Generation X mother seeks professional handler to restage her life as Digital Native

Deprived of the social media network to document her every milestone (due to its regrettable non-existence during peak milestone gathering years), Generation X mother seeks a complete restaging of her life for the last 36 years in order to achieve parity with Digital Native Children she is raising.

Willing to pay for services that include:

Backlog of photo documentation of the following feats:
– fair compare of first and last days of school for each grade level, K-12
– close-up portraits upon the loss of each tooth; before/after of all orthodontic treatments
– reveal of t-shirt sporting message “I’m a Big Sister” upon the birth of each younger sibling
Note: All photo captions should be prefaced with, “And just like that…[she was a 4th grader/she had no more baby teeth/we were a family of 5, etc.]”

Birthday Party

Leveling Up of all Birthday Parties
Whereas matching She-Ra paper plates and party hats once sufficed for “themed birthday party,” this is no longer Instagram adequate. Please coordinate all parties henceforth with the requisite photo booth, rustic signage, and mason jar centerpieces.

Reenactment of Marriage Proposal/Wedding
Proposal should be orchestrated to include some element of surprise but with ample warning for Gen X mom (wearing full make-up, couture ensemble) to look both graceful and shocked, and so as not to clash with Gen X dad (wearing lumberjack chic).
Professional photography/videography should capture event within context of larger narrative of unique love story
Note: Custom hashtag should populate all video/images

proposal

Reenactment of Each Pregnancy so as to afford time and resources for restaging of Gender Reveal (since pulling live baby out of birth canal is no longer adequate determination and is regrettably devoid of pastel-colored cupcakes); Glamorous Photoshoot that blurs lines between boudoir and senior portrait styles; Nursery photo tour on blog to showcase parental readiness for human life form that will not be able to appreciate Noah’s Ark theme for 2-4 more years.

Amber & Tyler's Gender Reveal

Preferential treatment will be given to all applicants who indicate Millennial mindset or generational affiliation.

Compensation commensurate with uptick in Instagram follows for Gen X mom.

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Girlfriend’s Guide to an Alien Invasion at Costco

The following are marks of suspected aliens that may appear trolling the aisles of Costco.* This guide is neither complete nor to be taken seriously.

  • Says to greeter, “I don’t have a membership card. I just want to spend money here– is that not enough?”
  • Does not purchase toilet paper, did not forget
  • Passes leather sectionals and/or flat screen TVs without mentioning something about a football or a bachelorette.
  • Children in cart are neither asleep nor ill-behaved
  • Overheard on cell phone, “I just wandered into this little spot where you can buy a lifetime supply of Cheez-Its. What’s that? No. Not sure what it’s called. I’ll ask.”
  • Asks for a map of sample stands
  • Appears to be trying to run in for a few things and run back out
  • Lingers beyond 4 seconds in the chilled produce room
  • Picks up copy of “Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines and says, “Who would even buy this?” with no sense of irony
  • Buys Kirkland-brand fleece hoodie for mother as birthday gift, not expecting her to figure out where it was purchased
  • Never remarks, What kind of army needs *that* much pickle relish?
  • Volunteers to the cashier, “Plastic bags are fine, unless you have paper.”
  • Derides snack bar, as though charging $1 for a cooked hot dog with unlimited condiments isn’t a roasted miracle on a soft bun in a capitalist society.


*If an alien encounter materializes, Costco members are advised to stand by at a sample kiosk and try not to gawk.

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Why no one tells you how to be a woman

You hear this refrain often. You hear it in fond toasts by groomsmen. You read it in Father’s Day greeting cards with pictures of old timey vehicles on the front, the hood popped open. “You showed me how to be a man,” they say, and these tributes are usually followed by specifics. You showed me how to shave,  how to parallel park, how to hook a fish,  how to cook a perfect ribeye on the grille. Or maybe it’s just a general platitude offered to someone a man admires. A salute to a strong oak of a man who stood firm even when the winds of change or his son’s mood swings or his son’s girlfriend-of-the-month swept through.

I take no issue with this tribute, even if it is sometimes an affectation. We need men to mentor well, to usher in a new generation of moral leaders. We need good men to model virtuous manhood. I don’t think anyone is arguing against this the business of Showing a Boy How to Be a Man.

But no one ever tells you how to be a woman. Never, never have I ever heard a bridesmaid tell another woman,”You showed me how to be a woman.” Mother’s Day Cards are usually covered in flowers with floral script, populated by words like “sacrifice,” “patience,” and “love.” There is no mention of womanhood–there is no holiday or occasion to salute Being a Woman. I have several theories about why this is.

The first is that the business of being a woman is murkier. Womanhood cannot be boiled down to feats like tying a bowtie or changing a tire as are the hallmarks of manhood. Womanhood is evolving for each of us, by its very definition. The entry into womanhood is often marked by a change so profound it is uncomfortable. Just now, for instance, I have lost all 2 of my male readers who are afraid I’m going to mention something about menstruation. The horror. But if we are honest, this is part of the reason womanhood is so veiled in mystery. Each girl will go through a reproductive change at a time over which she has absolutely zero control. If you think about it, it is incredible how something that has been happening since the beginning of time to girls is still something each one has to learn how to navigate for herself. She has to listen to her body, understand its rhythms, overcome the discomfort and pain that reminds her regularly that the business of being a woman is so freaking fluid.

Another reason is that we seem to be afraid of proactive womanhood. Instead, womanhood is often reactive. You don’t have to look far to see evidence of this. We could spend a lot of time discussing what this past presidential election taught us about proactive versus predatory behavior, but it is just a microcosm of a larger culture that favors women tossing up the white flag of surrender rather than canvassing for a cause about which she cares.

This is why Wonder Woman blows us away–because a girl reared by all female elders to fight evil is so radical an idea we don’t even have a context. Then she goes and partners with a mere mortal of a man and doesn’t emasculate him? Holy Novel Narrative, Batman.

If machismo is the affliction of believing too fiercely in one’s manhood so that he belittles women, there should perhaps be an equivalent for women. There is no womanismo, though. Women who are independent to the point of self-sufficiency are often portrayed as simply man-hating. What a shame that no one tells you how to be a woman because that might threaten men.

There is a final reason I believe we don’t tell girls how to be women, and I think it’s the saddest of all. I think it’s because we lack creativity about what it means to be a woman. 

Forgive me if I am too strident here, but why am I more likely to read an article about “How to fight an attacker” than I am “How not to raise a rapist”? Why do colleges and universities need to teach matriculating co-eds about self-defense, about not being ruffied, about the protocols one should follow if one is sexually assaulted?

What if we spent half the time and energy expended toward reacting to the inevitability of rape and instead fueled our energy reserves toward cultivating an equitable world for girls and boys. What if instead of raising awareness about rape culture, we poured a modicum of those resources into investing in the awesomeness of girls and their interests?

Vancouver

Remember those Nike commercials “If you let me play sports…” and all the gnarly residue of girls who are allowed to participate in athletics? Well, it’s 2017 and we don’t need to use that kind of weaksauce language anymore. We don’t let girls play sports. Boys rarely have to ask to be let to do anything. We just encourage them to play sports, if that’s their jam. And we should not be surprised if they grow up to be men who don’t ask permission. Who don’t need consent. In 2017, we don’t let girls play sports. We expect girls to play sports. And we expect them to be the ones coaching us in 10 years.

How sad that our definition of what it means to be a woman is often so lacking in scope and imagination. I’ve heard of so many friends giving their daughters smartPhones and the attendant restrictions. All the things not to do, the people not to follow, the behaviors not to replicate. This is all incredibly important, but what does it leave us with in terms of cultivating creativity in girls? Is there a Girlfriend’s Guide for How to be Awesome Online? A crib sheet for how to be a woman who inspires?

***

I recently was feeling the freight of all this as I sent my daughter to camp. I was nervous about what she might encounter in girl world, bunking with all her besties away from me for a week. I met her counselor who introduced herself with a confident handshake and told me about her plans to become an English secondary education teacher. I was smitten and grateful for Counselor Raquelle. I was reminded how my nervousness could infect my daughter in negative ways, how it sent the message once again that being a girl was a liability and not a plum assignment.

Missing my daughter one evening, I logged onto the online portal of camp photos for that day. My son saw it first, the image of big sister at camp. It was as if she had memorized the Amy Cuddy Ted Talk.

Once again, I was smitten and grateful for another girl. Showing me that being a girl can be proactive, creative and awesome, lest I forget.

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