When a T-Shirt Means EVERYTHING

I had the sheer luck of stumbling across this account during my early days on Instagram. I reached out to the owner and gushed about my obsession with his movement. He is running a page called “What Trans Looks Like” and it is dedicated to trans people and allies of all types sharing themselves in statement shirts that scream “WE ARE JUST LIKE YOU! WE ARE PEOPLE TOO!”

I loved everything about this from the minute I laid eyes on it. Not only is this man single-handedly running this little shop as a side gig, but he’s doing it to change the public’s perspective on transgender people and the overwhelming stereotype that has been perpetuated towards this community of people. Breaking the stigma of the “scary trans” person one t-shirt at a time. And doing it all with humility and overwhelming love of the community.

So when my son and I got a couple of these shirts it meant so much more to us than a piece of clothing. When my son opened his up and I explained what it said and where it came from, we scrolled the instagram feed together and he saw a string of faces, all different from his, but all the same. He saw that he’s not alone in the world as the only trans person. And at his young age, that’s a reminder he needs OFTEN. He learned that it is possible for him to one day look like a man with a beard or a mustache (although I didn’t exactly explain precise details on HOW just yet), instead of a boy with breasts.

My son got this t-shirt and he felt like he was understood. And he didn’t even know what the damn t-shirt said until I read it to him. If this doesn’t show you the power of community, support and affirmation… I don’t know what will.

My son wrote a letter to the maker of the magical t-shirt and it said, “I like being a boy because it makes me happy. When I was a girl, it made me REALLY REALLY sad. {my mom helped me write this}.”

We put on our new shirts and we posed for some photos. We had so much fun together knowing we were both doing something to make a difference in the world and to show people that just because you were born or look a certain way, doesn’t make you scary or weird. It just makes you different and unique.

Here is my post from when I shared our photo shoot on Instagram about how something as small as a shirt meant so much to me and especially my son:

Hey hey! When I first started this account I stumbled on this amazing movement @whattranslookslike shedding light on the trans community and full of photos of people brave enough to share and break through stereotypes of what it means to be transgender.

A lot of non-affirming sources on the Internet have this fixation on sexuality and gender being simultaneous and interchangeable but it doesn’t work that way. If you’ve ever read a well researched article on gender you would know that it’s something you can’t choose for someone else based on their biology. It’s more than your “parts” but also includes your expression and your mind. How you think, feel and present yourself. 

Gender is fluid. Which means it’s a spectrum of variations of how people identify. While some people identify as male or female, others identify as both or neither. AND. THAT. IS. OK. If you find the concept strange to you that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. It just means that as you developed you did NOT question the gender you were assigned at birth. And guess what? THAT IS OK TOO.

But if you are someone who has questioned your gender you know, it can be scary. It can be lonely. It can be confusing and it can hurt. 

So if you’re like me and you’ve never felt anything but your assigned gender, let’s stand up and be allies together. Because being anything else means we are promoting someone else’s pain and suffering. And that’s never the right thing to do.

Love your trans friends and family and show them that every chance you get, because in many cases their life depends on YOU and those they love showing them that you support, love, and accept them just the way they are.

 

Go hug your trans friends, show them you love them. And find yourself your Ally shirt here at whattranslookslike.com

xoxo, Mom Transparenting

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7 Things You Lose In A Divorce (Besides Your Partner)

When I first realized my marriage was over I thought about what life would be like without my spouse. What changes would be made to my family now that we were a family minus one. What would it be like sleeping in bed alone? Never having someone in the house to delegate tasks I realllly didn’t want to do to? What about when bedtime gets bad and I could use a hand, but that hand lives somewhere else now?

I wondered about losing a spouse and partner in the home and what that would mean for our dynamic and how our home would function now with one less person. But I took me a while to realize that in divorce, you lose so much more than just your spouse.

You lose friends. People pick sides. Whether they intend to or not, they seem to feel the need to form alliances and mutual friends tend to lean one way or the other. Many of my ex-husband’s friends were made during our marriage, which made this especially hard for me because in my eyes, they were just as much my friends as they were his. But they didn’t see things that way. I lost a lot of friends, which in turn meant I lost a lot of support I could have used.

You lose your confidence. Nothing makes you question your ability as a human being like realizing you made the CATASTROPHIC desicion to marry the wrong person. If your divorce is ugly and harsh, like mine, it chips even more away at your self-esteem little by little as you wonder how you could have stayed this long, how this man you shared your life with could do and say these TERRIBLE things about you, and how stupid are you that you didn’t see him for who he really was sooner? You question your judgement, your ability to move on, you wonder if you find someone new if you’ll make the same mistake(s) again. You feel fragile. Broken.

You lose your family. My ex and I were together for 12 years. His family became part of my family. And whether or not we had a great relationship, they were still family. And they are always family to my children. But during (and even after) divorce the relationship changes so drastically. They are no longer people you would want to turn to in crisis. You don’t want to confide in them or rely on them any longer. You feel like they are judging you. And you know that they are on his side, they are HIS family in blood.

You lose time with your kids. You know you’ll have to split holidays and birthdays. Share special days throughout the year or spend them in awkward silence with your future ex, but you don’t realize how much that time really adds up and how much it HURTS until it happens. And it doesn’t get easier. The minute they leave, you miss them. And the minute they get home, you’re already worrying about the next time they will leave again.

You lose STUFF. It sounds like a #firstworldproblem to be concerned about material things, but it’s true. You lose your favorite couch or your best towels. You lose your house when you’re forced to sell it and split things down the middle. You lose your credit limit because it’s no longer a shared entity. Your cars, your plates, your blender, you lose HALF OF EVERYTHING. And you don’t think about this at first, but rebuilding an entire life from 50% back up to where you left off can be hard (and costly) to do.

 

Which means, you lose money. Between splitting your finances and your assets, you also spend thousands on attorneys, mediators, babysitters to help you get through it all. You spend so much money on divorce that the idea of getting divorced ever again means you’ll probably never accept another proposal because you can’t risk the financial hit it sends rippling through your accounts.

You lose your pets. Maybe you are the one who keeps them, but in divorce pets can’t live in two places at once so one of you will be bound to lose your furry friend’s companionship on a daily basis. In my divorce I was so worried about my children and what would happen with them I didn’t even think about my animals until my divorce was almost finalized. They weren’t an item that came up in our talks with our attorneys and if you ask me, that’s not right. My pet stayed with me, but he’s not the same. He lost someone too.

Divorce is hard. It turns your world upside down and forces you to find yourself all over again after years of thinking that this is your “forever life.” Everyone around you gets effected by the residual effects of your mood, your change in lifestyle, your new independence. But you don’t think about how much you really LOSE when you decide to call it quits. It’s more than just the partner you’re divorcing. And that part hurts enough.

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Getting Your Kids To School On Time In 1923 Easy Steps

Moms everywhere are always complaining that the morning shit show of trying to wake, dress, feed and get their kids off to school on time is overwhelming, to say the least. And frankly, I just don’t get it. I have my kids up and out the door with minutes to spare every single day and I do it all in just under 2000 simple steps.

Follow me on my morning journey and get yourself some much needed guidance on this disaster you claim is such a “hard job” and you’ll be spinning your wheels up to the doors of the school right as the bell rings just like I am every day!

  1. Make sure your kids clothes are set out for them before they wake up. If this means setting your alarm clock to get your ass out of bed at 2 AM so that you don’t have to be bothered with nuisances like your completely dependent children in the morning, then do that. Just make sure the clothes are out. Never mind that they won’t want to wear THAT outfit once they wake up.
  2. Pack lunches the night before. Between cooking a six-course meal, struggling your way through endless sight words and spelling tests, and hosing down your little angels in the bath while they scream in agony over the pain that tear-free soap brings to their eyes, you can find a spare couple of hours to cut free-range, hormone-free, NON-GMO, and antibiotic and cruelty-free meats into faces of their favorite Disney characters. It’s not that hard, mom. Slap some gluten-free crackers and homemade fruit leather in there too.
  3. Early risers should be celebrated! When your kids wake up at 4AM, take this as an opportunity to get a jumpstart on the day. Don’t ask them to return to their beds in the pitch-black night. Make sure to seize this good fortune as a chance to get a few extra hours of screen time in while you dream about the millions of chores you should be completing as you doze off on the couch to the sounds of YouTubers and Jojo Siwa streaming from the iPads waiting for the sun to rise.
  4. Set an alarm, for God sake. Don’t assume your kids will wake you up before you need to get up. We all know Murphy’s Law of parenting doesn’t work that way. Why would you leave something like timeliness to chance? Get up hours before your kids that way you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you cry into your kids cereal because you stayed up far too late last night scrolling on Instagram when you should have went to bed early.
  5. Wake your kids with the sound of a soft bell and ocean waves. Set the mood for the morning waking up your slumbering babes with soothing nature sounds. This will surely keep them from screaming into your face because they aren’t READY TO GET UP YET! They will wake up naturally calm and serene ready to take the day by storm. Shit storm.
  6. Have your kids dress before breakfast. This really saves time, because when they spill their cereal and milk all over their fresh clothes, they can scream in a traumatic fit of rage because they didn’t like that outfit and suddenly, now that they can’t wear it, it’s their FAVORITE!
  7. Get your shoes and coat on before your kids. Modeling the behavior you want your kids to perform shows them your expectations. If I have my shoes and coat on before I even wake them up in the morning they are fully prepared for my requests for THEM to get theirs on two hours later. And, it makes it so much easier to get their lunches into their bags, help them tie their shoes, zip their coats and wrangle them out of the house when you’re bundled up for below freezing temps like a snowman.
  8. Give your kids a warning and count-down every five minutes starting an hour before you have to leave. Experts say that instead of telling your kids it’s time to go NOW, by giving them a 5-10 minute warning it mentally prepares them for the task at hand. I say, why stop at 10? Start the night before when you put them to bed and repeat every five minutes screaming, “I’m serious you guys, we are going to be LATE if you don’t HURRY UP!” This way, they have no excuse for their tardiness and you can throw in their faces that you’ve been telling them for A DAY they needed to be ready to go. As if we don’t complete this same ritual every. damn. day. and they shouldn’t already know that leaving is part of the routine.
  9. Set an actual fire (kind of). Ten minutes past the time you are supposed to have walked out the door, start a fire alarm in the house. I find that LOUD NOISES really get my kids to jump to attention. If they haven’t been phased by your incessant countdown from the previous 12 hours, it’s time to bust out the big guns. Tell them this is the sound of the school bell they are hearing and it’s TIME. They are already LATE.
  10. Do a thorough check as each child walks out the door that they have everything they need. You should have done this the night before, but you were too busy “liking” strangers status updates so now you’re behind. Line them up like little soldiers and make sure to double and triple check they have every item they need to get through the day. Let’s be honest. Even if you complete this step you’ll realize some field trip form you left sitting on the counter the minute you get a block or two away from the house.
  11. When you can’t get them in line, don’t start panicking… yet.  This is not how this was supposed to go. You are PRE-PLANNING. There is a method to this and the process is tried and true! You did it ALL RIGHT! It’s not time to give up yet. You’re not a quitter and this isn’t your day to lie down and roll over. Today you fight. So when all else fails, scream until a vein pops out of your neck. You mean business.
  12. -1923. Give up. It’s already past the bell. You still don’t have one of their shoes on. One is in their room changing for the third time and one of them hasn’t finished their breakfast they started an hour ago. Now you panic. Start threatening to leave without them if they are not IN THE CAR in TWO MINUTES! Now you start contemplating the list of excuses you’ve already given the school this year for your impeccable ability to roll-up sometime between the starting bell and lunch. Have you blamed the dog running away yet? Let’s go with that one.

Getting your kids to school on time might take some extra planning on your end, but isn’t that your job as a mom? If you aren’t prepared for every anticipated meltdown, sock seam, missing shoe and cereal fiasco, what are you even doing with your kids every morning? Kids are predictable and reasonable, especially first thing in the morning. What could possibly go wrong?

If you haven’t managed to master how to gather up a bunch of sleepy, grumpy and irrational beings by now… try again tomorrow. It’s bound to work eventually, right?

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Winter Sucks The Big Icicle

Dude. I live in Chicago and EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I wonder when the hell I am going to get out of this frozen tundra and move somewhere warm. Somewhere that doesn’t cause my fingers to seize up in pain just because they touched AIR. And then the spring comes and like seeing your beautiful baby after childbirth it’s like the pain and agony of the last season completely fades away until the next year when it comes back in full force and you remember all over again why you hate this fucking place.

It’s cold. I’m not talking like chilly. It’s FUCKING COLD. You walk outside and breath through your nose and your nostril hairs freeze up into tiny icicles that stab you from the inside. Your nasal passages become miniature igloos made out of your never ending frozen snot stream cubes because you caught a cold on the first frigid day and it still hasn’t gone away.

 

You skin hurts. Everything hurts. Your body is frozen, literally. You can’t move and when you do it’s like you’re going to shatter. Your skin gets so dry that it cracks and there is nothing you can do about it but apply copious amounts of lubricant to try to keep it moisturized but it’s basically impossible because the winter sucks the moisture right out of you every chance it gets.

It’s gloomy, which means you don’t want to do SHIT. It’s bright as fuck outside because snow is everywhere but it’s dirty snow because it’s been driven on and slushed around and now your beautiful blanket of soft white snow is a eyesore of sludge and salt, but it’s still blinding to look at. You don’t want to do anything but huddle under your blanket with a book but you can’t do that either because you just burned it on the stove in an attempt to warm your hands up for five minutes.

Your kids keep getting called off of school for a goddamn snow day. Every other day it seems is a school “holiday” where they get a long weekend off of school. And as if that isn’t bad enough, now the snow showed up on the night before the hellish five days you’ve just spend cooped up inside and they’ve cancelled school tomorrow. Awesome. At least I won’t have to pay for summer daycare this year because my kids will be making up winter well into July at the rate we are going.

Something necessary to your continued EXISTENCE tends to break down at the WORST possible time, and that “time” is almost always winter. Your kids *were* finally going back to school (hell YES!) BUT wait, no they aren’t. Because your car has been sitting in the frozen abyss that is your driveway for the last five days because you refused to leave in the blizzard and now your damn car is not cooperating.

You go back inside to find your house is especially chilly even with your two layers and 17 infinity scarves on and find your pipes burst because even though your kids are constantly running water somewhere in your house, apparently the weather is THAT cold that it can freeze even the hottest water moving through the pipes.

Your kids have a hard enough time finding socks. Try getting them to find two gloves, a hat, a coat, a scarf, and snow pants because now school won’t let them out for recess unless they are dressed like tiny snowmen. I don’t remember having the accessories my kids have now accompany me to school every day, but my kids need them, apparently. And also, not surprisingly, we can never find them when we need them.

You will fall. Some asshole (usually you) will forget to throw salt on the ice and you’ll run out the door in a hurry only to fall and bust your ass. But not only will you fall, you’ll do it in front of some hipster running a 5K down the block in the dead of winter, you know, someone “better than you” because… winter sucks.

Your dog won’t go out either. So not only is your entire family caged in the house with the flu virus, but the stench of snot and pet urine fills the stale air. Can’t we just open a damn window? No. Because they are shrink wrapped in an attempt to keep whatever heat you can as close to your body as possible.

Your kids will act like caged animals. As if they aren’t already acting like completley rabid dogs, winter exasperates the symptoms 10-fold. They are stifled, homebound, and antsy and they turn on each other (and you) at any chance they can get. It’s a toss up as to who is going to make it out of this season alive. But my money says, it won’t be me.

Winter fucking sucks the big icicle. The only benefit is that when I say I don’t want to go somewhere, I have a million degrees below zero excuses at my disposal to keep me in the house, out of the snow, and in my thickest, coziest loungewear. 

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The BBQ Baby Shower Is Taking Off And I Can See Why!

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated by Basic Invite to write about their products, but the opinions expressed herein are my own. 

Things have seriously changed since I had my first baby almost a decade ago (Sad, I KNOW!). As the oldest of 5 siblings and 25 cousins, I have the privilege of getting to attend multiple weddings, showers and birthdays every year.

I’ve noticed a growing trend in co-ed showers, and I gotta say, I LOVE it! Who doesn’t want their significant other there to gush over all things baby with them? You didn’t make this baby alone, why should you celebrate it alone?

I also love any excuse to drag my man’s butt along when I get invited to every single one of these (all. summer. long.) because, in my family, we bring the kids along too. So why should the woman have to schlep the kiddos every weekend to party after party while the men sit home alone and watch football? When I had my first, it was a woman’s “thang” to organize, host, and attend the showers for and with all the babies, but that is changing.

More and more couples are opting for gender-neutral themes and co-ed showers and turning them into an all-out party and what better way to do that than with a BBQ (or BABY-Q) theme? You can keep the party relaxed, the theme gender neutral, and the invites all inclusive and throw a party to remember for ALL of your friends and family. 

 

photo credit: basicinvite.com

 

 

While I was perusing online between scrolling social media and looking for ideas for my sister’s upcoming shower, I stumbled on many co-ed shower themes. And these BBQ baby shower invitations made me want to have another baby of my very own just so I could demand everyone get invited to my shower with a ketchup and mustard, burger and baby talk theme because, HOW CUTE IS THAT??? I could even deliver them in mustard colored envelopes because Basic Invite has so many color options it’s just bananas. 

As a busy mom, I am almost always running down to the wire, and the best part about this site is that it at least makes ordering and designing the invitations to a baby shower easy for anyone, even moms like me who have trouble signing field trip permission slips on time.

My son loves baseball, so these really caught my eye. I might use them in the future for one of his birthday parties.

Photo Credit: basicinvite.com

And you know what? Unlike most other templated sites I’ve used in the past, this one allowed me to change the wording and tailor any invite to my liking including changing those baseball seams to hot pink if my heart desired. So despite them being “baby shower” invites, I could definitely adjust them to work for any party easily with their user-friendly platform.

If you’re like me and you always feel like you’re running on empty and have a to-do list a mile long, here’s some of the reasons why Basic Invite makes ordering any invites easy as the pie I’m going to eat standing over the kitchen sink tonight after my kids go to bed. 

  • almost every single color concept you can think of
  • custom samples so you can make sure you LOVE what you’re getting before you order
  • super posh foil options
  • address capturing service that makes collecting and addressing your invites BEYOND convenient with a quick share on social media
  • almost 40 different color envelope options for the perfect finishing touch!

It’s not often I shout anything from the rooftops beside telling my kids to “QUIET DOWN ALREADY!” But considering I have so many parties coming up with SO. LITTLE. TIME. these days to plan them, any product that can take some of the stress off my busy #momlife and make my life just a tad easier is one I am happy to share. (And just look at these super adorable fox baby shower invitations, would you? UGHHH so CUTE! I just can’t.) 

If you do decide you love this site as much as I do, you can use coupon code: 15FF51 for 15% off! 

Cheers to all those spring and summer babies! I can’t wait to celebrate their soon-to-be-birthdays in style before I get a chance to sniff those baby’s heads!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mom Transparenting

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