Everything You Think You Know About Detroit Is Probably Wrong

When I find something that makes me want to write, it’s the same feeling as it is to fall in love.

In fact, I think it is falling in love in a way. Maybe even in my favorite way of all.

I’ve fallen deeply and madly in love with the city of Detroit in the past few months. Right under my nose for all of these years and I’ve only just begun to see it for what it really is.

Isn’t that how it always happens?

I can’t pinpoint what it is about that place that has inspired me so completely, but it has. I wake up thinking about it. I find myself staring off into space in the middle of the afternoon daydreaming about it. I can’t wait for the next time we see each other, and I think that the possibilities of what we can accomplish together are endless.

I’ve got it bad.

Detroit doesn’t give a shit about being shiny and perfect and putting on a show. It keeps it real. It has soul and culture and people that don’t blow smoke up your ass. They are authentic and want only to be what they are. Don’t go there to experience perfection. Go there to experience life.

For decades Detroit lay forgotten, shrouded in crime and corruption and was written off as a “lost cause” by most people. By myself included. I wouldn’t have considered taking my family there to spend a day exploring what there was to offer. Because I didn’t think it had much to offer. I wouldn’t have thought I would feel happy and comfortable parking my car to walk the streets alone.

It’s not that place anymore. Maybe it never was. I have been wrong once or twice before.

Detroit went through hell but it didn’t give up. It didn’t let people like me, who gave up on it, determine it’s fate. Other, forward-thinking people still believed in it. They weathered the storm and were there waiting to create change when the opportunity finally arrived.

They knew better. They knew Detroit was a fighter that would rise from the ash. And they were right.

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Today when you are in Detroit you see something remarkable. It’s this extraordinary “thing,” that has inspired me so deeply. You see humanity at work for the better. People shoulder to shoulder, doing incredible things to change a city that had been forgotten. You can’t turn your head without seeing evidence of their efforts. Their accomplishments are all around.

The type of person that does this, that so bravely and creatively takes risks where other people won’t…. this is the type of person that will change the world. And these exact people are everywhere in Detroit. They think innovatively and fully invest themselves in making positive change happen every. single. day.

The energy is exciting. It’s contagious. What they’re doing is working. And if you look closely and with a mind that’s wide open, you’ll see that what’s happening even goes far deeper than new restaurants, better shopping, trendy millennials, and widespread construction efforts. Sure, those things are there, but there is so much more.

There is great, collaborative human effort of a scale that you don’t often get the chance to see. There is community, creativity and a shared, widespread commitment to a cause. A peaceful, worthwhile cause to simply make something better than it was when they found it. To leave a place better off than it was before.

That’s an incredible thing.

Go to Detroit. See for yourself. Don’t miss the chance to be part of something beautiful.

How To Fight In Front Of Your Kids

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Fighting in front of the kids?!

Who in their right mind would expose their sweet, innocent children to parental conflict?

Oh, wait! Everyone. On. Earth. Because we’re all human and stuff. And humans get pissed off.

You’re a pretty great human. Don’t worry. You love your family.

You’re trying to be a role model so your kids don’t become serial killers, move out of the house (eventually), and become caring big humans.

But it’s inevitable. Even you get pissed off. And sometimes (gasp!) your kids see the whole unsightly mess unfold.

Read the rest at Lies About Parenting

8 Ways to Raise Kids Who Can Cope (even if you can’t)

You want them to be happy.

Don’t you?

Oh, and culturally, socially and academically successful, too. (Of course.)

You want them to be perfect pillars of well-roundedness.

That’s just the parenting age in which we live!

And we’re a great generation of parents, in so many ways. We fill our children with joy. We work to shield them from harm, disappointment, sadness, failure, and boredom.

You work hard to help your kids to sail through life.

Your intentions are good, but the problem is, that’s not real life.Every single child will face failure and negative emotions.

Are we doing our kids any favors by manipulating reality and try to hide all the nasty parts?

No.

We may even be doing them harm.

It’s a struggle to find balance.

So, what can we do to avoid raising a generation of teacup children that grow up to be entitled adults?

How do we raise kids who can cope with life’s twists and turns?

The answer lies in awareness.

Here are 8 ways you can help your child learn to cope with life.

Read the rest of this article at Lies About Parenting

Redefining Failure With Help From Amy Pohler

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I recently read Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and it got me thinking about the definition of personal failure. Yes Please was not a failure–it was actually smart, inspiring and hilarious, confirming that spending the past several years lady-crushing on Amy has not been a mistake for me–but something she said about failure in the book really hit home.

As a woman in my 30s, far enough along on my path that several irreversible life decisions have been made and consequently scrutinized by myself and the world at large, I’ve spent a fair amount of time contemplating what failure really means. There have been times when I have wondered if I have failed or will fail, and all I can do is close my eyes and hold on tight, cross all of my fingers and toes and hope I’m doing the right thing. There is no going back in time; adult decisions have adult repercussions. That’s a lot of pressure.

Read the rest at Scary Mommy’s Club Mid

How Does He Do It? Dads and Their Invisibility Superpower

I’m sorry sir, but is that an invisibility cloak you’re wearing?! It is SIMPLY STUNNING!!!!!

That’s what I want to ask my husband whenever we are home together and he pulls off the masterful stunt of remaining completely unseen by the young, prying eyes of our spawn.

 

I don’t know how it’s possible, but I am convinced that my children are completely unable to see him sometimes. In particular, when they are refining their superior skills at asking for as many things as humanly possible in the shortest conceivable amount of time. It’s like he isn’t even there when they want something! It’s his superpower, and it’s magnificent. My days would kick so much ass if I could go invisible. The possibilities of invisibility seem endless and seductive.

I would put my invisibility cloak on first thing every morning so that I could sit down for 15 beautiful, uninterrupted minutes to have coffee and collect my thoughts. I would wear it while I read books, or get dressed, or even just to fold the laundry.

I would wear it whenever I have to take a phone call. Especially one from a potential employer, health professional, or anyone else who requires even a remotely civilized discourse, because it’s inevitably during these types of calls, that the shit hits the fan.

I would wear it when I walk out of the public bathroom where my potty training three year old decided to talk very loudly about the difference in the sizes of our “booties.” Yes, you’re right dear, mine is HUGE. EXTRA-JUMBO GIGANTIC. Cloak, please.

lady hiding two

The possibilities are truly staggering….

I was leaving for dinner the other night after being solo with the kids for nearly 72 long hours, and just as I was getting into my car I heard it. Mooooooooommmmmmm!!!!!!!! 

I looked back at the house, that beautiful beast of burden, to see my son pounding on the window in a panic. His fists and face were pressed against it like he was being abandoned for life to care for his sister, as if I were going off to a bloody and terrifying war, perhaps never to return. It was a truly pathetic sight, so like any sucker would do, I sighed the heavy sigh of the almost-free, and marched back into the house to see what it was that couldn’t wait.

Me: Yesssss? What do you need??

Him: 

Complete silence. A blank look crossed his face. It dawned on me with the fear only felt by the visible, that he didn’t seem to even have anything to say. It was just a trick! Surely there must be something she should be doing for us! Grab her quick! She’s trying to escape, but I can see her visible ass! Nice try!!!!!

A beat later my daughter pipes up from her spot on the couch.

“I’ll have my dinner and a water.” She was sitting on the couch directly next to her able-bodied father who was holding perfectly and impossibly still. No doubt a masterful part of remaining invisible. I stared on with shock and envy.

“Your dad is right next to you” I say, “He’ll get you dinner and a water. I’m leaving, remember???” They both look blankly at me, confused and concerned, like I suggested that the cat stand up and do karaoke.

It was like they were two tiny Websters who were panicking that they had nearly lost their Mr. Belvedere. Who would shine their shoes? Who would fetch their water?

I turned and made a break for it. Busted out to my car in a flash before they could protest, a blur of keys, purse, and desperation, this time not pausing to see if tiny faces were pressed up against the glass behind me. My tires squealed as I burnt rubber out of my neighborhood with the music cranked up to a deafening volume. I cursed the reality that even if I held a shank to his neck in the psychotic way of a deranged convict leading a prison gang initiation, my husband would never tell me the secret to his invisibility cloak, because everyone knows, moms don’t get to wear them. Simple as that. Dads only. Dads and that beloved little wizard that is Harry Potter.

Some guys have all the luck.

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Dear Lion Killer

Dear Creepy Dentist That Likes To Murder Endangered Animals,

Wow, sir. I expect that you should be getting a sweet gift basket in the mail soon from a Mr. Donald Trump because you just made his life a LOT easier. I’m sure he was happy to pass the torch so that you could become the next, “Most Hated Man in America, And Maybe Even On This Earth.” Way to take the heat off and congrats! I couldn’t imagine anyone who could be less likable than you, so you should own your crown for quite some time. Maybe you can display it in your home along with all of your other “trophies?” That would be so cool!

I find the “hobby,” that you are “responsible and passionate” about, as you put it, pretty off-putting, but something tells me that maybe we just aren’t cut from the same cloth (no offense but, phew!). I’m sure I’m just being judgey though. So rude of me. I guess I am just interested in other things. I mean….have you ever considered yoga or wine tasting? I like those things a ton and you don’t even have to compromise your morality! But, I suppose it’s too late for you where that’s concerned. Should have told you sooner. My bad! (To be clear, in case you think I don’t relate to your gardening or something, I’m referencing the hobby you have that involves paying exorbitant amounts of money to stalk big game animals, even endangered ones, shoot them with a bow and arrow, and then cut their heads off to keep as a prize and mount on your wall. You have a history of skirting the rules a bit to make it happen, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do!) Talk about extreme, you sound like a true-blue bad ass! This time you really took it up a notch when you used food to lure Cecil the Lion out of a Zimbabwean National Park so that you would be able to kill him with your arrow somewhere else. And it was totally smart of you to try to destroy his GPS collar. Bummer you got caught after all of that planning ahead. Either way, you really tricked him! You’re so much smarter than he was! You must be crazy tough too and no doubt have a huge, you-know-what. I can’t believe people hate you anyway. Jerks.

To be fair, you did apologize because you didn’t know he was a famous lion. You thought he was just a regular middle-class lion, or you never would have killed him. Killing famous lions is clearly in poor taste, so I thought that was an insightful and important thing to point out. Weird that it seemed to make everyone hate you even more. People are just touchy these days so you’re probably not letting it get to you. That photo you took with Cecil after he was dead where you smile from ear to ear was cool too. Very Dahmer-esque. That one was really misunderstood by the gen pop. On the plus side, you won’t have to worry about any more pesky neighborhood kids ringing your bell with girl scout cookies anymore!

I have a hunch people aren’t going to be knocking your dental door down for root canals anytime soon either. What with your new murderous, savage, deranged reputation and all. Which is a big bummer because I heard you spent 50k on going to stalk Cecil! That’s quite the chunk of change! You might want to start selling all of the heads on your walls to your other creepy buddies. That could help out a lot. I’m thinking once your dental career hits the skids here in a minute, you are going to have to get creative, so I’m just tossing ideas out. There are plenty of third world countries that host clinics where dentists offer free care to patients in need. If I were facing complete corruption of my soul and sense of self, I would be thinking of redeeming stuff like that that I could do. Something tells me you won’t go that route, but if you do, I sure hope no one bites your fingers! Wouldn’t want you to experience any pain and suffering!

It’s probably good that you have made it your life’s “passion” to take the animal kingdom down a notch. I feel like all of those animals are getting so cocky these days. All protected in their national parks and what not. It’s like, who do they think they are? Somebody needs to show them who’s boss. I heard there might be some kind of fallout in Cecil’s pride too. I guess the new king will follow the barbaric laws of the animal kingdom and kill Cecil’s cubs so that his own bloodline can take over. This will cause all sorts of violence and uproar with the females. A bunch of them will probably die. Can you imagine?! I shudder at the thought. Lion’s are so cruel.

Anywho, I also heard that the Zimbabwean authorities might want to prosecute you since what you did was technically “illegal”. That would super-suck if you ended up in an African prison which a bunch of African criminals that knew you killed their favorite lion. Yikes! They probably don’t even have wi-fi. I know the last time that you participated in a technically “illegal” slaughter all you had to do was pay 3 g’s and have a year’s probation or something, which is no biggie for you since you are all about the Benjamin’s baby. Don’t worry though, if you do end up in African prison, I’ll totally write to you again.

xoxo

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10 Signs You Are Done Having Kids

Deciding whether or not to keep popping out more babies is a big deal for most moms. It can feel very final and lead to a lot of reflection on whether or not you feel complete as a mother, a person and a family. Naturally, it can be a tough call, full of agony, distress and sobbing into piles of tiny onesies. There is a lot of going back and forth, and general emotional upheaval. Many wonder if they will wind up filled with regret one day for deciding one way or the other. They seek the advice of other mothers about when they knew they were done having babies. Sometimes their worst fears are confirmed when they consult women who regret the choice they made, and now it’s too late. The mental pinball likely makes their heads feel like exploding. They probably cry and eat chocolate and watch too many episodes of A Baby Story, wondering how they will ever know for sure.

Other times, it’s not like that at all. Sometimes it’s actually even pretty easy. I was pretty securely in that camp. I went back and forth for about a minute until one of my kids screamed and punched the other one, and then I was like, “Nope, we’re all good here. Pass the BC please.” Sometimes recognizing your own limitations doesn’t involve a struggle. Either way, it’s still a big deal.

Here are some of the telltale signs that you are finito with the baby making:

Read the rest on The Mid

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Refusing the Ranks of the “Momarazzi”

I was at my students’ 5th grade graduation last week and a quick scan of the audience could have easily been one of the scenes that made Marty McFly’s head spin in Back to the Future 2. All of the parents were sitting there watching adoringly, but a good half of them were watching through the screens of their phones. I imagine Marty would have stood there bewildered with his hand in his hair wondering what in the hell was going on with all of these people. What were these devices that were so interesting? Are they watching their kids or doing something else? It would have been hard for him to tell.
Read the rest of this post on The Mid
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How Yoga Prevents Mental Breakdowns

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I discovered hot vinyasa yoga when my big kid was about 18-months-old and I was in the middle of the mental holy-shit transition of accepting that I was actually a mom. When you really stop and think about that task it’s fairly impossible to take even remotely lightly. Like, this kid is yours forever, and you are responsible for making sure he or she turns out to be physically, mentally, emotionally, culturally, and humanly successful and well-rounded some day. Ummmm, what? Wasn’t I eating Cheetos in a dorm room like five minutes ago? What happened here?

To an over-thinker that is pretty up-there on the serious scale.

Needless to say, my mind needed to find a way to have a time-out from all of that being blown to bits by enormous responsibility, and I figured my ass could use a few down-dogs too, so off I went to my neighborhood yoga studio. Couldn’t be that hard right?

Wrong.

read the rest at MrsMuffintop.com

10 Reasons We Won’t Be Friends

Part of evolving into a grown ass woman is learning who you want to devote your extremely limited free time to, and picking your friends accordingly. Once you throw a couple of kids into the mix, getting out for drinks on a weekday is on par with breaking out of Alcatraz. So the choice you make regarding the company you keep deserves serious consideration. Nothing is worse than successfully deviating from your daily grind and then wishing you’d stayed home in your PJs because of a bogus companion. That is a serious life violation and must not be taken lightly. Here are the deal breakers I look for to avoid that tragedy:

You expect me to look like I was styled by the Kardashian’s glam squad to meet you for a drink. Chill out! If you want to walk in on a Wednesday night looking you spent two hours getting ready for little old me, then I will be flattered by your effort, but it is highly unlikely I’ll have done the same. I probably just wiped mac and cheese off my shirt and ran out the door. I like a pal who takes me as I am and doesn’t mind a graphic tee in a restaurant.

Find the rest on Scary Mommy