I get several magazine subscriptions. Some are so I can keep current with what’s doing in my field. Some are so that I can stay inspired in the garden or with my writing.
And then there’s Vanity Fair. I originally subscribed to this one a few years ago for the feature articles (which are always brilliantly written) and the photographers that regularly contribute their work. I am not a “fashionista” to say the least, but I am sure that is why some people would thumb through this one too.
Truth be told: I can’t stand the ads. There are too many of them. And almost none of them apply to my current situation—married, mom, size 10 marsupial-like body (give
or take a size after some ice cream), and no time to spend hob nobbing with the social elite. I’m also not married to Don Johnson, so I am not sure who they think is buying the sockless menswear. These ads are usually also entirely inane and have no grasp on the reality of the women, at least most that I know, who have the disposable income to actually buy some of these things. They are what has created my love-hate relationship with this magazine. For example,
Considering I get up at 6:15AM, this make-up’s only gonna get me to 9:15PM. Are you kidding? That’s the first time I see my husband without a jam faced kid asking a bazillion questions. If I’m not flawless by that late hour, it’s gonna get ugly in this marriage. And I’m pretty sure the K-Prep teachers, M’s little pals, the pediatrician and the coffee shop clerk are not going to be amazed by any flawless beauty I’ve got rockin’ during the day. Show me a 17-hour makeup, and we’re in business.
Unless that’s a bunch of spinach that she’s been trying to feed her kid for the past four hours and she’s passed out from sheer exhaustion, this one’s not speaking to me either. Not to mention, denim? On a tropical beach? Newsflash: many women my age (myself included) are usually SWEATING all the time because we’re perimenopausal. Show me a woman in a stretched out Land’s End tankini with potato chip dust and I’d probably pay attention.
Damn! We chose the preschool that doesn’t have a helicopter parking spot. Maybe her elementary school will have one. I’ll have to ask during orientation.
See note above about me not being married to Don Johnson. Also, the extra large man-purse is not helping the situation. Unless that’s from the dad-takes-kid-to-swim-lessons line.
I’ve also learned that there are just three things you need to have youthful looking skin. Ready? You will need
a second chance . . .
. . . a miracle . . .
. . . and a sonic weapon.
The other thing that jumps out is how none of the models look like me and my fellow parents, well except maybe these two:
They look like they haven’t seen the sun in a while. Me either.
And looky here . . . someone’s been having fun with her kids and the finger paint!
I do look like that once in a while. Probably don’t smell as nice though.
Look at these catty women. They’re totally making fun of that mom over on the other side of the cafe, mocking her Timex. Girlfriend, please. A Timex???
Hey, wait. I wear a Timex. They’re talking about me! Bitches.
My hair’s been getting me down lately (should I cut, not cut?). But thank goodness it will only take . . . let’s see . . .
So that’s 39 years divided by 2 years is 19.5 . . . times 2 minutes . . . 39 minutes for me to regain the glory of my baby hair again. 39 minutes!? I don’t have that kind of time. I’ve got eight uninterrupted minutes at best in the shower. So that means I’m going back to my hair from when I was 31. Suppose that’ll have to do.
Let me tell you something, Vanity Fair, if I have an afternoon to go hiking in a pristine forest with one of my girlfriends, I sure as shit am not wearing this
But I do see myself wearing this to the next parent-teacher conference
Will I continue to get this magazine? Well, in the short term, yes. I’m subscribed through January 2014. But after that, I’m not so sure. To use a cliche, I read it for the articles. I’m just not so sure it justifies having to paw through pages and pages of ads for things that I’m just never gonna buy.* Maybe they should have a “mom” edition of Vanity Fair where the ads are for wine, chocolate and padlocks for the bathroom door. Hey, even I’d consider a Fendi padlock if it lets me take a poop in private.
* Actually, there was a tiny bit of hope about halfway through. And I can buy it no matter how many wrinkles and damaged hairs I have.
Copyright (c) 2013 Kristen M. Ploetz.
Just a quickie review this time, so let’s jump right in to Book #3 of my “8 Favorite Parenting Books”.
Living Simply With Children: A Voluntary Simplicity Guide For Moms, Dads, and Kids Who Want To Reclaim The Bliss of Childhood and the Joy of Parenting, by Marie Sherlock.
This book is now ten years old, and though some of the resources cited within it may be outdated, the principle behind the book remains stronger than ever: you and your kids do not need a lot of “stuff” to be happy, have fun or feel worthy. Less really is more.
Intrinsically, I know this and we really try to live this way as much as we can. For me personally, it is primarily from an environmental/waste standpoint. But it can be hard at times, particularly when you feel like you are swimming against a pounding sea of materialism, commercialism and peer pressure to keep up with what everyone else is buying. Of course we falter, and sometimes it feels like often. And it’s hard to curb the actions of well-meaning friends and family who do not understand, appreciate and/or remember your simplicity objectives—this is an area I have not mastered except in a “pick your battles” kind of way. It continues to be a work in progress.
Anyway, I read this book not too long after M was born, I think during my maternity leave. I had read three other “simple living books”* prior to M being born, and so finding this one seemed appropriate (and more current) as we added a new dimension to our lives. Indeed, that seems to be the first time period in parenting when you become aware of all the “stuff” that is supposedly necessary to raise a baby. I wanted to stay as close to the simple life as possible. Looking back over the past five years, I didn’t always succeed, but I am more or less happy with the decisions we made.
Now, as M approaches Kindergarten and has peers that are starting to talk about and compare their “stuff”, I (sadly) see that we are entering a new tidal phase that will require us to double down on our preference for simplicity. I seem to know more about which dolls M’s friends have than I do about the girls themselves. And just today I personally witnessed one little girl in M’s class, who apparently does not have the particular line of dolls like M and some of her classmates do, ask her mom if she could have one because she saw M carrying hers in. It was awkward for me and for this girl’s mother. I honestly was under the impression that all of the girls (there are 6 in the class) were each bringing in a doll every day to play with at play time and no one was being or feeling left out (indeed I had asked about this a few months back when we enrolled because while M was begging me to bring a doll to school like her friends were, I had initially said no because her prior school had a “no toys from home” rule, which I favored; I was told that kids can bring something in to play with and that it was OK, so I sent M in with a doll so she could tender her “social currency” when they played together…now I am completely torn about what to do given what I just heard this morning). This is not sitting well with me at all. What I observed at the Disney On Ice show this past weekend was another sad reminder of why I need to re-read this book and regain some hope, perspective and…well, balls.
Fortunately, this book will do that. It is certainly more of a beginner’s guide, very general in its approach (i.e. there are not deep philosophical discussions about the virtues of simplicity). It has several chapters about what simple living is, why it is important (for your family, community and the planet), and perhaps most importantly, it gives pointers about how to remain confident and steadfast in your preference for simplicity despite peer pressure, media/TV and marketing. It provides age-appropriate (young child through teenager) advice about how to teach and instill in your kids the value of living simply. It does this by offering explanations that you can give your children that are values-based, earth friendly, people friendly, and/or financially friendly. It gives ideas for simple family rituals and celebrations that you can incorporate into your home. There are resources listed throughout the book for further reading about a particular area (like the negatives of television or finding groups of other like-minded families/individuals). In sum, this book is a perfect introduction to simple living as well as a good resource to consult when you start to go off course.
* The three non-parenting simplicity books that I have also read (and should probably re-read!) are The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life, by Cecile Andrews (1997); The Simple Life: Thoughts on Simplicity, Frugality, and Living Well, by Amy Dacyczyn et al. (1998—this contains essays by several writers); and The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living, by Janet Luhrs (1997). These are obviously much older than Living Simply With Children, and so perhaps outdated from a resource standpoint. Aside from that, these books go much deeper into the philosophy of simplicity (particularly The Circle of Simplicity) and the how-to’s of simple living around the house. I also have another book, which I have not finished yet, called Voluntary Simplicity, by Duane Elgin, which is more recently published/revised in 2010. Any one of these books would be a good supplement to the book reviewed today.
Also, there is a more recently published (2010) book geared toward simple living with children entitled, Simplicity Parenting:Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids, by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross. I do not know anything about this book, but just mention it because it may have more current resources/links within.
Copyright (c) 2013 Kristen M. Ploetz
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