what’s happening in the world than ever before, and most of it doesn’t give me the warm-fuzzies. However, I have an internet happy place, and it is pictures of cute animals, stories about cute animals, and videos of cute animals doing cute things. It’s embarrassing, but I try to keep most of it to myself.

Recently, during my regular cute-animal-internet-search I came across this article. I nodded my head and agreed until I reached the “You Are Welcome, But the Dog Is Not” point. The author seems to think that not being able to take her dog with her to visit is a deal-breaker for the relationship. And let me just tell you what I think about that: It’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard. You spend a whole article asking for understanding and then end it by giving none to those who may not want your precious baby in their private living space? Man, did that strike a nerve with me. The worst part is that I actually know people who feel this way, and feel affronted when they can’t take their dog with them wherever they go. No. Not okay. Stop.

If you want to take your pet to a friend’s house: ask. If they say no, respect that. Don’t show up with a pet unannounced. Don’t threaten not to come if they won’t comply. Don’t stop being their friend. Don’t talk about them later behind their back. Don’t be pissy in any way. Don’t keep asking if you already know how a certain friend feels. Don’t be offended that another pet is allowed, but yours is excluded. It’s their house, so it’s their rules.

Here are the top ten reasons why someone may not find your pet to be a welcome house guest:

  1. They have allergies. Their friends have allergies, and they therefore don’t want a home covered in pet hair.
  2. They don’t want their home covered in pet hair, in general.
  3. They don’t like your particular kind of pet (dog, cat, lizard, snake).
  4. They find your particular pet annoying, or have experienced bad behavior last time your pet came to visit.
  5. They have a small house or apartment, and don’t want it to be extra crowded.
  6. Their pet doesn’t get along with your pet.
  7. They don’t want the distraction.
  8. They don’t want your pet to pee on their couch, scratch their floors, bark and disturb the neighbors, or dig holes in their yard.
  9. You become an annoying version of yourself around your pet.
  10. They don’t want to follow your “rules” about how your pet gets to be treated.

Bottom line is this: No matter how much a person may love animals, they don’t always want to welcome every single one into their home. They might not love animals at all, and that’s ok. You love your animal immensely, and that’s ok. It’s all fine and dandy until you start intruding into someone else’s territory. And that’s something all pet owners should be very familiar with.

Let’s all give a little more understanding to each other, okay?

photo credit: WilliamMarlow via photopin cc