5 Reasons I’m Having School Photo Rage

5 Reasons I’m Having School Photo Rage

Even on a good day, there are quite a few reasons to be annoyed by school photo day.

  • You have to remember that it’s school photo day.
  • You have to fight with your kid about why for ONE DAY you would like them to consider wearing a shirt that doesn’t have a picture on the front of it.
  • You have to have them practice a smile that doesn’t look like they’re plotting the photographer’s death and/or hitting the peak of an acid trip.

But the absolute worst part of photo day is dealing with the purchase procedure of said photos.

  1. Choose from backgrounds. This year’s selections included, “Barbara Walters 1984 Interview,” “Between Two Ferns,” “A River Runs Through It,” “That Scene From Gravity When Sandra Bullock Floats Away,” or “Underage Camp Counselor.”
  2. Select from packages A-Q, ranging in price from a minimum of $20 to a maximum of infinity dollars, because of all the mind-boggling add-ons like puzzles of your face, and note pads of your face, and pillows of your face so you can put your face on your face.
  3. Use the convenient “pay online feature” so your kid can keep saying, “there’s no money with the order form…they won’t let me get my picture taken if you don’t pay….I don’t think that code counts, I think they only take real money….”
  4. Pay with a check, if you can find your checkbook, because, do they even make checks anymore?
  5. Forget to put the order form in your kid’s backpack.
  6. Deliver order form to school office and add to a 3″ pile of other forgotten order forms.

At our school, there seems to be a photo day with each passing season, which caused me to post this question to Facebook after the latest “It’s Picture Day!” warning came home.

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I was about to just have my kid opt out of spring picture day because we had literally just received the “Package B” (B for Bargain) of photos that we ordered from the fall picture day. But then word started spreading that kids were being encouraged to bring props for their spring photos. Friends’ kids were hatching plans for photos featuring Harry Potter style wands and scarves, favorite stuffed animals cuddled in arms and suddenly the crazy photo backgrounds were inspiring fantastically creative ideas.

Finally! Something to help differentiate spring photos from the traditional blue-background headshots that were taken a few months earlier.  Count me in!

Until…..

Even though the spring photos were done through the same company as the fall photos, instead of pre-paying for the photos and receiving a package of surprise photos a few weeks later, you just selected your background for your photos so you could approve the photos before buying them.

This also seemed like an amazing idea, EXCEPT it turns out that the method of approving and purchasing the photos is the most annoying, wasteful process possible: every child in the school (that’s 1,000+ kids in our school alone) is sent home with an envelope full of four sheets of photos, (an 8×10, two 5×7, four 3×5 and eight wallet sized) PLUS a hard plastic “fun pack” of photos, including a bag tag, key tags, book mark and door hanger.

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If you want to purchase any/all of the photos, you pay online (or by check) by a set date.

If you do NOT want to purchase any/all of the photos, you return all of them to the school.

Which is where my rage begins.

  1. What a wasteful, environmentally detrimental process, and horrible lesson to teach the kids who have been told to reduce, reuse and recycle since birth. And what do you do with 23 pictures of my child that I send back?  Do they get recycled? Do they become part of some European ad campaign or frame fillers? Do the hard working employees at the school have to deal with the disposal, or even worse, inventorying them, packing them back up, and shipping them to you?
  2. There’s no GOOD reason for companies to do this.  In a day and age where everything is digital and photos can be better protected online through watermarks, vs sending home hard copy 8x10s that can be easily scanned, why would a company opt to using this method?  My best guess is that they are counting on busy, overwhelmed parents messing up and having to buy photos that they either forgot to return by the cut off date or that their kids enthusiastically brought home and cut up, or popped out of the “fun pack” before their parents even had a chance to see them. That just feels super shady and icky.
  3. Having to hand a pack of unpurchased photos to your kid to return to school sucks. And the companies that do this know that it sucks, and know that parents will pay for the photos to avoid feeling guilty if their kids think they “don’t want” photos of them.  Worse yet, a friend had to console her daughter who was in tears because she wanted one of the little key tags from the “fun pack” but for some reason her mom didn’t want to pay $15 for it. Again, ick.
  4. Stealing is bad for everyone. For parents who cannot afford to pay for the photos, there is the obvious temptation to scan or take a photo of the photos before sending them back to the school. Now the photo company is out the money for producing the photos the parent scanned and the kid gets a lesson on how it’s okay to steal, even though it doesn’t technically feel like stealing, even though it totally is.
  5. And now I’m ragey because I would have willingly paid for these awesome Yoshi-prop, clip on tie (?) photos of my son, but now I feel like I’m just buying them so I can own them to use for this post to point out how ridiculous it is that I have all of these photos without paying for them in the first place.

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Please, school photo companies, I beg of you – Parents want to have a warm, fuzzy feeling when they look at the school photos of their kids, not a ragey, icky feeling that they just got tricked into buying photos of their kids. It’s hard for me to believe that you make more money this way, after paying for all the development and shipping of hundreds and thousands (millions?) of photos, but if you do, just know that it’s off of parents that feel tricked and frustrated by this business practice.

Share your thoughts about this post on my Facebook post about it over here.

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Dear Moms: It’s Okay To Skip The Class Field Trip

Dear Moms: It’s Okay To Skip The Class Field Trip

Today I am filled with mom-guilt. Since there are more types of mom-guilt than there are Eskimo words for snow, I should probably be more specific.

Today’s guilt (or at least this hour’s guilt) is Guilt Type #26: When you have to tell your child that you won’t be chaperoning their class field trip today even though you never missed any of his big sister’s field trips. Even worse, the aggrieved child reminds you about how you used to drop him off at a daycare for the express purpose of being able to attend his big sister’s field trips (Guilt Type #37.) To top it off, you may have kind of, a little bit, fibbed (or at least exaggerated) about the excuses for missing the filed trip (Guilt Type #26.B)

Yes, I did need to take the dog to the vet to get his booster shot. Could the appointment have been rescheduled? Sure. Did I consider rescheduling it? Not really.

Yes, I also did have a tennis lesson scheduled for this morning. Did one of the other moms in our group skip practice to go to the field trip?  Yes.  Did another mom leave right from practice to join up for the second half of the field trip?  Yes. Did she offer to even drive me there?  Yes.  Am I filling the rest of my day with non-mission-critical tasks like farting around in the back yard throwing the ball with the dog, doing laundry and spreading compost on the yard instead of attending said field trip? Yes.

Perhaps it’s because it’s the Friday before spring break and this mamma has shit to do and would like to do it in a leisurely, methodical fashion vs a frantic and rushed mess.

Perhaps it’s because he’s the second kid and I SIMPLY CANNOT feign enthusiasm in the same museum that I have chaperoned dozens and dozens of kids through in previous years.

But mostly it’s because I have chaperoned dozens and dozens of kids to dozens and dozens of museums, parks, zoos, dairy farms and caves over the years and do you know how many of those kids have complained about a parent that couldn’t attend?  ZERO.  Do you know how many kids of parents who were there barely noticed the presence of said parent(s)?  Most of them. Sure, there are special cases when a child benefits greatly from having a parent, but for the most part, kids have a great time if their parents are there and have a great time if they aren’t.

I can also speak from the experience of growing up with a single, working mom who would have given anything to be the chaperone on those trips but simply could not. I never even gave it a second thought and in fact liked having the independence of being in some exciting new adventure with just my classmates. I also know from year’s of attending my daughter’s field trips that I was doing it more for my benefit than for hers.

Because I know this in my head, it makes no sense to feel guilt about falling short a “100% Parent Attendance” bar that I have set for myself over the years. So this week I stood tough and looked my 8-year-old straight in the eyes and said, “Honey, I’m sorry, mommy won’t make it to the field trip on Friday…and it’s the dog’s fault.”

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Today is F-It Friday at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group. To learn more about our daily micro-resolution prompts, head on over and check it out

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P.S.  I just received this photo of my son from the field trip (which he is surviving without me) with a note that she was feeling guilty being on the field trip instead of being home preparing for Spring Break.  See – there’s enough mom guilt for everyone to share!

susannekerns.com

 

 

 

 

The 10 Stages of Grief of Being Reported to the HOA Yard Police

The 10 Stages of Grief of Being Reported to the HOA Yard Police

I was recently subjected to the lowest of the low in Suburbia-shaming: I was reported to the neighborhood HOA Yard Police.

Please note, this is not an anti-HOA post. I have lived in plenty of neighborhoods where I would have gladly given up my exterior-paint-color-freedom to have an HOA that took care of broken-down cars parked in lawns. I’m particularly fond of our HOA as they have been extremely generous in supporting our school’s beautification efforts and making our neighborhood a beautiful place to live. 

My issue is the people who bypass the simple human interaction of discussing a concern with a neighbor and use the HOA to do their uncomfortable work for them instead.

In case you ever find yourself in the deep pit of despair associated with being yard-shamed by one of your friendly neighbors, who is waving, “howdy neighbor!” at you one moment, only to duck into their car and shoot off a report to the HOA about you the next, here’s my experience to help guide you through your stages of grief.

Stage 1:  See a car driving by your house slower than normal and automatically assume that they are planning a major heist to steal all of your finest Ikea furniture.  Say to yourself, “I better take a photo of this suspicious vehicle casing our neighborhood in case I need to report it to our neighborhood Facebook Group using the heading, “It Might be Nothing, BUT Keep Your Eyes Out for This Suspicious Vehicle!”

susannekerns.com

 

Stage 2: Witness said suspicious vehicle do a dramatic u-turn to narrow in on their target: Holy crap! I AM THE TARGET! Turn on the alarm! Hide the priceless Charming Charlie jewels! Oh wait…Upon closer inspection, realize that the suspicious vehicle is actually the Neighborhood HOA Yard Police there to respond to a complaint about your totally average, yet apparently totally unacceptable yard.

susannekerns.com

 

Stage 3:  Admit to the Facebook-World that your jungle of a yard is completely out of control and a danger to neighbor children and animals who could be entangled and trapped forever. Beware! Stay Away! Nay, LOOK AWAY! No one should be subjected to this level of turf-travesty!

susannekerns.comStage 4: Wonder if the complaint was actually about the weeds, or about the political and social beliefs of the woman behind the weeds who is vocal about running a pro-LGBTQ+ site called Informed Parents of Austin.

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Stage 5:  Send an email to your awesome, all-natural, yard guy, who, like most yard services, is working around mother nature’s schedule because it has been raining just about every motherf*%$#g day for what feels like the past 17 months.

Stage 6: Find a letter from the HOA in your mail box two days later. Remember you’re late paying your HOA dues.  Wonder how you’re a 45 year old woman who has so many strikes against you with the HOA that you’re not 100% sure which issue this letter is about.  Open it.  It’s the yard.  Forget to pay HOA dues for a few more weeks.

susannekerns.com

 

Stage 7: Get increasingly ragey on the drive home from the mailbox. Pull over to the HOA common area next to your street and start taking a bunch of, “you think I have weeds, well look at YOUR weeds,” photos like an angry two year old.

susannekerns.com

 

Stage 8: Remember that the reason that your HOA common areas have some weeds is that they have a serious commitment to the environment and work their asses off to maintain common areas through hand-weeding and natural, non-chemical methods. Remember that this is one of your favorite parts of your HOA: that they value the environment and the health of our kids and streams over having perfectly pristine grass. Wonder why they don’t allow the same environmental commitment from their residents. Presume that they simply have to respond to reports made by other residents and probably had better things to do with their day than come take pictures of my yard.  Decide to focus rage on neighbor who submitted the complaint instead.

Stage 9: Work through rage by spending an afternoon hand-pulling weeds in the rain until you’re completely drenched because Austin, Texas is like some freakish jungle where weeds grow three inches in a day. Think of all the times that you packed up your lawnmower to go mow the grass at the school to remember that you’re not a bad person. Break your no-chemical rule and go nuclear on some weeds before they can enter your nice, next door neighbor’s lawn.

Stage 10:  Wonder if it WAS the nice, next door neighbor who turned you in. Get really sad. Remember the time she made you a platter of nice cookies for Christmas.  Decide even if it was her, the cookies make up for it.

susannekerns.com
Not actual photo. Hers were even prettier but I ate them all too fast to get a picture.

Stage 10: Complete a Kill Bill style list of all the neighbors who have ever wronged you. Realize that you actually like everyone in your neighborhood and if some stranger was concerned enough about the weeds to contact HOA without having the balls to just come talk about it, then they have issues that even the most pristine golf-course turn can’t fix.

In closing: To the neighbor who called me in, and to all of the neighbors who want to call me in but don’t: I’m trying. This whole “organic lawn care” thing was much easier in Seattle, but I’m not giving up. Also, if you think the front yard is bad, for the love of all that is holy, you better steer clear of our back yard.

Also, watch out for that whole “glass houses/throwing rocks” thing. As you look down on me from your lush lawn, remember that watering your lawn more than once a week is a violation too.  😉

Austin Watering Schedule

 

The moral of the story: Let’s try keeping the “neighborly” in neighborhoods. If an issue is important enough to report to the HOA, it’s important enough to do the neighborly thing and go talk to your neighbor face to face. You never know, they may be going through something that is keeping them from being able to attend to whatever issue is bothering you.

Let’s save the HOA’s valuable resources for real grievances that you haven’t been able to work out neighbor to neighbor….like that crazy lady who keeps making Bingo games out of our neighborhood’s Facebook group.

 

SusanneKerns.com

 

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How to Clean A Garage in Under Two Months

How to Clean A Garage in Under Two Months

For those not familiar with my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group, each day we have a themed micro-resolution and Friday is F-It Friday, where the F can stand for Fix, as in, I’m going to fix that hole in the wall that has been bugging me for the past seven years.  The F can also stand for the more traditional F-word, and that’s when we just say F-It and give ourselves permission to permanently delete something off of our to-do list without actually doing it, because, well….F-it.

Today’s F-It Friday is brought to you by: My Garage. The F lies somewhere between the two examples above, in that I finally said, F-It, I’m finally going to Fix it before someone gets injured.

I forgot to take a photo to truly capture the depth and breadth of the donation mountain that had taken over, so I borrowed this one from the internet.

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Actually, our garage is pretty organized around the perimeter, it’s the center of the garage that has become overloaded with:

  • Hoses, stored for the winter
  • Boxes from a dozen different appliances, we keep “just in case something happens and we need to return it.”
  • Piles of clothes and toys to donate or sell.
  • Broken lawn decor.
  • Outdoor cushions in various stages of being destroyed by the dog.
  • A rug covered by muddy dog paw prints that I need to have the space to lie flat and clean, but I can’t because there’s a pile of stuff in the middle of the garage.

Every time I look at it, I get so overwhelmed that I find any and every excuse to ignore it.

“I can’t sell the Playmobil castle, because it’s missing one of the knights.”

“I need to look up that doll on Ebay, because what if I donate it and it’s worth $100?”

So I just back out of there, pretending I didn’t actually need the thing that’s too dangerous to reach since it’s located on the other side of Mt. Garage.

via GIPHY

Unfortunately, I’m running out of time for excuses.  Two years ago my husband put a down payment on a new Tesla and it is supposed to be ready in the next couple of months. Since the Tesla is an electric car which needs to be plugged in, for the first time in the eight years in our house, we will actually need to be able to park a car in the garage.

For some reason, he doesn’t like my idea of parking on top of the pile, so it’s time to address the elephant (or the pile the size of an elephant) in the room.

Since the hardest part for me is dealing with the overwhelming thought of having to do it all, I’ve decided, F-it – I’ve got a couple of months – I’m going to focus on throwing away/selling/giving away just one item a day.

Sure, I would prefer the immediate gratification of having a great before and after photo over the course of the weekend, but I would also like having the gratification of keeping my anxiety and sanity in tact.

What’s your BIG to-do item that you could break down to “one item a day”?  Say F-It, and take that first step today!

 

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While You’re Being a Squeaky Wheel, Don’t Forget To Keep Rolling

While You’re Being a Squeaky Wheel, Don’t Forget To Keep Rolling

 

As a little “Thank You Thursday” inspiration, I want to introduce the concept of a “Grateful Wheel.”

You’re probably more familiar with the concept of the “Squeaky Wheel.” You know, that’s when we try to affect change by being very vocal and squeaky about our opinions and complaints.

Unfortunately, when we’re being squeaky, it’s often when we’re fighting *against* something instead of fighting *for* something.

The thing about being in Squeaky Wheel mode is that we often confuse noise with movement. We end up squeaking in place to make ourselves feel like we’re doing something, but we’re just filling the space with our noise and negativity and causing others to squeak even louder to try to be heard.

Sure, there are times when when we need to squeak, but let’s try to balance out our squeaks by also being “Grateful Wheels.” It’s a gentle shift of going from just fighting against something to also supporting the opposite of that thing.

– Instead continually complaining about the clothes all over your kid’s floor, thank them for clearing their dinner dishes without being asked. (I need to work on this one.)

– Write a thank you letter to let a business know about an employee who went above and beyond. Maybe they’ll get a bonus and that other employee you wanted to complain about will be inspired to do better.

– While you’re boycotting a company which has policies you don’t agree with, be sure to also say thank you and show your support for a company that you do agree with.

Basically, while you’re squeaking about important things that need to be heard, make sure you’re taking time to say thank you for the things that are already rolling in the right direction.

 

SusanneKerns.com

“Thankful Thursday” is one of the daily micro-resolution prompts over at my Dusting Off My Parachute Group.  Come join us!

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Before You Get Angry at the WHAT, ask WHY?

Before You Get Angry at the WHAT, ask WHY?

People are angry these days, and justifiably so.

The government is a mess, kids are getting shot in schools and the world just feels like a scary and dangerous place.

Unfortunately, the justifiable anger from some of these big-world-issues seems to be spreading into our small, every day personal interactions.

  • Cursing the guy who cuts you off in traffic and speeds off.
  • Starting a fight with the person who is being a “Sancti-Mommy” online.
  • Snapping at your kid because they forgot something important at school.

I’m not above it.  We’ve ALL done it before.  Heck, I have probably done it today.

Recently, I have been listening to Jenny Nash, Book Coach, on the Mom Writes podcast. One of the main points she brings up frequently is that when it come to writing a story, it’s not about the WHAT, it’s about the WHY.

For example, if someone posted on Facebook highlighting the “WHAT” details of a story about a teenage girl who snuck out at night to go to a party, even after her mother expressly forbid it, the comment section would be on fire.

“Teenagers these days have no respect for their parents!”

“Where were the parents? My kids would never be able to sneak out because I pay attention to my kids!”

“I bet that girl is having sex and doing drugs!”

Now, what if the original poster of the story clarified, “actually, the story is Cinderella.”

When you know the WHYs about the evil step sisters, the prince and the pure, kind, innocence of the girl that you just branded a slut in the comment section, you’re able to make judgements based on the whole story not just a few select details.

I think that a lot of us could take this book-writing concept of what vs why to heart in day to day life.

Perhaps:

  • The guy who cut you off in traffic was distracted because he just found out his wife was taken to the hospital and he’s rushing to get to her.
  • The “Sancti-Mommy” on Facebook is overprotective of her child because she lost a sibling when she was young.
  • Your child forgot their book at school because they were distracted trying to help protect a friend from a bully.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s always an excuse for bad behavior – sometimes people are just jerks. But perhaps the next time you feel a rage building about the “what” that someone just did, take a few minutes to consider there just may be a “why.”

SusanneKerns.com

 

This post is from “Wish ‘n Well Wednesday” at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group.  Join us there for more daily micro-resolutions.

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For more great writing tips, definitely check out the Podcast, Mom Writes (with Abby Mathews, Melanie Parish & Jennie Nash,) and Jennie Nash’s Author Accelerator Program.

The Cinderella example was from a great writing workshop I went to recently by Jennifer Ziegler.  Check out her books here.

Today’s F-It Friday is brought to you by the Austin Half Marathon whose motto should be: “The Austin Half Marathon: the race that’s impossible to train the appropriate 12 weeks for because the prior 12 weeks include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every negative weather condition known to man.” (That wouldn’t really fit on a bumper sticker though.)
 
So today’s F-It is me giving up my hope of illegally selling my race bib to someone else and risk being permanently banned from future races and accepting the fact that, F-It….I guess I’m running a half marathon in a thunderstorm on Sunday!
 
The additional F-It part is that I’ve given up the hope of *running* it and have accepted that this is going to be a *run/walk* (emphasis on the WALK part) not just because it would probably be impossible to run the whole thing at this point, but also because it’s just irresponsible to risk injury since I haven’t completed the proper training.
 
Do a little early Wish ‘n Well for me since I’ll be wishing that I’m still well enough to walk on Monday morning.
 
What standards are you lowing for yourself on this F-It Friday?Join us at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group and let us know!
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Thank A Teacher

Thank A Teacher

I love teachers.

Sure, everyone “loves” teachers, but I LOVE teachers. I am in awe of their patience and grace under the pressure of handling the demands of 15x more kids than I’ve ever had to deal with, FOR SEVEN HOURS A DAY!  EVERY DAY!

My favorite example: I was once visiting my daughter’s fourth grade classroom to take class photos for the yearbook. The class that her teacher team-taught was gathering, very enthusiastically, in the hall for a class trip to the Nutcracker. She came out to greet me, while nonchalantly holding a trashcan that a student had just puked in and simultaneously arranging escorts to take said student to the office and getting students filed off onto the bus.

To me, even just as a spectator, this experience was so traumatic that I’m still writing about four years later.

To her, it was Thursday.

That’s when I truly realized that even when I’m not there to witness it, teachers are addressing every conceivable combination of child-related issue you can imagine at least a hundred times a day.

And then there are the non-child-related issues: the parents, the administration, the money they have to take from their own pocket to care for their students.

And then there are the truly unimaginable situations: The fire drills. The earthquake drills. The tornado drills. The gunman drills.

And the situations when those drills are not drills.

When we see the tragic accounts about school shootings like yesterday’s in Florida, no one is every surprised to see headlines like, “Geography Teacher Died Saving His Students.” We know that in addition to all the gifts of love, patience and learning that our teachers give our kids every single day, that they would not think twice when it comes to protecting their kids from danger.

Because they are their kids.

Quantitatively, they spend more waking hours with our children than we do every day. Qualitatively, they likely know as much about the inner workings of each of those kids as their parents do, if not more.

I hope that I will never have to say “Thank You” to a teacher for giving that ultimate gift of risking their life for one of their students, but I will use this tragedy as a reminder to give thanks to teachers for the gifts that they give our kids every day.

I hope you will too.

SusanneKerns.com

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Kids > Guns

Kids > Guns

Sorry, everyone – there won’t be anything funny posted here today. In fact, there will probably be a lot of completely unfunny things posted here.

You see, I just finally watched one of the many videos from the latest school massacre.

I have to admit, I was too cowardly to watch them yesterday. I was also too cowardly to watch them today, but one autoplayed in my Twitter feed and I saw it.

I didn’t want to see it, because I did not want to feel it.

I was afraid that if I saw it, and felt it, that would make it real.

Like a Schrödinger cat. I didn’t want to “open the box” and make 17 people die.

But I did see it.

I saw dead children lying in pools of blood.

I saw the look on the surviving children’s faces as they were forced to file out of the school, stepping over their friends’ dead bodies and strewn backpacks.

To the NRA, the fear mongering lawmakers, and all the American citizens who support them through their ideals and their votes: it is time for YOU to see it too.

It is time for you to value our children’s lives more than you value your precious guns.

It is time for you to stop blaming mental illness while you strip funding to care for the mentally ill and strip the laws that limit their access to guns.

It is time for you to value the life of school age child as much as you value the life of an embryo.

It is time for our children’s lives to be worth more to you than donor money or the next election cycle.

It is time for you to sit down in front of hours of footage of gunned down children, toothpicks holding your eyelids open, Clockwork Orange style until you finally SEE it.

Until then, I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers, because, if there is a God, you are going to hell. And if there’s not, living without the capacity for empathy or compassion must be its own special hell.

Let’s “Take Two” to Talk About Taking a Number Two

Let’s “Take Two” to Talk About Taking a Number Two

Today, in an exercise in efficiency, (and laziness,) I am combining Take Two Tuesday and Wish ‘n Well Wednesday into one handy post.

In my defense, there’s actually a good explanation for combining the two: My wish for your wellness is that you “take-two“….as in a #2

Yep, as in:

Take 2 For a #2

The inspiration for writing a post about going #2 appropriately came to me in the waiting room of my Proctologist, right about the same time I posted this on Facebook.

SusanneKerns.com

 

I’ve been sitting in proctologists’ waiting rooms since I was in my twenties due to chronic issues with hemorrhoids. Since I have a well-earned aversion to the H-word, I’m just going to call them “Piles” from now on, which is actually the proper word for them. It is also the french word for “batteries,” which has nothing to do with anything, except for the fact that I’m trying to think about anything but piles right now.

How does a woman in her twenties end up having dozens of pile-removal procedures which escalate into the grand finale of having a hemorrhoidectomy at age 40?

Part of me thinks it has something to do with my unnatural fascination with all of the Preparation H commercials that used to play during The Price is Right back in the 80s. I was a bit of a hypochondriac and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to catch whatever it was for. No one in my family would give me an acceptable explanation for what “inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue” was so I was left to rely on a very young Bryan Cranston, and confusing cartoons of “oxygen” bopping into what appears to be a large mosquito bite, to explain it to me.

Like that author of “The Secret” says, what you concentrate on, you manifest into your life….or in my case, you manifest into your anus.

The more likely cause of my piles of piles was a bit of hereditary misfortune combined with years and years of holding it.

SusanneKerns.com

Holding it because I didn’t want to poop among all my co-workers in the company restroom.

Holding it because I was convinced that every patron in every restaurant was timing the length of time between me entering the restroom and exiting.

Holding it because I didn’t want some boyfriend to know that I didn’t just store decades worth of food tidily in my intestines.

So, instead of facing a few moments of pooping embarrassment, I’m now paying penance by offering the ultimate embarrassment to the Pile-Gods by sharing my ass-woes with the entire internet.

Since most of you are moms, and you have become accustomed to pooping with a full audience, you have probably let go of your poo inhabitions.

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But I’m hopeful that my pain can be your gain, and that you’ll pay it forward to the next generation. If your kiddo is having a poo issue, nip it in the BUTT (I know the saying is bud, but I couldn’t help myself.)

Here are a few handy articles for helping kids not get in the habit of holding it.

Parents.com – When Your Child Just Can’t Go

Today’s Parent – What to do When Your Kid is Afraid to Go Poo

And as a little reminder for all of us from WebMD:

Eat fiber. A good way to get it is from plant foods — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.

Drink water. It will help you avoid hard stools and constipation, so you strain less during bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables, which have fiber, also have water in them.

Exercise. Physical activity, like walking a half-hour every day, is another way to keep your blood and your bowels moving.

and of course…..

Don’t wait to go. Use the toilet as soon as you feel the urge.

 

Look forward to the next installment in my TMI butt series: “How NOT to Reflexively Punch Your Doctor In The Face During Your Post-Hemorrhoidectomy-Check-Up.”

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