Tending the Home Fires

This is where we talk about what it means to care for our homes and ourselves and any other humans (and/or animals) lucky enough to share those spaces with us.

Labor Day giveaway

Hello Bello Labor Day Giveaway

It’s Labor Day, a holiday to celebrate the labor movement in the US — a day to highlight the social and economic accomplishments of workers and the prosperity and well-being they bring to our country. Do you know who deserves to be celebrated on this day? Mothers and caregivers. Whether you get paid for your caregiving work, or not, your work has value and deserves to be honored. We’re doing just that with a special Labor Day Giveaway!

Hello Bello was founded by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard because they believe all babies deserve the best, which means all parents need access to affordable, premium products. They know that parents are working harder than ever to provide necessities for their families. They have agreed to support the mom heroes who use Tend by offering an incredible box of products as a giveaway.

This giveaway includes the most amazing items:

  • 2 pack onesie and leggings 12 months
  • 360 count wipes
  • 80 daytime/nighttime diapers 27+lb
  • 36 overnight diapers 27+ lbs
  • Premium bubble bath 10oz
  • Premium shampoo & body wash 10oz
  • Premium Baby Lotion 8.5oz
  • Premium Baby Oil 9.5oz
  • Premium Organic Baby Powder 6.5oz
  • Diaper Rash Cream 4.0oz
  • Everywhere Balm 4oz
  • 50spf Mineral Sunscreen 3.0oz
  • Mosquito Repellent 6.7oz

In order to enter the giveaway contest, follow us on any of our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter). Then drop a comment about what your caregiving labor means to you, whether it’s through your use of Tend or not. It can be an emoji, a quick word, or a full story. We see you and we know how hard you’re working. We would love to honor you this Labor Day with this wonderful box of goodies for your little one.

*Giveaway limited to US residents. The winner will be selected on 9/14/2020 and contacted via social media direct message. The winner will have 72 hours to respond with address information, or a new winner will be selected. 

 

Parents: We Are Not Pregnant

Attention parents: We are not pregnant. If you are not carrying the baby, you are not pregnant. You can be expectant or expecting but you are not pregnant. If you are sitting there drinking wine and eating bleu cheese and no one is giving you side-eye or a lecture about how you’re a horrible person and will more than likely be a horrible parent, you are not pregnant. If there isn’t another person literally rolling around inside you, hiccuping you awake at 3 in the morning, you are not pregnant.

Now, let’s be clear. Being pregnant does not make you a parent. It can teach you the fundamentals of parenting on a very basic, physical level such as your life is no longer your own and get more supportive shoes, you’re going to need them. But if you are sleeping through the night the month before the baby is born, you are not pregnant. The pregnant one is on a seemingly endless track between fitful sleep and peeing. Is this meant to leave people out? No, because you’re already out. If you aren’t either the baby being carried or carrying the baby you are not part of the physical experience that is happening.

You might very well be paying a high price for the pregnancy experience of another. I don’t doubt that. That is your experience. Tell us about that. We don’t hear about it enough. What is the emotional journey of the person outside the loop? Is it hard? It looks lonely. And confusing. And kind of scary. Also, you can check out whenever you want, pack your bags and fuck off to another country because this is waaaay too much.

But the vast majority of you don’t. Why? I think there is strength of character inherent in that. A choice made day by day, minute by minute. You are outside the physical lockdown going on and yet you continue to show up.

I understand what it means to be pregnant, to be physically tied to another in a sort of doomsday relationship. There’s no getting out of being pregnant without either wrenching grief or giving birth. That’s a crap binary. But the partner? I know very little about that. I wonder if the first few months of parenting are harder for them because they had no training in what it means to have your entire existence hijacked.

And I think parents who adopt are in an endurance class of their. Why? Adoption has to be an enormously difficult and stressful experience. I’m assuming no one is sleeping the night before the baby comes. Or even the week. Or month.

There is so much more to the beginning stage of being a parent than just being pregnant. Being pregnant is special and important but it isn’t the entirety of the pre-parenting stage. Being the partner or the adoptive parent(s) are just as valid an experience as being pregnant. I’d like to hear more about those experiences (not saying I don’t love pregnancy/birth stories because I love those, too.) I like all the stories about how people become parents.

True tales of transformation? Bring them on, in all their diverse glory.

SpongeBob Tarot Reading

SpongeBob Tarot Reading

After reading my post about how any attempt I make to communicate with the universe comes back with a clear, “You heard me the first time, stop screwing around and do your work” a friend of mine sent me this link from Goop. If you don’t know what Goop is here is my feeble effort. It’s a website where you can buy super expensive things I’m pretty sure you either don’t need (jade eggs that for some reason people pop up their privates) or could get a cheaper version somewhere else (like tea or socks). The website is not for me.

So when one of my friends sent me an article about how a deck of tarot cards could help “Guide Daily Decision Making” I had to try it. Except I don’t have a tarot deck. Is tarot capitalized? Let me check. No. And I am not going to buy a deck because I think tarot cards are very important to many people and shouldn’t be bought on a dumb lark and then left in a drawer somewhere. So I broke out the SpongeBob Uno game I’ve been playing with for the past fifteen years. I love SpongeBob, I love Uno, I have played these cards with both of my kids and have had hours of fun with them. They are important to me so it seemed to me they were a good fit.

The universe is nothing if not both understanding and flexible.

Can you use a tin of SpongeBob SquarePants Uno cards in place of a tarot deck to “Guide Your Daily Decision Making” as instructed by the Goop website?

The short answer? No, of course not, that’s stupid.

The long answer? Sort of, and here’s what happened.

First off, the person giving the advice in the article is “an intuitive and shamanic healer” named Colleen McCann. I looked her up, she seems nice. And she gave really good advice about how to use your cards. Here’s the quote that helped me feel like it was okay to use the SpongeBob Uno.

Every tarot deck comes with a guidebook to aid in interpretation. However this practice isn’t about learning a correct meaning to the card or a single way to interpret the message. I ask that you use this moment to flex your own “intuitive muscle” and tap in to how a particular card is applicable to different areas of your life.

Every uno deck comes with a guide to aid in interpreting the cards you are dealt. The kids and I generally ignore the guide and play in whatever fashion feels right at the time. I have a very well developed intuitive muscle when it comes to applying meaning to this particular set of cards.

From there the article gives a thorough and thoughtful primer on what to do with the cards in your hands. She talks about what she does for clients and she also talks about what to do if the deck is new or new to you. But as in all things, she said ultimately I had to decide how to proceed. She said you can choose as many cards as feel right to you so I did that. I was going to choose seven because that is how many cards you deal out in Uno but two cards were stuck together (probably with peanut butter) and I ended up with eight. This made me oddly edgy and I almost put the eighth one back but Colleen McCann’s urging to accept the process as it is rather than trying to impose a lot of hard and fast rules had me keeping all eight cards.

So, I couldn’t figure out how to do this in a way that made sense until it occurred to me I could just flip a card over, see what it looked like and see what came to mind. Here they are, all eight cards and my interpretation of them. At the end I’ll tell you how this changed my life for the better.

Yellow 3

SpongeBob in a suit of plate armor wielding a spatula and riding a jellyfish. Armor: rich in Western symbolism of male energy and might and privilege and bloody combat. Fear and triumph. Spatula: cooking but also a versatile tool (bug squashing, scraping yuck up off the floor, threatening siblings with while doing dishes). Jellyfish: squidgy ocean creature, can be dangerous, soft yet powerful. Beautiful, great to watch at the aquarium and bonus they probably don’t mind living in captivity. Also, SpongeBob loves them very much.

Yellow 5

Pirate SpongeBob with an eyepatch studying a treasure map. Pirate: Fun in this context but pirates actually dangerous, vicious. Self-starters, entrepreneurs of the sea! Treasure Map: Can be helpful if you understand the mindset of the person who drew it. If they drew it for themselves, it could be like trying to decipher modern poetry where you have to read a 90 page bio of the author to understand seven lines of poetry. Treasure map not a slam-dunk sign of prosperity.

Red Reverse

Pilot SpongeBob on an airplane ride that looks like the coin-op ones that used to litter the front of supermarkets. SpongeBob looks stressed out, this flight might be going down. Does this card reverse the two that came before it? I don’t think so, that might only be true if the last two cards were red. So it’s just a general reversal. What is the nature of reversal? Not all are bad. A reversal of fortune could be a good thing if you are having a terrible time of it. Like the treasure map, think through the broader implications of the object.

Green Draw 2

Pirate SpongeBob with Gary the snail on his shoulder. I was going to say the draw 2 card is never good but it can be if you’re stuck with only a couple cards that you can’t seem to get rid of, having a few new cards sometimes feels like it opens up play and gives me a sense of momentum rather than being stuck staring at the same cards turn after turn. Also, SpongeBob has his pet snail and that makes him happy which makes me happy.

Green 6

Squidward in a goofy hat. He’s sad. Although dressed joyfully, he’s unhappy. Even though he’s a sea creature, he can never get into the swim of things  and he misses out on the love and friendship SpongeBob and Patrick offer. Grumpy masculine energy.

Red 4

Yeah, here’s Sandy the Squirrel! My heart lept when I saw her. Regular sea-space outfit with pirate additions. Sandy is all adventure and love and friendly, open and brave.

Green 2

Sad Squidward jester. He’s a drag. But what is he teaching us? To join in with life’s joy even when it isn’t exactly what you’d like it to be? Or, maybe it’s time to move? The ocean is vast, Squidward, why are you making yourself and everyone else miserable?

Blue 4

It’s Sandy again. Good ending.

Okay, so my notes then say, “Let’s use these today to guide decisions.”

And so I stacked them up, tucked them in my pocket and went to run my errands.

I have to say that the SpongeBob cards were easy to use. Anytime I was faced with a decision and SpongeBob was the card, I did what I thought was the nice and generous thing. SpongeBob comes off as this total idiot but he is really everything I want to be. He’s hardworking, loves his job and his friends and his life in general. He’s loyal to a fault. He’s a bad driver and sadly so am I.

The Sandy cards urged me to do things in a way I normally wouldn’t and that turned out okay since all I did was park in a different spot when I turned in the library books and I mixed my vodka with cranberry juice rather than fizzy water. Delicious!

The reversal card I used to decide that I wouldn’t call someone back who I really didn’t want to talk to and that eased a good amount of stress. The draw two card I was far too literal with and ate two brownies.

The cards that changed my life were the Squidward cards. Both times I used them I decided to leave people to do things the way they wanted to do them rather than impose my ideas. And it occurred to me after the second time that I, like many white women my age, are in constant danger of becoming Squidwards. I know that I have a strong sense of exactly how I want the world to work and when it doesn’t I get very upset and sometimes very, very angry.

But I don’t want to be a Squidward. Look at how much he misses out on. There’s so much love and friendship and general zaniness on offer and he rejects it.

I put the rest of the cards back in the tin but I kept the Squidward cards in my car as a reminder: Don’t Be A Squidward.

To Do List Reimagined

To Do List Reimagined with Tend

For the past four months, every day has felt the same when in fact they have often been very different. I started staying home because of Covid-19 on Saturday, March 14th. My younger son’s last day of in-person school was Friday, March 13th. For a few weeks, we had no school at all while the school district scrambled to come up with something. Then there was the nightmare of distance learning and now we are in summer. Yes, we never go anywhere but the things we do around here have changed. If I hadn’t kept a to-do list using Tend: Task Manager & Journal, I don’t know that I would have noticed these differences. I’ve reimagined and expanded what my to-do list does because of Tend. Read more

Easing the Mental Load with Tend

Easing the Mental Load with Tend

We’ve been relatively quiet about Tend over the last few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives and our homes. The idea of “time” has taken on an entirely new meaning. Ambiguous stay at home orders combined with re-opening plans keep us wondering what is safe for our families. The mental load of motherhood has become unbearable. Read more

funner

Funner

Are you cringing? The word funner tends to send people off the deep end. But the word runner is fine. And yet beautifuller is a big no.

Why? Something about the way two syllable adjectives pattern. I’m not completely sure.

Welcome to English grammar. It’s really confusing here and lots of super smart people disagree about ideas I don’t understand. Noun phrases still make me cry. So why am I talking about grammar? Read more

Quarantine Taught Me About My Husband

What Quarantine Taught Me About My Husband

My husband and I have been home together with the baby for a little over 2 months. We haven’t gone anywhere with the exception of my husband having gone out a few times to run to the grocery store. Other than that, we have been together 24/7. At first we were stressed out, annoyed with each other at little things, and seemed on edge. I’m sure it was the fear of the unknown and panic of what was to come.  It was a ROUGH adjustment. Read more

motherhood

This Dance is Hard: Motherhood at the Quarter Century

With Older Son’s 25th birthday quickly approaching, it’s time for me to write up a few things I think I know about motherhood.

I have been a mom for a while, longer than some, not as long as others. 25 years so far. I have two children, one is 24 years old and one is 8 years old. There are no two people I love more in this world or beyond. They have been my great adventure and terror and joy and…well, all the things. They have given me dimensions I would not have developed if it were not for them. I think I am a better person because of them. Read more

we've known better for a very long time

We’ve Known Better For a Very Long Time

If you’ve never fallen down a flight of stairs, it’s an experience like no other. Unsettling is too small a word but I’m still all cattywampus so unsettling will have to do. Why am I bringing this up? Well, for one, I fell down a flight of stairs last night so it’s still fresh in my memory and two, it seems the entire nation has fallen down a couple flights of stairs this year alone and I thought I should say something about it. About Covid, I have already said all I think I have to say thus far. About the murder of George Floyd: we’ve known better for a very long time and it seems we are just now about to do a little bit better about it. Read more

Our Lives Will Never Be the Same Without Them

Our Lives Will Never be the Same Without Them

Someone somewhere once said that the death of an old man is not a tragedy. I think what they meant was that even though there is sorrow in the loss, there is no sense of a life unlived or potential unrealized. We mourn but we don’t wonder what could have been. That being said, our lives will never be the same without them. Read more