The Answer to All of Society’s Problems


As you’ve probably already heard, as it’s rightfully been all over the news & social media, there were 66 people shot in Chicago this past weekend, 12 of whom died.  These numbers are absolutely astounding on the face of it & yet for Chicago it’s really NOT all that shocking.  After all, the city has had some of the highest rates of violent crime, including murder, for years now- despite some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.  It’s almost like those laws don’t actually work… Hmmm…gun free zones

Anyway, this whole situation is obviously incredibly sad & says a lot of negative things about our society.  However, what continues to amaze me is that so many people are looking to the government for a solution when the real answer lies within our own power.  The biggest problem our society faces today is that entirely too many people believe government, specifically more rules & regulations, is the answer to all of our problems.  In reality, quite the opposite is usually true.  For decades now we’ve been handing over more & more of our freedoms to supposedly increase our safety- & yet we  are having more & more mass shootings & most of us would probably say we feel less safe now than we did in the past!  Hmm….no more big govt

I could go on & on for quite a while but for the sake of brevity (since Rachel may well wake up from her nap soon), I’ll go for short & sweet today.  The answer to all of society’s ills, from poverty to single motherhood to drugs to gangs to violent crime, is simple.  The answer is we need to focus on building strong families.  The evidence is there, folks.  Time & time again we can see that regardless of race or economic status children raised in stable, loving families fair the best in all regards.  They are more likely to succeed academically & less likely to get involved in drugs or other criminal activities.  The list goes on & on.  The answer to reducing violent crime & drug use & poverty & all these issues our society faces today is not more government.  It’s not more laws & regulations.  You can not legislate out issues as complex as poverty & racial disparities.  These things can only be addressed by building strong families.family

I realize I am sounding far more conservative here than I actually am.  Unlike many who would agree with me on everything I’ve said thus far, I actually don’t have a problem with families not being the traditional nuclear family.  For example, I think it’s perfectly fine for stable homosexual couples to raise children.  The point is that children need to be raised in loving families who love them, discipline them, & raise them to be kind & productive members of society.  We have to stop expecting the schools to raise our children.  We have to stop expecting everyone else to take responsibility for our lives & our children’s lives.  It doesn’t work that way.  Until we start taking back that responsibility we will not see the positive changes in society that we would like to see.  Families are the most basic building block of society & until we focus on fixing that, everything else is do is in vain.  It’s really that simple.

The Inadequacy Illusion


Do you ever find yourself feeling inadequate in today’s era of social media?  I know I do.  Actually I don’t think I need social media to feel inadequate from time to time, but I do think it can exacerbate things which is why I’m trying to limit my use of it.  Anyway, the following is a list of the things that make me feel inadequate on a regular basis.

inadequate mom

I laughed! But in all seriousness, I don’t do crunchy mom blogs because I can only imagine how inadequate they would make me feel.  I ain’t got time for that.

  • I’m 20 lbs overweight
  • I don’t eat as healthily as I should (though pretty well by American standards)
  • I hate running
  • My jeans are not a single digit size anymore
  • I hate decorating, crafts, scrap-booking, & all that cutesy stuff
  • I get frustrated with my toddler way more than I feel like I “should”
  • I don’t eat all organic, non-GMO or use only all-natural products . . . or even really care to do so
  • I have no interest in going back to school for a master’s or doctorate degreedont compare

And the following is a list of reasons why all of the above are basically nonsense

  • I’m stronger than the average woman
  • I eat a lot more healthily than I used to
  • I love lifting weights & taking long walks
  • I’m not defined by the size of jeans I wear . . . And I AM working on losing weight because I know it is important for my long-term health.
  • Anyone who judges me for not being a “Pinterest mom” isn’t my friend anyway
  • Toddlers are frustrating by definition . . . But also sweet & adorable, thankfully!
  • Listen, we’re all dying some day.  Sure it’s great to be as healthy as possible but I’m not going to obsess over every little ingredient in my life . . . Besides, arsenic is 100% natural- & it will surely kill you.  So yeah, there’s that.
  • I have the rest of my life to work or go back to school . . . But my baby will only be little once, so I’m going to soak up these years while I can because I know they’ll be gone before I know it.pinterest mom

Moreover, I’m trying to remind myself that for every time I feel bad about myself for one of the above reasons, there is probably someone out there who wishes she (or he) had my life.  I refuse to berate myself for having feelings of inadequacy because that’s just a never-ending cycle of guilt that gets me nowhere, but I AM trying to take a step back & think about all the many wonderful things in my life & how grateful I am to be where I am today.  At the end of the day, I think we all have this illusion that our lives are inadequate in one way or another- & we just need to learn that it’s just that- an illusion.  I might not be as patient as I wish I were- but at least I’m aware of it & working on it.  I might not be the perfect embodiment of attachment parenting- or any other parenting model, for that matter- but I’m trying my best & I have a happy, healthy child who is proof that I must be doing something right.  And right now, that is good enough for me.

 

“Am I the Only One?”- Mom Edition


Hello, moms of the world.  Does anyone else feel like they just don’t relate well to babies & toddlers?  I love Rachel with every fiber of my being & there are some things I absolutely love about this age (18 months) but I also have to admit that sometimes I really struggle.  The tantrums are starting &- just like she did with her screaming fits as an infant- she reserves the vast majority of them for me.  I know in some ways this is a compliment because it means she is most comfortable with me.  After all, even as adults we typically save our “tantrums” for our spouses or significant others because they’re the people we feel the most comfortable with & we know they won’t just kick us to the curb even if we aren’t our most lovable.  But it’s still hard, especially since I’m a very logical, pragmatic person & babies & toddlers are anything BUT logical & pragmatic.motherhood not for sissies

Sometimes I just can’t help but look at other moms & feel like I’m on the outside looking in at all these women who just naturally know how to relate to babies & toddlers, meanwhile I’m over here like “I have no idea what I’m doing.”  I know that we all struggle some days & no one is actually perfect, but I constantly hear moms say how the first few years are the “best times” & I just can’t help but feel like that isn’t going to be true for me.  Trust me, I LOVE my time with Rachel.  I am in no way rushing things.  I know I will have loads of wonderful memories from these early years (I already do).  Yet I just can’t help but feel like my time to really blossom as a mom is going to be when she’s a bit older.  And is that really so horrible?  I don’t think so.outsidelookingin

Trust me, I love watching Rachel explore the world around her & find so much joy in the simplest things like twigs or leaves or blades of grass.  I LOVE it.  But I also can’t wait to be able to take her hiking in the mountains & to concerts & to really explore the world around us in a more adult way.  I know she’ll lose her “innocence” as she gets older & while that is hard to accept I think it’s worth it because she’ll gain so much more.  And is that really such an awful thing?  I think not.Anxiety mental health symbol isolated on white. Mental disorder icon design

Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.  My anxiety likes to convince me that I’m crazy & that no one else feels like I do, but logically I know there have to be other moms out there like me- even if we are the minority.

You’re Not Special


2018 is shaping up to be an excellent year for rock music.  Quite a few great albums have already been released thus far & we’re not even half way through the year yet.  One of those albums is Shinedown’s latest effort Attention, Attention which debuted just this past Friday.  I enjoyed their previous album Threat to Survival but it was definitely not my favorite of theirs largely because it just felt too “soft” to me.  However, Attention, Attention is clearly a return to a heavier sound which I’m really pleased to hear.  Ironically though, it’s one of the lighter songs on the record that has really resonated with me this week.  The song is number twelve on the disc & is entitled Specialattention shinedown

I’m not sure why this song is speaking to me so much this week but it is.  Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy to get caught up in the anxieties & hassles of life & get stuck in the trap of thinking “I’m the only person who’s ever experienced this,” “No one really knows what I’m going through,” or “Nobody gets me!”  The truth is we are all unique in some ways & yet we are all the same in so many more ways.  We all struggle with the same basic things in life & yet so often we allow our differences to divide us rather than allowing our shared humanity to unite us.diverse kids

Maybe it wasn’t the intended message of this song but I find it really inspirational to stop feeling sorry for myself for certain things & to just get up, get going, & kick ass like I know I can if I, to borrow a Nike phrase, JUST DO IT.  In the social media age, it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others & feel like other people have things more together than we do but such thinking gets us nowhere; it literally accomplishes nothing.  And there is absolutely no reason to compare our lives anyway.  We all end up in the same grave at the end.  Trying to compete with others is a battle in which no one wins but everyone loses.  comparison

The song’s lyrics are below.  Definitely check it out in the link I posted above.

Hurry up before you go & get old
Hurry up before your blood runs cold
None of us were ever meant to stay
We’re all gonna find out one day

You see life’s too short to run it like a race
So it’s never gonna matter if you win first place
Cause we’re all the same

Stop waiting on your fifteen minutes of fame
Cause you’re not special
I’m not trying to rain on your parade
But you’re not special
I’m not trying to bring you down
I’m not trying to sound so ineffectual
But you’re not special

Hurry up before the bottle kicks in
Before the poison & the pain sets in
If you take it down a notch & you let me explain
That on this earth we are all the same
And all I can say is

Stop waiting on your fifteen minutes of fame
Cause you’re not special
I’m not trying to rain on your parade
But you’re not special
I’m not trying to bring you down
I’m not trying to sound so ineffectual
Cause you’re not special

We all live to love
We all fall apart
We’d all go to war
For the faint of heart
Instead we’re condescending
There are no happy endings
I won’t hold my breath
I won’t cast a doubt
I’d never sell you out
But I’ll give you one last chance to own it
Cause you’re not a God or a poet so

Stop waiting on your fifteen minutes of fame
Cause you’re not special
I’m not trying to rain on your parade
But you’re not special
I’m not trying to bring you down
I’m not trying to sound so ineffectual
But you’re not special

not special

Why Rodan & Fields?


Back in January I posted about joining Rodan & Fields as an independent skincare consultant.  My life has been a total whirlwind lately so I haven’t posted on here in ages but I’ve really been wanting to write a post exploring more in depth about why I chose THIS particular company.  Rachel just went down for a nap so I’m going to take advantage of this free time to share my story with y’all.  Because I’ve got other tasks I need to accomplish during her nap time this is going to be in bullet format & probably not as eloquent as I’d like but I’ll do the best I can.rodan and fields

  1. First & foremost, I joined Rodan & Fields because I had already been using the products for almost an entire year & I knew that these products really work.  This company isn’t a gimmick.  It was started by two world-renowned dermatologists (Dr. Katie Rodan & Dr. Kathy Fields) who created these products based on their extensive experience in the skincare field.  They are also extremely astute businesswomen who have built a billion dollar skincare company in a very short amount of time!  R&F products actually used to be sold in department stores like Nordstrom but the doctors realized that that business model was swiftly dying.  They knew e-commerce is where the money lies these days.  So they changed their whole business & decided to share the profits with independent distributors rather than big corporations!  Leading consultants in this business are everything from stay at home moms to nurses, doctors, lawyers, & teachers.  Being a saleswoman does NOT come naturally to me.  Hello, I’m the girl who HATED school fundraisers because I dreaded the thought of asking anyone to buy anything from me!  I never want to “burden” people or to make them think I’m only trying to make money off of them.  But when R&F’s Unblemish regimen cleared up my acne for the first time in almost two decades & gave me the clearest, most beautiful skin of my life, I knew I’d finally found something that was too good to keep to myself.  (Getting an extra discount on my favorite products for being a consultant is pretty nice too!)  Being an independent skincare consultant isn’t easy.  You do actually have to do the work to make a profit.  BUT these products are so effective that they really do sell themselves!rodan and fields products
  2. R&F’s business model is very simple.  A lot of MLM companies have a very complicated system for determining commissions.  And/or they require consultants to stock inventory, ship their own products, or sell a certain amount of products or recruit a certain number of new consultants each month in order to earn commission or continue to be a consultant.  R&F doesn’t do ANY of those things.  I don’t have to stock inventory.  I don’t have to ship orders (other than samples I CHOOSE to send to folks).  I don’t have to host parties.  I don’t have to recruit any other consultants.  I don’t have to sell a certain amount each month.  My life is way too busy to bother with all that stuff.  All I have to do is talk to people about our products, send them samples if they want some, & help them discover the best skin of their life . . . which leads right into my next point.Euromonitor #1 Skincare Brand in US 2017
  3. Great skin = greater confidence.  I have experienced this first hand after using R&F products, so one of my reasons for joining this business is the desire to help others achieve the same.  Furthermore, everyone has skin!  Not everyone wants jewelry, makeup, scented products, cleaning products, or nutritional supplements.  There is nothing wrong with selling any of those items, just to be clear.  I’m actually a customer of several other MLM companies who do sell those items.  But I’m going to be a real nerd here & share with you something I remember from history class back in high school.  (For my Appomattox folks, it was probably Mr. Servis’s tenth grade World History Part II class.)  In any case, I remember one of my history teachers talking about why the British empire was in the end much larger & more successful than the Spanish, Portuguese, French, or Italian empires.  The reason is that the British invested in wood & agriculture.  While these things don’t have the glitz & glamour of gold or silver, they’re essential items that people always need, regardless of the economy, war, or any other societal factor.  So while the British empire started slower, it actually grew to be the largest & most successful because it was so sustainable.  People might get tired of a lot of products they buy but no one is going to get tired of great skin.  And they’re never going to outgrow the need for quality skincare either.Euromonitor #1 Skincare Brand in North America
  4. Lastly, the most important reason I joined this company is to make it easier for me to continue working only part time as a nurse & thus be able to stay home with Rachel most days of the week.  I truly have no idea how full time working moms survive.  I’ve picked up some extra shifts at work lately & I’m definitely dragging because of it!  I’m not ready to give up my nursing career but I also LOVE the balance I have in my life only working part time.  However, I do miss the money I used to make working full time . . . The beautiful thing about R&F is that I can contribute some extra money to our family without being away from Rachel!  I can work this business anywhere!  All I need is a phone/computer with internet access.

    IMG_20180413_074526_089

    Here’s my baby!

I’ll end this post with a link to my website where you can check out all of R&F’s amazing products.  If you have any questions about this business or our products, please comment on this post or, better yet, email me at rlcarterrn@gmail.com.  I look forward to helping you achieve the best skin (& longest lashes!) of your life- & the confidence that comes with that!

Bad Mom Days


This is going to be word vomit because I’m having a rough day & I’m trying to bang this out before Rachel wakes up again.

Any other moms have bad mom days?  I know y’all must because it can’t just be me.  The last week or so has been a bit rough because Rachel is going through a nap transition in which she is slowly working down to one nap a day.  The problem is she gets up so early that sometimes she really does need a morning nap AND an afternoon nap- yet some days that afternoon nap just does NOT happen.  And that makes for one REALLY fussy toddler- & one really frustrated mama!

People are always telling me how happy & easy Rachel is which of course means at times like this when I’m struggling I constantly find myself thinking “Oh gosh, if this is what an easy toddler is like, how would I survive with a difficult one?”  Basically this is the exact same scenario I ran into when she was a newborn.  I felt like I was barely keeping my head above the water sometimes, yet people were always clamoring on about how easy she was.  So inside I was thinking “I’ll never make it if I have a difficult baby!”

thomas paine quote

He must have spent a lot of time arguing with toddlers. Ha!

I’m trying to remind myself that all moms struggle & that it’s ok if the baby/toddler phase isn’t my favorite.  Trust me, most of the time I really do enjoy Rachel’s current stage.  But it’s also really hard for me because babies & toddlers (especially young toddlers like her) do not have the capacity to understand logic & reason.  And if you know me at all, you know I am a very logical person . . .

So, as you can imagine, dealing with a person who is not capable of understanding logic & whose behavior is sometimes anything but logical can be quite a challenge.  On days like today I find myself feeling so inadequate because I feel like maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a baby/toddler mom.  I feel like I’ll be an awesome mom when Rachel is older but right now I feel like other moms who really love babies & toddlers must be so much better than me.  I know that’s ridiculous & I must actually be doing a pretty damn good job or Rachel wouldn’t be so “easy & happy” like everyone tells me.  But it’s the way I feel right now.behind every kid

Then of course I start thinking about all the women I know who’ve struggled (or are still struggling) with infertility or who have had miscarriages.  And I feel so guilty for getting frustrated with Rachel when I know I should just be thankful I have her.  And trust me, I am very thankful for her!  However, that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t hard.  But the guilt is real, y’all.  mom guilt

Oh yeah, I also cut my finger while trying to cut a spaghetti squash this afternoon.  Thank goodness for a sweet neighbor who was able to come over & watch Rachel for a bit while I cleaned up my finger & got the bleeding to stop.  Clumsy-lina strikes again!

Ok, that’s it.  Just trying to decompress a bit so I can feel a bit more sane & face the rest of the day with a more peaceful brain.

 

The Rise of Incivility


In the wake of the horrific shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida last week, I have once again seen how truly hateful people can be to each other. You would think tragedies like this would make us realize how important it is to be kind to others but instead it seems that we devolve into a chaotic world of (verbally) crucifying everyone who doesn’t agree with us. This comes from both “sides” of the political equation but I for one have found it be worse from the liberal side, ironically from those who frequently preach tolerance. If you disagree with some (not all, obviously) of these folks, they are so quick to tell you to go f*** yourself & to call you all kinds of horrible things (yes, this has happened to me). When you call them out on this infantile behavior, they have the gall to tell you that you deserve it for being such a horrible person!

gun-rights

I am really tired of being told that just because I support gun rights & don’t believe gun control laws are the answer to stopping school shootings that I am some horrible evil person who is obviously an inept mother. I would never make such claims about folks whose opinions are different than mine & I’d really love to receive the same respect back.

For years I thought the “religious right” were insufferable because of their frequent holier than thou attitude. Lo & behold I have found that the “liberal left” are often (not always, of course) equally as guilty of this obnoxious attitude. As it turns out a great deal of adults- both liberal & conservative- seem to truly enjoy having a smug sense of moral superiority over others. Argh.

dont have to agree to be kind

I really do not understand this puerile behavior. I have close friends who are far more liberal than I am, as well as close friends who are far more conservative than I am. But I get along with all of them. Why? Because we are all decent people! We know how to show respect to others & practice self-control. It’s really not that hard. I don’t see why so many adults struggle with this simple concept. I come across people I disagree with all the time but it doesn’t bother me. I am confident enough in my own beliefs that I don’t feel the need to lambaste anyone who disagrees with me. I certainly see no need to be rude or obnoxious to make my point or to try to bully others into changing their minds (it never works anyway). It’s a favorite ploy nowadays to call anyone who disagrees with you racist, sexist, or some other negative -ist. But I see no need to stoop to such tactics (though they are admittedly very effective) because all it does is shut down the chance of any productive discourse.

gun free zones.jpg

I for one think tragedies like last week’s make it obvious that having our schools as gun free zones is just an invitation to violence. It makes all of our precious children & teachers sitting ducks. Sure, I’d love to live in a world where it wasn’t necessary to have armed security (or even just teachers who were trained & thus could act as security if necessary) at our schools- but that just isn’t the world we live in. I know many are calling for bans on AR-15s & other such weapons & part of me is tempted to agree. But the thing is, criminals will always find a way to get these weapons because they are still going to be available, whether legally or illegally, even if we ban them now. We can already see how effective our gun laws are at keeping handguns out of the hands of convicted felons (hint- they aren’t!). If we could go back in time & make these weapons unavailable to anyone outside of law enforcement or the military, perhaps that would solve some of our problems. But we simply can’t do that. Should we make these kinds of weapons harder to obtain? Yes. Should someone with a history like Nikolas Cruz have been able to purchase weapons so easily? No. Should we do a better job of following up on reports of mentally unstable folks with access to weapons (like Nikolas Cruz)? Absolutely.

gun free zones dont work.jpg

But it seems to me a lot of these horrible tragedies could be averted by simply having a good guy with a gun readily available to fight off the bad guy with a gun. Anyone remember the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas where a private armed citizen took out the crazed murdered before police could get to him? Yeah, funny how that case didn’t get nearly as much media attention. Oh wait, it doesn’t fit the mainstream narrative that guns are always evil.

steven willeford

Stephen Willeford, the private citizen who shot the shooter at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX in Nov 2017

Not to mention the people clamoring for more gun laws are often politicians who are protected by their own security who- guess what!- carry guns. Amazing! Now how is it that these folks think they are worthy of armed security but we as lowly private citizens- & our children- are not? Is it more likely that they will be attacked because of their positions? Maybe, but they’re also more likely to survive because they do have armed security.

laws dont stop violence

There are many reasons why we are seeing more school shootings these days. And it isn’t just about gun laws. There’s also the fact that there are so many children being raised without fathers. And the fact that mental healthcare is down right abysmal in this country. This is a very multi-faceted problem & anyone who thinks we can solve it purely through legislation is frankly naive. Just take a look at some of the cities with strictest gun laws in our nation (Baltimore, Chicago, & Washington DC come to mind) & you can see how effective strict gun laws are at stopping violent crime (hint: they aren’t!).

kindness dalai lama

The fact that so many grown adults can’t have a civil conversation about something without devolving into name-calling gives me very little hope that our society is going to experience any meaningful change. I frequently hear folks (both conservative & liberal) say they just aren’t going to share their opinions anymore because they are tired of being attacked for their beliefs. As someone who has always hated confrontation I can totally understand this sentiment. But I refuse to be intimidated into silence. And regardless of how uncivil anyone becomes, I will maintain civility because I am an adult with self respect & I don’t believe we will see any meaningful change in our society until we can at least have difficult conversations without behaving like spoiled brats. So go ahead: you can call me any names you want, you can tell me to go f*** myself as often as you like, but you can’t shut up me up because I for one don’t back down that easily.

*Some excellent thoughts on this issue: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qzDKyfeHHa0