Keeping up with the Phonses – The Pressures of Social Media

When my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten arrived, I admit I was quick to post her “first day of school” photo. Her smile was the sunshine and reassurance I needed to know I would be okay to leave her for the first time in an unknown, alien place. Kindergarten is one of those rites of passages for your children. You have to document, right?

So does every mom in town. I mean, who are we kidding? We need to make sure everyone sees that our kid has officially entered the realm of academia, like every other kid five years of age or a bit older. Let’s grab that chalkboard and use that curly-q font to scribble the date and snap the photo, lest we forget this moment, then let’s plaster it on social media so all of our friends (and acquaintances) know we didn’t forget our child’s big day.

I thought I had checked the box. I posted the photo of my husband and my daughter smiling in her new classroom, her Pokemon backpack gleaming in the background. She had on a cute, green Hawaiian dress. She shed no tears as we departed the parking lot with promises we would return that afternoon and hear all of her stories about arts & crafts, her first P.E. experience, and the under-appreciated nap time.

I uploaded. Posted. Oh look, I got 73 likes and a handful of comments. Guess everyone knows my kid is loved and cared for. That is, until I failed to post the “last day of Kindergarten” photo. Apparently I missed the memo where moms were supposed to create a collage of their child’s first day of school photo and last day of school photo together…almost like pre and post-marketing for an event. #fail. Just when I thought I was #killingit. Did my child really change that much in the past nine months? I would have known if I had documented her every experience on Facebook and Instagram.

So now I look like a total #momfailure for not bringing attention to this equally-important day of my child’s life on social media. Which also brings into question my true parenting skills considering my failure to document the other momentous occasions of my child’s life spread out in technicolor for all of you to gape and analyze.

Don’t get me wrong, moms, it’s not like you don’t have a full plate. Don’t shoot yourselves in the foot if you forgot that post-Kindergarten photo for your kid when you had your hands full declining group invites from your Essential Oils, LuLa Roe, and Plexus-fanatic friends. There’s nothing better than added stress from friends who expect you to buy into their program because you’re just too nice to say no.

While we are on the subject of declining to social media pressures, I have to give my condolences to the newly-budding parents. Ode to the days of not scheduling a “gender reveal” party where you have to shoot a blue or pink canon out of your ass to tell the world that your kid is in fact not an alien with androgynous features.

Here’s another one. My co-worker recently attended a new event called a Sip and See (who knew?!). So after you attend the gender reveal to determine the types of gifts you need to purchase for the upcoming baby shower where you bestow gifts upon this new bundle of joy, you get to attend yet another event to officially see and deliver your frankincense and myrrh to the newly-birthed, wild-eyed wonder of a child, and sip punch(?) as an incentive to join the party.

Let me stop right here and apologize to our newest generation that will soon grace us with their presence. Dear baby, I know you have already been the center of a minimum of three social media event experiences without your knowledge. And if you’re the second child, maybe there’s an extra diaper / gift card shower thrown in there somewhere. Just keep smiling. Social media loves a smile, or at least a really misplaced frown, like one where you’re wearing a pink tutu but really upset because mom is making you pose during nap time.

Okay, okay. I sound a bit harsh on this one. Chill, Chelsea. But I have to give myself permission on this one. After all, I was the pink tutu mom. Can you blame me? It’s what everyone else was doing at the time. I was just keeping up with the “phonses.”

Fortunately, I was just on the cusp of the gender reveal extravaganza craze. Back when you could dye some cupcakes pink or blue and call it a day (no AK-47 involved). I cannot with definitive assurance tell you I woudn’t be on that bandwagon to yank those colored balloons out of a box and leap for joy, regardless of the pink, blue (or purple if it’s a mishap) color.

I can tell you with 100% positivity that the showiness of my generation has gotten way out of hand. Promposals. Sip and sees. Gender reveals. Pregnancy announcements. Pre AND POST kindergarten photos. First lost tooth. First poopy in the potty. First date out with hubby after the baby. A baby moon trip. A grandiose smash cake for child’s first birthday. A grandiose second birthday cake because we have to compete with the first.

And friends, I’m just talking about events centered around our kids, here. Are you overwhelmed yet? Let’s also add in social media posts to mention Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Sibling’s Day, and Grandparent’s Day. We have to ensure those loved ones feel loved in cyberspace, right?

I mean, actually seeing them in person or picking up a phone to call them is a bit too inconvenient in our over-brimming schedules. But hey, I love my mom. Here’s a pic of us hanging out a couple of years ago (photoshopping out double chin) to prove my unrequited love for the one who birthed me. Check.

Oh crap. It’s my husband’s birthday. Let me go through my albums and find the best one of him cradling our daughter for the first time. Happy birthday to the best father and husband a gal could ever ask for! Post. Done.

That was easy.

The hard part is actually telling him in person. But who does that anymore? We’re doing just fine in cyberspace. No need to disrupt the apple cart by talking about real feelings face to face. Best to stick with interface to interface.

How thick is that screen you hide behind? Mine is merely millimeters but can divide like oceans of time. When did your place in the world settle inside a newsfeed? Aren’t we made of flesh and bone and blood? No filters here. This isn’t Snapchat.

I remember sitting on my grandmother’s autumnal-patterned sofa and flipping through yellowed photo albums that told stories. They were private and raw. They didn’t have to live up to anyone else’s standards. They were Kool-aid stained lips and frumpy dresses. They were cowlicks and chocolate-smeared faces. They were upside-down hanging kids with shirts two sizes too small and no shoes. They were Mickey Mouse-eared kids yanking their little brothers around the shoulders to pose for the one family photo required to say that they made it to the promise land. And then the camera was put away. The rest is history. Whatever happened there, we will never know.

But you know, that’s okay. Sometimes, the greatest moments happen when the camera flash is off. It’s the events we don’t pre-plan. It’s the crooked smiles and the disheveled clothing. It doesn’t come pre-packaged in pink or blue. It’s wrapped up in a rainbow of beauty we call life.

From one mom to another, let’s get real. Why do we do this to ourselves? In addition to living a life full of its own unique struggles, we also choose to keep up with the phonses. The daily post. The plastered smiles. The newest expectation from cyberspace.

And while your child yanks at your pants leg, demanding attention, we look for fulfilment in a thumbs up symbol.

Close down your screens. Look your loved one in their eyes. Grab their hands. Say “I love you.” Say “I’m sorry.” Say “I’m here.”

Cyberspace will forgive you. What’s harder is forgiving yourselves for moments you missed trying to keep up in a world you were never meant to live in. Step outside and smell the fresh air. Feel the grass. It’s greener there.

Have a comment? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section or contact me at Don’t forget to follow and subscribe! You can also like my Cuprunnethover page on Facebook for blog updates stress management. Thanks for reading!

Fat Girl Syndrome – How Heavy is Your Mind on a Bathroom Scale?

We’re friends now, right? I mean, you already know from my last three blogs that I’m a mom wracked with guilt who drinks too much because she feels imperfect. You know what gives me heart palpitations, but I guess I haven’t discussed the most pressing form of anxiety that weighs upon this heavy mind. This subject has, after all, been the elephant in the room I’ve been avoiding for some time now, pun intended.  I may as well hit the hard stuff if we’re going to continue this journey together. So here it goes.

My physical body feels like an anchor weighing me down to the past. It’s hard to run from your own body, ya know? So it’s kind of a constant reminder of the big fat elephant in the room. I’m just being real with this one. No sugar coating. I mean, I know what all that sugar coating did for me as a kid. It wasn’t pretty.

As part of an exercise in Sunday school this week, I asked the class to recount their earliest memory of their childhood. I smiled watching their eyes flicker with reminiscent dreams of yesteryears. Because I was facilitating, I thought I could easily bypass my own memory, but just when I thought I was in the clear, I heard, “Now what about you, Chelsea? What was your earliest memory?”

Immediately, I went to my memory box and pulled out a happy, acceptable answer. “I remember riding in the car with my parents while we discussed my upcoming fifth birthday.” Sounds simple enough. Nothing to be judged there. Of course it would have been a short stroll down memory lane to bring up that second memory that conveniently stopped short of my vocal cords.

I was 8 years old when I stood on my bathroom scales, my mom standing behind me, peering down. “Almost in the triple digits,” she said with a slight worry in her voice.

That same year for my ninth birthday, along with the typical Goosebump collection, gear for my baseball obsession, and Space Jam memorabilia (don’t judge), I received something else: The Richard Simmons Tone & Sweat and Disco Sweat VHS combo. “We’ll do it together,” my parents told me, reassuringly.

This was when a healthy lifestyle meant imagining that pre-packaged cardboard with bold “low-fat” lettering was the answer to acceptance. It was waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays to attend those 10-mile races to cheer on my dad, pass out Gatorade to sprinters fainting at the finish line, and seeing the hope in my dad’s eyes that one day all this “excitement” might rub off on me. It never did. Especially when that lady hurled her breakfast near my feet at the San Diego marathon. One plus for me, though, since I remained at the finish line without venturing off, I was first to the champions’ tent to scout out the Dominos pizza before anyone else.

“You did the munchies, now we’ll do the crunchies!” Richard Simmons would yell at me the next day. His blue sequined jumpsuit and disco ball hair blinded my eyes as he Cha-Cha slid his way into my living room each afternoon following one of my dad’s big races. Breaks between sets included devouring cups of melted cheese from the microwave. (Just call it an early introduction into my low-carb craze later in life).  

As I entered high school, Richard Simmons lost his appeal, although I did find his soothing rendition of “I Will Survive” a bit promising. Another burpee won’t kill me. I will survive. As long as I know how to sneak Little Debbies, I know I’ll stay alive.

But it was obvious to anyone with eyes, Richard Simmons had failed me. I was F-A-T as ever and I started calling bullshit on those Lean Cuisines. By the time I graduated high school, I was 270 pounds. Despite being too large to ignore, the world did it all the same.

Sure, I had friends. I had plenty of them. And I was the life of the party if I say so myself. I could make them laugh with jokes about being a cheerleader at the top of the pyramid during pep rallies. Imagine, me hoisted to the top of a triangle of bleached blondes who twirled their hair incessantly. What a gas!

I credit Oprah Winfrey for my “aha” moment. Not the time when she rolled out 100 pounds of fat on a Radio Flyer wagon. It was when she admitted that her first weight loss journey was a fad and realized that eating healthy was a lifestyle choice. It was that statement that stuck in my head during my freshman year of college. Also, the fact that I had a 3-hour gap in my schedule to devote to the gym since I couldn’t justify using all 180 minutes to gorge on General Tso’s Chicken.

I made a choice at age 19 to lose weight for myself and no one else, and girl, my addictive personality kicked in big time. If going to the gym was what I would do, I would live there. One hour wasn’t enough. Two, either. I’d spend half the day at the gym sweating away all the insecurities I had about my body to make myself presentable to the world.

Within a year, I had shed 100 pounds. Did I give myself a check mark? For awhile, I did. But I’ve learned after bearing a child and putting on that Chamber twenty (this is a real condition where you put on 20 pounds working at a chamber of commerce) that this journey is one I can never call complete.

Growing up, I thought if only . . . if only could I reach a specific number on those bathroom scales, then everything else would fall into place. I would frolic in fields of green like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Today, I’ve kept the weight off my body, but my mind is still heavy. The pressure of not going back to where I was sometimes feels all consuming. It’s the monkey on my back. It’s the stretchmarks across my shoulders and mid-section.

I struggle with analyzing motives from strangers. They hold the door for me or give me a slight nod when I cross them on the street and I wonder, “Would you have done the same for the fat girl?” When I was the big girl, I was invisible, but I shrink and now you see me. Why is that?

Why is it that I feel the recognition I’ve received in this small town will slip through my fingers if I eat that piece of birthday cake? Why is it that I want to grill the gentleman holding the door for me downtown? “Sir, just who all do you reserve an open door for? I want names.”

All of you women out there, how many times have you felt like your physical image is the only reason you were treated a certain way by a stranger? Or the only reason you got that discount that expired a week ago at the grocery store? Or why you get that extra nod walking downtown?

As women, we’ve grasped at that ladder and climbed with all we’re worth. We’ve cured incurable diseases. We’ve traveled to space. We’ve sailed the seven seas and we ALMOST won the U.S. Presidential race (argument for another day).

We’ve used our voices to negotiate treaties, to rally for peace, and to re-imagine the world as an egalitarian society for ALL people, boobs and vaginas included. Even then, even now, our physical bodies, not our abilities, can get us an extended half-off price at cocktail hour. Have we really come so far? Maybe we have and our minds have yet to catch up to the transition.

Am I the only one who feels like I have to kick it in high gear to maintain that image for fear of losing all acceptance in the world? I’d be willing to bet I’m not the only one who feels like her mind and soul are not enough to make it in society. The intelligent, funny, big boned girl just isn’t enough, is it?

Ladies, what’s it going to take to feel worth it? To look in the mirror and see ourselves as ourselves and not the pre-judged version of someone else? When, after we’ve worked a full day’s pay like a boss, tucked the kids into bed, and used our “free” hour at home after they slumber to do housework, can we look at ourselves as champions? As survivors? As enough?

For too long, we’ve let other people tell our story. What’s yours? Will we let them define us by a little flab around our midsection from carrying the next generation of wild-eyed wanderers? Surely that’s not it.

Today, I still look at pants three sizes too large and wonder if they will fit me. I sit in a seat in coach and take a deep breath as I attempt to secure the buckle. I remind myself at pool parties that it was me who won the “biggest splash” award at Christian summer camp. I question myself on everything. Can you do this? Are you sure?


Yes, I can.

Yes, you can.

The world is full of shit that pulls you down. Don’t let your own doubts be one of those.

Florence + the Machine reminds us that it’s hard to dance with a devil on our backs, so shake it out.

Shake it out, ladies.

Sprint across the runway.

Robe yourselves with love.

The past can be heavy.

Shake it out.

Shake it out.

Have a comment? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section or contact me at Don’t forget to follow and subscribe! You can also like my Cuprunnethover page on Facebook for blog updates stress management. Thanks for reading!

Perfect, Almost – Why Having Things Just So is Never Good Enough

I need to tell you something and it isn’t easy.

Are you ready?

Brace yourselves.

Here it goes.

I’m a failure at being perfect.

Whew. That was tougher than I thought.

It has only taken me three decades to admit this. If I could go back to my sixth grade self, I would tell little Chelsea to pay more attention in science class. Yes, if only I had heeded the advice given within the walls of that petri dish of a classroom, I wouldn’t have premature gray hair sprouting from this 31-year-old head of mine.

This is not the part where I tell you a story about an inspirational teacher who spoke in clichés about “reaching for the stars” and “if you believe it, you can achieve it” junk. Yes, you can thank the generation BEFORE Millennials for ingraining those words of wisdom in us, thank you very much.

Nope. My inspiration came in 2-D. See, my sixth grade science teacher liked a break from teaching every now and then. Who doesn’t? We had no complaints. On mornings like these, she would wheel in that bulky Magnavox TV, rewind the VCR, and sit back in her chair as we sang along to The Magic School Bus.

Who needs to read from a science book when you can be instructed by the show’s fire-headed, quirkily dressed teacher, Miss Frizzle? Ever wonder what happens to Cheetos after you eat them? (Probably not, but stick with me here.) Miss Frizzle had her students travel through Arnold’s digestive system in a microscopic bus to find the answer. It was the Magic School Bus that also took them through Ralphie’s nasal cavity when he had a cold. Aboard that bus, the students explored the cosmos in space, cruised through the deserts and rainforests, and traveled through time to discover how T-Rex could eat with those tiny arms of his.

Yes, The Magic School Bus was swarming with lessons about the world we live in. And today, it is Miss Frizzle’s advice that rings in my head every morning when I see the sun shining through my window. I only wish I had listened to those words sooner than later. So if you’re reading this and you’re in sixth grade, you can thank me for all the time you’re about to save banging your head against the wall to reach that point where you feel okay with yourselves.

Here’s what she said. Write this down, kids, and don’t forget it:

Take chances. Make mistakes.

When I was in grade school,mistakes were the worst things you could make. It was a dirty word. Almost downright taboo. I cringed if I saw anything less than a perfect score on a spelling test. In high school and college, I spent countless hours reading and re-reading my essays until the papers furled around my fingers.

At seventeen, I shed half my body weight, but still couldn’t reach that point where I felt okay with how I looked in the mirror.

When I became a mom, that drive to be perfect became unmanageable. It’s what I like to call the “mom bomb.” Ever heard of it? It’s the fear of a widespread explosion should you drop the ball on any aspect of life. Who’s going to fill out the paperwork correctly for your kid’s school enrollment? Who’s going to remember all the questions you need to ask at the next check-up appointment? Who’s going to ensure you see all the landmarks on your next vacation? Or what about stacking the dishes in a somewhat orderly fashion in the dishwasher? P.S., those towels aren’t going to fold themselves, hot dog style, then hamburger, hamburger.

 Obviously if it’s got to be done right, it’s got to be you who does it.


I mean, of course a lot of times it STILL has to be you doing all this stuff (how would it get done otherwise) . . . but does it have to be right, or your version of right, all the time?

In the past couple of years, I’ve learned of former classmates and young acquaintances dying suddenly. It’s the story of “she was fine one minute, then gone the next.” I wonder what, if anything, they felt they had perfected in their own lives before they departed this world. Did they have regrets? I’m sure if they did, it wouldn’t include the shape of their freshly-laundered towels.

I look back at the minutes, the hours, the days, the years wasted trying to get myself to that point where I felt fulfilled and worthy to join the masses. Truth is, I never really knew where I wanted to be in the first place. With stories of early death coming at me from several friend groups of mine, I have realized Miss Frizzle’s advice is two-fold:

Take Chances. Drink unfiltered water. Wear crazy socks to work. Put your phone down and look your partner in the eyes. Take the job you love. Leave that job you hate. Tell your kid you don’t know everything. Seek a new answer. Travel to some place you’ve never been before. Drive a new route home. Use a different coffee mug. Mix your peas with your mashed potatoes. Mend your bridges. Tear down your walls. Say what’s been welling up inside of you. Tell him. Tell her. Lasso the moon and pull it down. Don’t say you never tried.

Make mistakes. Know it’s okay. Learn from them. Repeat.

While you can take chances and make mistakes, you can also make mistakes by not taking chances. The most regrettable moments I have are those when I was too afraid. Too afraid of what others would think. Too afraid of what would happen. Too afraid of breaking out of this cocoon of security.

Friends out there, heed my beloved, two-dimensional friend’s advice. Miss Frizzle the hell out of your day, and don’t comb it out afterwards. That may just be your new kind of perfect.

Have a comment? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section or contact me at Don’t forget to follow and subscribe! You can also like my Cuprunnethover page on Facebook for blog updates stress management. Thanks for reading!