Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dads, Cry Me a River

In case you're not familiar with the awesome power of dad bloggers, you better brace yourselves for the revolt that's brewing. Not.

A few months ago, there was a big whine-fest in the blogosphere when Ragu poorly executed a social media campaign and some dad bloggers tried to go Motrin moms about the whole thing. Melodramatic headlines like "Ragu Hates Dads" ensued. Shockingly, the world did not stop spinning and life went on as usual.

But a new article in Boston magazine warns about a powerful new movement that's forming: pissed off dads sick of being seen as morons. You know, sick of being objectified and portrayed in a sterotypical light as bumblers who can't cook or clean know, make sauce from scratch.

Here's what I say to those dads: get in line behind the moms/women you think are getting all the respect as gourmet cooks and ass-wipers and house cleaners and...oh, what else are we always getting all the limelight for? You think being treated like a moron is the special domain of dads? Try being a woman for a while.

You know, because we can't do math, and we all love doing crafts, and baking, and, well, home-making. We all hate sex and only do it to get our husbands to do chores. We all want to be nurses or teachers or nurturers...that is, if we have any ambition at all outside the home, which, according to every woman's magazine and consumer product peddler, we do not because everyone knows all women care about is streak-free windows and flawlessly decorated baked goods that are the envy of all the other moms at bake sales, the running of which is the highlight of our lives.

Here's the thing--as a 43 year old mom, I've lived a long time and known plenty of dads. Currently know a lot of dads. And out of those hundreds of dads, there are about zero who are jockeying for the prize position of chief homemaker. That's not to say a few don't pitch in around the house--do some (or even--gasp--all) of the cooking. Some cleaning. Some child-rearing. But those few dads are by far the exception to the rule. I'm pretty sure huge brands aren't going to spend a buttload of money designing campaigns to appeal to a handful of these domesticated men. And here's the thing--even if they did decide to do it--change the stereotypes and swap out the cookie-cutter housewives featured in their ads with men--would that be a good thing? Is that really something men want to strive for-- being objectified not as "beer-swilling bros" but as domestic gods? And if so, why? Is swapping out one stereotype for another somehow better?

The article goes on to quote the publisher and CEO of Good Men Media:

“We think the daddy bloggers are just a couple of years behind the mommy bloggers as a real marketing force”

Really? That's what this is about? Because being known as "daddy blogger" is better than whatever it is you are currently known as? Or because being a "mommy blogger" is such a lucrative enterprise for millions of women? Dads, too, strive to do real work in exchange for coupons or "free" products that they have to pay taxes on? They want in on the "free" giveaways that they a) have to pay taxes on and b) have to pay to ship? Or is it the fortune that mommy blogging brings in that is allowing millions of women to support their families?

How about this--I'll trade you. My "status" as woman and the 70 cents an hour I make to your one dollar an hour? The stereotype marketers peg me as: homemaker, crafter, lover of all things domestic--for your "beer swilling bro" and jar sauce user? I'll take it. Because if using jar sauce makes you a moron, I'm already one anyway--may as well get out of my other domestic duties and make more money while I'm at it.

2011 Movie Recap

It's that time of year again...time for my movie recap. In case you don't know this about me, I'm obsessed with going to movies. Not watching movies at home--too many distractions. But going to the movie theater. In 2008 I saw 50 movies. In 2009, I saw 53. Last year I made it to 57. So my number to beat this year was 57. Did I make it?

Of course I did! This year's total? 64 movies. Gulp. Next year is going to be a bitch having to top that.

Let me just preface this by saying that if you didn't go to a lot of movies in 2011, you really didn't miss much. It was a pretty crap year as far as movies go, especially the second half of the year.

Ok, so here we go. In case you haven't read my previous year's movie recap posts, this is my rating system: sucked, rocked or meh, followed by best and worst movies of 2011.

  1. The Rite-- rocked
  2. True Grit--rocked(ish)
  3. No Strings Attached--cute and better than meh, but can't really say rocked
  4. The Company Men--rocked is a bit strong, but I did like it
  5. Country Strong--sorry but this movie rocked. Have seen it three times.  
  6. Just Go With It--rocked(ish)
  7. The Mechanic--rocked. I mean, of course Jason Statham rocks.
  8. The Eagle--rocked(ish)
  9. Unknown--actually Rocked, with a capital R.
  10. Battle:Los Angeles--action parts rocked, and if you like loud movies, you'll like it.
  11. Insidious--ROCKED--if you like scary, this is a must-see.
  12. Limitless--Rocked--I love this movie, although it starts great and kind of peters out.
  13. Soul Surfer--Better(ish) than meh, sort of. Cute for teens/tweens.
  14. Hanna--Sorry but this looked like it was going to be great but in reality SUCKED.
  15. Scream 4--Ok, yes I saw this and of course we all know it SUCKED.
  16. Prom--Utterly forgettable so I'm going to go with cute for teens. Yes, I have one, which is why I saw it.
  17. Thor--Meh plus.
  18. Bridesmaids--HILARIOUS. ROCKED.
  19. Hangover 2--Meh plus. Nowhere as near as good as the first, but some funny parts.
  20. X-Men--I want to say "ok" but that's not a rating, and meh is a little low, so I'll go with rocked(ish)
  21. Pirates of the Caribbean 3--the mermaids ROCKED; the movie was rocked(ish). First Pirates movie I've seen, btw--I only saw it for the mermaids.
  22. Midnight in Paris--Rocked. Even my kids liked this.
  23. Super 8--rocked.
  24. Cowboys & Aliens--Meh. What did you expect?
  25. The Help--ROCKED. I was worried this wouldn't be as good as the book, but it really was.
  26. Captain America--can I just give this a sigh? Patrick (my husband) loves those Marvel movies, but I"m personally over them. This was actually pretty good, but please, 2012, no more Marvel movies, ok?
  27. Crazy, Stupid Love--Meh. Maybe I'll throw a plus on there for Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore
  28. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--I'm giving this a meh on principle--seriously, can we stop with the two part movies Hollywood?
  29. Rise of the Planet of the Apes--ROCKED. Ceasar better win an Oscar.
  30. Bad Teacher--ROCKED. Raunchy but hilarious.
  31. Friends With Benefits--Meh plus. I liked it but can't bring myself to say rocked. Cute though.
  32. Green Lantern--another sigh. And a meh.
  33. Horrible Bosses--Meh. Jennifer Anniston as sexy just does not work for me.
  34. Transformers 3--Meh.
  35. Contagion--Meh, and a big disappointment--this looked like it was going to be good.
  36. I Don't Know How She Does it--I'm going with Meh, because I can't remember one thing about this movie.
  37. Drive--fun if you like action, but meh if you are looking for a great movie.
  38. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark--SUCKED. This was just freaky and creepy and sucked. AND had Katie Holmes in it, who is meh personified.
  39. The Change Up--Rocked.
  40. Sherlock Holmes 2--Meh. Yeah, really.
  41. Young Adult--Meh plus. Was really slow, but decent if you don't mind really slow and some random details just thrown in there with no real tie-in.
  42. The Sitter--Meh, and a big disappointment--this looked like it was going to be awesome.
  43. Mission Impossible 4--ROCKED. Especially in Imax, something I'd never shelled out for before but now I'm a convert.
  44. Dream House--Meh.
  45. Jumping the Broom--rocked, if for no other reason than the house. But even my kids liked it.
  46. Paranormal Activity 3--Call me crazy, but I thought this rocked, and even saw it twice. I like scary.
  47. Twilight 3--There is not a big enough font in the world to convey how much this movie SUCKED. But I need to find out what happens so of course will have to go see the second part, which just makes me hate it worse. And no, I'm not going to read the book.
  48. Fast Five--Meh
  49. The Dilemma--Meh minus--this was another big disappointment--looked like it would be great and totally was not.
  50. The Roommate--Fun in a Single White Female kind of way, but Meh.
  51. The Ides of March--Yet another disappointment--they're getting really good at making great trailers for not great movies. Meh.
  52. Immortals--Rocked-ish for action, but as with Marvel, no more greek god movies in 2012 please.
  53. Sanctum--Meh minus. Utterly forgettable.
  54. I am Number Four--this was actually pretty good, but I can't really say it rocked. How about enthusiastic Meh plus?
  55. Hall Pass--rocked. I've seen it at least three times and would see it more.
  56. The Lincoln Lawyer--rocked--this was pretty good, but not so good that I actually remember much about it other than that I liked it.
  57. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules--I had low hopes for this movie after the first one, but this was actually pretty good. Can I just go with Good?
  58. Sucker Punch--HORRIBLE. SUCKED. But the girl was super cute.
  59. One Day--Long, drawn out....Meh.
  60. Moneyball--not as great as I thought it would be but still pretty good. Too long, though, and slow. But rocked. With a small r.
  61. What's Your Number?--Cute and funny--but I don't know if I'd say rocked. But better than meh.
  62. Jack and Jill--Sigh. Yes, I saw this, and it was bad as I thought it would be. Could be fun-ish as a rental.
  63. New Year's Eve--Cute, if predictable. Meh.
  64. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo--I had high hopes for this but have to give it a solid Meh. WAYYYYY too slow. Just read the book. I haven't seen the Swedish version, but I would imagine it's better.

Ok, so worst movie of 2011? It's a close race between Sucker Punch and Twilight 3. The girl in Sucker Punch is so cute....but ultimately that movie was just BAD. So Sucker Punch.

And best movie of 2011? I have to say that I hardly want to name one because the year as a whole was so meh, movie-wise. I will give a nod to Midnight in Paris because it was Woody Allen and cute, and another to the Help, because it was pretty good, but for sheer movie enjoyment and pretty tight plot, I'm going with Unknown. Patrick said I couldn't say Mission Impossible 4 was the best movie of the year, but it was pretty awesome.

So there you have it. Here's hoping 2012 will be a better movie year.

Le Sigh, or Why of Course French Parents are Better

French Pastry

(Photo by Kevin Dooley on Flickr)

I didn't even bother reading all the way through this article about why French parents are better, because I can already tell you a) it's true and b) why it's true.

Basically, anyone is better at parenting than American helicopter parents. What about obsessing over kids, overscheduling them, overindulging them, and basically raising them to think they're the center of the universe could possibly create happy, well-behaved, reslilient, adults who are able to be productive and contribute to society while realizing that life isn't fair and that's just the way it is so make the best of it? Nothing.

French parents don't make their kids the center of their lives, and that's why they're better parents and the kids are better behaved. They care about the quality of their own lives and aspire to raise kids who are part of that life, but not the center of it. The same way they savor food and mealtimes and are, therefore, not obese like Americans who make their lives living hell by overscheduling and overworking and reduce mealtimes to hurried fuel-ups before the next round of activities. Americans fret that their kids are out of control and don't sleep through the night and have tantrums and aren't patient--yet look at the lives our kids lead. Who could sleep or concentrate or be on an even keel when life is a non-stop blur of playdates and activities and sports and computer games--educational ones, of course, because nothing is worth doing if it's not educational or related to achieving academic excellence? I'm an adult and watching these kids lives makes me tired. Living my kids lives makes me tired, and they're teenagers and I'm not a helicopter parent.

We also obsess over this parenting thing way too much. Witness last year's bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and now what is sure to become a bestseller Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. We drive ourselves crazy striving for perfection as parents, pouring over books like these as if they contain the fomula for achiving parenting perfection so both we and our kids can get the gold star.

I don't need to read a book about why French parents are better; one look at French people says it all: they take care of themselves and enjoy life, and they don't let having kids ruin those things by  taking over every aspect of their lives. Oh, and also, they let their kids drink wine.



Sunday, August 05, 2012

Tentatively Back

Wow--it worked. Long time, no see, Motherwhatnowredux. I missed you. Writing about social media has become about as interesting as...well, writing about social media. Which is to say, not at all interesting. I do it, because it has become what I do in terms of work, but it has also become what I am, and I hate that. I used to blog because I loved writing. Now I blog to establish myself as a "thought leader" and to enhance my resume because I feel I have to. I used to write like nobody was reading; now I know people are reading and every word I write has to go through the mental filter "what are the possible consequences of writing this?" What if my employer reads it? What if someone I work with reads it? What if a potential future employer reads it? What if I unintentionally piss someone off? There are so many "what ifs" that the fun is totally sucked out of writing. Well, of blogging--writing for the sake of writing has become something I do only in my journal now. Which is fine, except once you've been a blogger and basically written a public journal, there's something not quite there about journaling where you know nobody will ever read it. In some ways, it's good--after all, who really is interested in this shit anyway besides me? Since when did words only mean something if typed and immediately published on the Internet for public comment and sharing?

But in other ways, it's not good for me. For someone who is already inclined towards being an introvert, and to feeling like what I have to say or write isn't good enough, blogging has been useful, and turning away from it feels like a reversal of that progress. As my other blog has morphed into more of a soapbox and less of an expression of who I am and what I actually care about, and also as blogging has become something I get paid to do (I manage the blog for the organization I work for), it's become more of a chore and less of a pleasure. But that's blogging...writing is what I originally set out to do, and what I loved. What's the difference, you ask? Well for one, blogging involves worrying about the look and layout of the blog itself--the site's design, the widgets on the sidebar, the comment platform, all the crazy details that go into optimizing a blog from a web design standpoint. In other words, work, not fun. So I'm making a conscious decision not to worry about how this blog looks, even though I know it looks like shit. I'm here to write, not improve page views, or win awards for site design.

So we'll see how that goes...

Testing, Testing....

Just seeing if this blog even still works, because it didn't a few years ago, which is why I abandoned it, but wondering/hoping it has maybe since fixed itself since I'm so tired of writing only about social media and thought it would be nice to come back over here if that's even a possibility.

So...hitting "publish" and seeing what happens....

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Look, New URL

I don't know what's happened, but I can no longer add new posts to this blog. This started a few weeks ago and I have yet to be able to add a new post; I can edit old posts (which is how I created this one) but can't add new posts. Pleas to Blogger for help have gone I was faced with the decision of either folding this blog permanently or moving it.

Even though the frequency of my postings has gone down over the past few years as I've switched to mostly blogging about social media, I'm not ready to give this blog up yet. I started blogging to be creative and have fun; let's face it: there's only so much room for either of those when you're blogging about social media. So I've moved this blog to Wordpress and coughed up actual money for a domain:

Scratch that--I give up on Wordpress and take back every negative thing I've said about Posterous. I moved to Posterous and it couldn't have been simpler. So you can now find me there at Maggie Unlimited.

For those of you who are subscribed to this blog, you will continue to be subscribed to new posts so don't despair. And maybe this move will inspire me to start blogging more about fun stuff.

See you on the flip side!

Friday, June 25, 2010


If you read this blog you are familiar with my favorite concept: FIO. If you don't know what that means--well, bet you wish you'd been reading all along, don't you? I won't make you dig for it because it's Friday--FIO=fuck it off. As in, doing things the easiest yet most effective way possible.

This video is a shining example of FIO at work. I read several reports about the iPhone 4 having issues with reception when people hold it by the metal band around the edges so I tried it. I had a mind to share but video is not my best skill, so I did this half-assed...actually, more like quarter-assed, at best--video showing the bars going down when I gripped the phone around the metal band. I uploaded it to YouTube and didn't think about it again.

Just my luck that this issue is very newsworthy the past few days; today I get an email from YouTube saying the video is so popular do I want to apply for revenue share for it. Huh? What's up with the dozens of comments and over 3,800 views in 2 days? NOTHING I've ever done has gotten that much traffic. Anyone can clearly see that it's the crappiest, lowest-quality video ever made and uploaded to YouTube. Who knew?

Just goes to show--it's not about how much effort you put into something; it's half luck and half knowing what people are already talking about.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Women and Midlife Crisis

I swear I need to write a book about this subject because there is precious little written about the subject of women and midlife crisis and there is a LOT of it going around in my world. There was a good article about it in the Washington Post yesterday (I'd link to it but the Washington Post site is freaking out right now so just go there, sign in and search for "midlife crisis"--you'll find it). Basically, the article says that midlife crisis--formerly the domain of men and the subject of many a book and movie--is now becoming increasingly popular among women, and less popular among men. Women are the ones initiating divorces, having affairs, doing the ole' Roger Sterling "I just want to be happy...I deserve to be happy" thing.

Hey--I'm one to talk--I've been there done that and lived to tell about it. But that's why I feel so strongly about it..."it" being that divorce is not something to be gone into lightly, or because you make contact with your old flame on Facebook and decide, a week later, that your life would be perfect if only you could divorce your husband (with whom you'll still be best friends, of course...because men aren't bitter if their wives leave them for other men and/or want to walk away with half of everything) and be with the love of your life.

Thinking that you'd be better off divorced? Here are a few facts for you:
  • Most people who have affairs do not end up with the person they leave their spouse to be with. Ok I can't really call this a fact because I can't find a source to cite and, let's face it, probably 5 people will read this post so there's no point in me spending scads of time doing research to back this post...but I KNOW I've seen stats on this somewhere. The reality is that most people who have affairs--especially the kind that are mostly had online and are steeped in mystery, drama and outside the confines of "real life" (e.g. kids, home, financial worries, health issues, work, etc)--think that the blissful state they find themselves in while engaging in the affair--and are POSITIVE that this is the REAL THING end up being wrong. Once their special fantasy friend becomes their real-life partner the mystery, the drama, the thrill...all are gone and thrilling turns into mundane. Think you're the exception to this rule? Yeah, we all do. Just sayin'....
  • Women end up in much worse financial shape than men do after divorce. This one I can back with stats...but I'll leave it at that one link and let you do more research if you're so inclined. ESPECIALLY if you're the one initiating the divorce, you're unlikely to walk away with alimony...which, these days, you're unlikely to walk away with even if your husband is the instigator. I've had women ask me--women who haven't worked in years and have no intention of working "but doesn't he have to give me the house, pay me alimony AND child support?" Um, no. That's not how it works. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, but I'll go out on a limb and say that if you're divorcing, you need to figure you'll be supporting yourself--and possibly your kids--for the rest of your life. Sure, you could meet Prince Charming who will give you happily ever after, the sequel, but it's pretty unlikely and certainly not worth banking on. (pun intended). Am I just bitter because I'm divorced and alone and penniless? No--I'm actually one of the ones who met Prince Charming, the sequel, and is living happily ever chances are it's already happened to me so it won't happen for you too. Or maybe it will happen to you...but my point is that it's rare and, for all I know, it could end tomorrow, so it's certainly nothing to count on.
  • Divorce is devastating for kids. Granted, so is living life with parents who hate each other and scream constantly or hit each other. But life with parents who are happy...until one day out of the blue when one suddenly isn't happy and the next day--BLAM--divorce? Devastating. As I said, I'm not one to cast stones: I am divorced and my kids had to adjust. But I implore you: before you put your kids through a divorce, PLEASE think it through, truly try to make the marriage work and let divorce be the final option, not the first, quickest one. You owe that to your kids. Yes, therapy is expensive...but so is divorce. And also--if you're leaving for someone else who makes your life perfect and think your kids will love him just as much as you aware that most likely that will not be the case. Again, you may be the exception to the rule...but EVERYONE can't be the exception so most people will not be.
  • Women, don't hate. I know it is hard as hell to watch female friends lose their minds and announce that they've met the man of their dreams, are ecstatic and are getting divorced...but don't worry because they still plan on being best friends with the soon-to-be-ex and the kids are really excited about having two houses. If there's one thing women are great at it's being judgemental, and if there's another it's avoiding situations that make them uncomfortable. **raising my hand high here** But to me, this is the saddest part of female midlife crisis--the fact that it it is a crisis but it freaks people out so much they run for the hills and women are left to deal with it themselves. Women are famous for supporting each other, making casseroles, doing the "it takes a village" thing with the kids...except when it comes to cheating or divorce. I know when I got separated my "best friend" of over 10 years stopped speaking to me...and never spoke to me again. Can I understand why she did it? Yes. But it makes me sad to this day--I didn't deserve that. If you have been friends with a woman for years, don't abandon her because she's making what seem to be not smart choices. I know it's hard to stand by and watch...but at least for a while, maybe make the extra effort to try to understand where she's coming from and that maybe, just maybe, she's not acting rationally. In the end, maybe the friendship will end, but maybe your friendship will be the one thing that tethers her back to reality if she truly has gone off the deep end. Then again, maybe not...but maybe.
Ok, I'll get off my soapbox for now. But if you're reading this and any of this is ringing true, just know that you're not the only one who's ever gone through this...even though most women don't talk about it. Before you do anything rash, find a good therapist and try to see it from all sides.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are You F*cking Kidding Me?

Long time, no blog here--sorry about that, loyal readers.

Lucky for you I just found this blog post and entertaining video to stun me out of my blog silence

Here are a few of the tasks included in the "completing him challenge":

--Make a list of 5 things you currently do and ask him to prioritize them for you of what is important to him. For example - a clean home, home cooked dinner, coupon clipping, service at church, having friends over for dinner, watching/doing sports with him, etc.

--Make him a priority. Ask him what his favorite dinner, dessert and drink are. Be sure to serve him all three one night this week. Bonus: cook his favorite dishes all week long!

--Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.

--R-E-S-P-E-C-T! No complaining, criticizing, rolling your eyes, nagging, or giving him any friction this week. Enjoy a week of peace in your home!


I'm speechless.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Food Stuff

A few months ago I watched Food, Inc. and vowed to start paying more attention to the food we eat. Just like I did a year or so ago when I watched Fast Food Nation. Or the year before that when a friend from book group went on a rant about The Omnivore's Dilemma. It always sounds good in the moment and of course makes sense--why would you NOT want to support local farmers, penalize horrible business practices by Big Food by not spending your money on their products, and just eat in the healthiest way possible? And why would you not want to provide the best food for your kids?

Ostensibly of course you would--who wouldn't? I do--in theory. And sometimes in practice. But I admit cooking/meal planning/grocery shopping is not my strongest skill set. I'm the kind of person who writes out a grocery list, goes into the store with the list in hand, then emerges an hour later having spent $100 and forgotten half the stuff on the list. I'm also the kind of person who hates packing lunches and most days just eats a Balance bar for lunch at my desk because I don't feel like stopping what I'm doing to go get lunch. Food is not a top priority for me.

For many women, food is top priority, and I envy them. Of course, though, like every other thing on the planet, food has to be one of the measures of your success as a mother and a person. If you're not willing to spend three times as much on organic produce and local grass-fed beef, you're a bad mom and a bad person. If you're not willing to cook everything from scratch and pack it in re-usable containers and instead use disposable plastic bags, you're a bad mom and a bad person. Here's an example of the ire you incur if you do something as innocent-seeming as feed your kid Lunchables. You are a planet-killer, a child abuser and certainly a shitty mom. Make sure to read the comments on that post to get the full impact of your crappiness as a person if you feed your kid Lunchables.

I personally like the message in this blog post:
I would further argue that a woman must have convenient food preparation options in order to be truly independent.  The relative convenience of our grocery system has been an invaluable partner in the quest for equality and choice. The fact that a woman can create a meal to feed her family with a package of pasta and a jar of ready-made sauce is part of the reason why that same woman can pursue a full-time career of her choosing.
Cop out or does the author have a point?