Into the Wild, pt. 2

The first couple of hours were tense. We both held tight to the other’s mistakes of recent weeks. The time he told me he wished Biff was his only dad. The time I told him he couldn’t have screen time because he pushed Hailey (I found out later that she lied about the pushing thing but was so mad about their bickering I said no screen time anyway). We listened to music in silence, Riley occasionally asking tentative questions about the trip. “Where are we going again?” “Did you remember my swimsuit?” “What if I twist my ankle?” I gave him the map and traced our journey over and over again. As the miles passed our mutual anger dissipated and I remembered he was just a kid and he remembered I was just a person and we started to sing along to the music and make plans for counting stars. 

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Into the Wild

I laid everything out the night before (Biff chuckling away in the kitchen watching me) and piled the heavy-ass packs into the car and set my alarm. “Tomorrow is backpacking, buddy! Go to sleep early because I’m gonna be waking you up at 6am!” He fell asleep with a giddy smile on his face, so stoked to be alone in the wilderness with just his dad.

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Into the Deep

In the ocean surrounding Indralaya, microscopic plankton emit a bioluminescent light that reacts to movement in the water. So in the dead of night, when the sun has completely set, you can swim in the pitch black ocean and your body will light up as it moves. Everyone at camp does this midnight swim at some point in the week every year... except me. 

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Saying Yes

I am in a constant battle with my own judgement of others. I try so hard not to imagine what I would do in a given circumstance because the reality is, I don't actually know what I might do in the shoes of another. So instead of go down the slippery slope of finger-pointing, I looked at my own life and tried to determine whether I was making that same mistake. Is life passing me by in ways I won't realize until my 50's or 60's? What are things I might look back on with regrets? 

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On Pronouns

When it comes to using the right pronouns, we want to be respectful and kind allies, but keep slipping up! We aren't sure how to handle hurting their feelings, using the right pronoun, apologizing, and making things right. The situation becomes awash in guilt, shame, self-flagellation, and judgment. Well, have no fear. This road has been tread before. 

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Trystan Reese
Trump, Politics, and Parenthood

We white people have failed our fellow white people. In our efforts to advance racial justice, we chose to leave our fellow white people behind. And these are the very people who have come to resent “political correctness.” These are the people who feel like no one cares about the ways in which they also face oppression. This is how they found a friend in Donald Trump. 

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Biff Chaplow
Please, Take Your Kids to Pride

I often laugh with my friends because for years the media and politicians used the term “The Gay Agenda” to describe some big, scary set of goals that queer people wanted to push on everyone's children. But, it's true. We do have an agenda (at least I do). Only we're not trying to turn your kids into perverts... we're trying to turn them into compassionate, loving people.

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Biff Chaplow
Man and Mother Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Honestly, I’ve never really felt like a dad. The things that I do for my family and my kids on a daily basis don’t seem to encompass how dads are portrayed in the media or in our culture. I suppose I could set out to redefine what it means to be a dad, but there is already a word that feels more appropriate to me: mom. 

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Biff Chaplow
On Sex and Parenthood

Suddenly, my nights were spent soothing my crying baby. I was constantly flustered and scrambling to get my shit together. My once clean and tidy house became a whirlwind of shoes, toys, and an embarrassing amount of food crumbs. The same things began to happen to my personal appearance (including the crumbs). Bathing my children and making breakfast became a bit more important than fixing my hair. I started to find that the jeans that made my ass look good weren't the pants I wanted to wear to curl up on the couch and read children's books. I stopped noticing myself and so did everyone else. I stopped feeling sexy.

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Biff Chaplow
Trauma and Parenting

This is the second blog in my series on parenting with a social justice focus. In each post, I start with a specific parenting situation that I found a way to bungle through. Then I cover what my big-picture parenting goals were, in that scenario. Finally, I'll give a few tips and tricks for how to navigate similar situations in your own parenting life. Hopefully, others will learn from my mistakes.

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And then... I had Kids.

Parenting is hard. It involves managing so many priorities and the stakes are high. One of the more annoying parts about parenting is the culture around it.  Everyone thinks THEY know what YOU should do with your child. It tends to include an endless barrage of blog posts, articles, books, even full movements... all centered around the idea that parenting is some static practice that should function in the same way, regardless of the parent or child. 

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"What made Donald Trump mean?"

This is the first in my series on parenting with a social justice focus. In each post, I’ll start with a specific parenting situation that I found a way to bungle through. Then I’ll cover what my big-picture parenting goals were, in that scenario. Finally, I'll give a few tips and tricks for how to navigate similar situations in your own parenting life. Hopefully, others will learn from my mistakes.

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Trystan Reese