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.

Gleam

Gleam is Thoughtful Gift Giving Made Easy

Some people have a genius for gift giving. I do not. It’s not that I don’t want to give great gifts, I do. It’s just that by the time I remember it’s my sister’s birthday, it’s two days away and we live across the country from each other so I just email her an Amazon gift certificate and feel guilty.

And for some people, that’s fine. No shame here. But if you, like me, would like to step up your gift giving game as well as wean yourself off the guilty convenience of Amazon, have I got a genius little app for you.

Gleam is a free app that reminds you of gift giving events 20 days before the event. Twenty days! Because the app is unbelievably clever and well thought out, it has an array of gift options you can buy from all manner of small businesses. And because the app reminded you 20 days before the event, there’s plenty of time for the merchant to ship the gift to New Hampshire so your poor sister doesn’t get yet another Amazon gift certificate in her email the day before her birthday. 

And who do we have to thank for this genius little life saver?

Sadie Higgins was happily running her mobile brow shaping business when the pandemic swallowed our shared lives. No one was getting their brows shaped and, despite the advice of well meaning family members, Sadie wanted to continue owning and running her own business.

But then the pandemic began impacting Sadie’s life in more ways. 

“I was starting to miss birthdays and I wasn’t alone,” Sadie told me as we talked a few weeks ago. “And I started to wonder, why am I so busy when the world has stopped?”

The confluence of these two things led Sadie to begin thinking about the mental load of gift giving. Gift giving falls mainly to women and when women partner up with men, the number of people to buy for can increase exponentially.  

A task that brings joy can still be stressful and difficult. For Sadie and many of the women she knew, especially women with large families, gift giving fell squarely into this miasma of wanting the gift to be special because they love the person receiving it but also stressful because gift giving is an ongoing, cyclical task. 

And the pandemic made all of it that much harder.

“Because I was not able to physically give someone I loved a gift, there were a lot of last minute Amazon gifts that didn’t feel special,” Sadie said. “And so I really started Gleam for myself!”

Sadie laughs at this but the fact is when someone invents a product to fill a personal need, often there are thousands of people struggling with the same problem.

With all the available ecommerce, not just Amazon but literally thousands of businesses waiting online to mail any imaginable thing anywhere in the world, what problem does Gleam solve?

“Gleam is gift giving without stressing, especially for people with large families,” Sadie explains. “And because we partner with small businesses that are as green and ethically sourced as possible, users can feel better about what they’re giving.”

With the increasing concerns about what Amazon is sending out, it’s helpful when someone else researches the quality of what we’re buying. Add to that the increasing interest in supporting small businesses and Gleam helps address a lot of the underlying stress people feel when buying anything, not just gifts. And the fact is, there are a lot of people who want a gift giving experience that feels authentic not only to them but also to the person they’re giving something to.

Knowing that a gift came from a small business that truly cares about the environment or human rights tells the receiver that the giver thought not only about what they want but what matters to them in a larger sense.

Let’s talk a little about the gift itself.

I mean, if your cousin has a garage decked out to look like the batcave then by all means, be a jerk and get them a Superman cookie jar (that might be based on a true story). 

But there are some names on my Christmas list that make me break out into a cold sweat.

Gleam has a solution! Instead of a specific wishlist, which for certain people is perfect and use it or else, Gleam allows users to send a simple two question query to the giftee. It also has an option for the giftee to say what they don’t want. You could buy me candles every holiday for the rest of my life and I would be happy. If you buy my aunt a candle, she will hand it back to you and tell you to get out of her house. 

Sometimes it matters more what not to get someone. 

As I write this, spring is meandering into summer and summer can be crunch time when it comes to gift giving. 

“For me, every month has between three to six events to buy for,” Sadie said. “But then there’s graduations and Father’s Day and then wedding season.”

I made a little exploding sound and she agreed. If you are even slightly interested in how this all works, now is the time to get started.

Take a minute and check your calendar for the next four months. That’s June to September. Then we’re into October which is Halloween, then November and Thanksgiving and then all the winter holidays and then it’s January.

Now, go download Gleam (available on android and apple, thank you for that Sadie!) and begin inviting people straight from your contacts list. They click on the link you sent them and answer a few questions regarding the important dates in their lives as well as what they do and don’t prefer.

Birthdays, anniversaries, important dates of all kinds are stored in the app and then 20 days before the event, the app sends you a text with gift suggestions specifically for that person or people (anniversary gifts can be so hard to get right). And, if you didn’t get around to getting a gift at the 20 day reminder, another reminder is sent at ten days and then, if you just couldn’t manage it then, a reminder is sent day of so you can send a text or, you know, email a gift certificate from one of the great small businesses you found through Gleam!

Ina Garten

My Work Has Value

Mother’s Day is a lovely day of burnt toast and odd smelling bath salts (which we adore). But what about giving yourself a gift this year? During the week before Mother’s Day, use the Tend app to keep track of everything you do to care for yourself, your family, your pets, your home (you get the idea, all the things). Based on the information you provide, the Tend app can calculate what it would have cost if you had paid someone $15 an hour to do everything you did. If you are chosen as our winner, we will pay you that amount (up to $300). 

We want you to shout from the rooftops, #MYWORKHASVALUE!

The Contest runs from May 3rd through May 9th, 2021. To enter the contest:

  • Track your work in Tend.   felicia dashboard market value
  • Take a screenshot of your dashboard showing the dollar value for the work you saved your family.
  • Post your photo on the social media platform of your choice; Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.**
  • For your entry to count, you must tag us @tendtask and use the hashtag #MYWORKHASVALUE.
  • If you’re not comfortable sharing on social media, you can also email your screenshot to info@tend.com and use the hashtag in the subject line to enter the contest.
  • You can enter once each day between May 3rd to May 9th, for 7 total chances to win if you play every day.
  • There is no purchase necessary to enter this contest.
  • Link for the app on Google Play
  • Link for the app on Apple App Store

We’ll choose a winner in the third week of May and we will pay the winner for one day of their invisible labor that week – up to $300.

So this Mother’s Day, let’s resolve to recognize that you’re already working hard, that you’re already good enough and that the work you do has value.

* We used the US standard living wage of $15 to calculate the market value. We know this is not everyone’s reality, but we felt it was a good starting point. We’re working to add more functionality to the app, so you can customize your market value based on your specific life circumstances. For our Canadian users, we will convert the prize to Canadian Dollars.

** This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

The New Politics of Household Labor

The New Politics of Household Labor

Even before the pandemic, women (especially moms) have been talking about the new politics of household labor. We have felt isolated in our frustration, thinking we are the only ones overwhelmed by the sheer volume of expectations placed on our emotional and physical energy. In January of 2021, 50 prominent women called on the Biden Administration to implement a Marshall Plan for Moms, a plan to provide direct payments to moms and pass long overdue policies addressing paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity. How does it compare to the first Marshall Plan, enacted 73 years ago?

The purpose of the original Marshall Plan was for the United States to be a part of the economic recovery of Western European nations after World War II and to reduce the influence of Communism within those nations. The USSR developed its own economic plan, known as the Molotov Plan, which I think is a funny name considering the Molotov cocktail. The Marshall Plan cost roughly 12 billion dollars (130 billion in 2019) and lasted for four years, beginning in 1948.

Did it help? It kept Western European nations from fully embracing communism so that part worked. Germany became an industrial powerhouse, the United Kingdom lost most of its colonies but managed to hold itself together and France is, well, France. Remember, the Marshall Plan was not done out of the kindness of anyone’s heart, it was done to stem the tide of Communism (which it did).

Why base a plan to support American mothers on this plan? Are American moms contemplating a turn toward Communism or worse, war?

Well, sort of. More and more American women are not having children, some by choice and some due to financial constraints. When women have children, they are having fewer and they are having them later in life. Women are also choosing not to marry and if they marry, they are marrying later and later. Needless to say, Conservatives are losing their minds over these facts and yet do very little to address what might be causing them.

Why are so many women waiting to marry and have children, if they make those choices at all? Well, here is a quote from the Marshall Plan for Moms website:

Other countries have social safety nets. America has moms. It’s time to compensate moms for all they do to keep our economy, our country, running. Join us, support the Marshall Plan for Moms.

Add to that the havoc wreaked on working women by the pandemic, especially working women of color. Millions of women have either lost their jobs or been forced by caregiving responsibilities to quit or cut back hours. “When 30 years of progress can be erased overnight, the underlying system is broken.”

So, what does the plan propose?

  • Direct payments to moms, who have had their paid labor in the workforce replaced by unseen, unpaid labor at home.

  • Passing long overdue policies like paid family leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity.

  • Retraining programs to ensure women can fill the jobs that will exist.

  • Plans to safely reopen schools 5 days a week.

It angers me that the above issues benefit society equally but it is once again women who are left agitating for change. Such is this life as it is. In January 2021, a letter signed by 50 prominent women was published outlining the reasons for these suggestions, please be sure to read it here.

And then there followed a letter in the Washington Post signed by male allies who support the Marshall Plan for Moms. Women are not standing alone — this is a broad coalition and a growing movement. (Finally) Please see the ad here.

Finally, Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY) has officially introduced the #MarshallPlanForMoms (H.Res.121), a sweeping piece of legislation to help mothers return to the workforce. Please read the resolution here.

If you would like to be part of this movement, you can sign the petition here. It’s a good, solid start to the work we as a nation need to begin. We need to ensure that if something like this pandemic ever engulfs our nation again, the brunt of the economic damage doesn’t land on women, especially women of color.

Treat Yo Self to Some Knowledge

Treat Yo Self to Some Knowledge

I love Parks and Recreation. The holiday they invented, Treat Yo’Self Day (October 13), is hilariously overstated and yet there is, as always, a grain of truth in their humor. This Valentine’s Day, I am going to do something different. I am going to combine a holiday that frankly depresses me with a holiday I think is hilarious but have never celebrated. My first act of celebration? I’m going to urge myself as well as those I love to treat yo self to some knowledge. Read more

Top 5 Ways Moms Spent 2020

Top 5 Ways Moms Spent 2020

Time passed differently in 2020. March was 9 years long. April lasted 32 minutes and the rest of the year started and stopped in ways I don’t think any of us will ever truly understand. There was a general call to let yourself off the hook, don’t focus too much on productivity, just try and keep yourself and the people in your house fed and somewhat clean. To say everything changed would not be an exaggeration.

Since time passed differently, it follows that we spent our time differently. Supermarket, Target, post office. Lunch with friends, museums, kids’ birthday parties. For me and many millions of other moms, these outings either ceased altogether or became so stressful we wished we didn’t have to go at all (except for Target, if I am being honest). We learned and we adapted and we used up the last of the quinoa we bought in 2018.

But what about the time we spent inside our homes? From front door to back, inside and out, our homes took on roles we never thought they would have to. School. Office. Movie theatre. Restaurant. Playground. I spent more hours in the carport behind my apartment building, watching my son and the neighbor kids play, then I will ever want to admit. The truth was, if someone asked me at the end of each day how I had spent my time, I would have been at a loss to tell them. Everyone was fed and in bed, I had obviously done something to make all that happen. But I couldn’t have said what.

I was so turned around by the opening notes of the pandemic, I completely forgot I am co-founder of a company that built a free app, Tend: Task Manager & Journal, that moms use to track the invisible labor they perform everyday to keep their families functioning. I could keep track of my day and figure out what in the hell I was doing. Maybe it would help clear the fog.

I wasn’t the only one keeping track of their time. Moms logged thousands of hours on Tend. I had not been alone in my need to know where my time was going.

And so, here at the beginning of 2021 and thanks to the data collected over the past 12 months, we have a treasure trove of information regarding how moms spent thousands of their precious hours in 2020. Some of the data surprised us and like all good data, it led to some really interesting questions.

Discipling Children

I wasn’t surprised by this one. I spent mid-March to the last second of 2020 with my son. I love my son. I seriously wondered if it was legal to get him his own apartment. He’s eight. Discipline means many different things to different moms. For me it’s standing over whatever he’s broken, waterlogged, covered in glitter or thrown down the stairs and saying, “There are only two of us here and I didn’t do this. Explain.”

There are literally thousands of books about how to raise kids. In his 1930 book, “Behaviorism,” John B. Watson wrote, “Never, never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap. If you must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight. Shake hands with them in the morning.” Could you imagine shaking a toddler’s hand in the morning? Sticky at best. I also think this book was written for very wealthy fathers who employed nannies.

Thankfully Dr. Spock came along right at the beginning of the baby boom, when millions of Americans had babies and had no idea what to do with them now that they weren’t needed to haul in the crops and feed chickens. He advocated that children were deserving of love and respect and, most helpfully to me, he said that parents knew more than they realized.

Trusting yourself wasn’t a popular idea in Western Civilization when it came to parenting because traditionally most parenting was done by women and women were believed to be stupid and needed to be led by a firm, masculine hand. That hand reached down into what at the time was called mothering. Even Spock used the term but later changed it to parenting.

No parenting guide is foolproof, as we all know. What I have found most helpful is talking to other parents. I am looking to hear that I am not alone in my love and frustration, in my fears and self-recrimination. Motherly has an outstanding guide of moms’ groups. Some have moved themselves online for the duration and others are native to the online scene so you can keep these ladies in your life for the long haul.

If you’re reading this and you’re struggling, reach out. Moms are standing by to help. You can email me, aileen@tendtask.com. I promise I’ll write back.

Email

We all knew email was a time sink in 2020 but I had no idea it was this bad. Good data generates good questions and we had plenty.

  1. Was a lot of this emailing related to work because so many people were working from home or, if they were essential workers, they couldn’t go into HR to ask questions so they had to email?
  2. Was the emailing related to distance learning?
  3. Was it mostly setting up zoom cocktail parties?

You get the idea. If you spent a lot of your year emailing, let us know. Drop us an email…just kidding. Let us know on social media, we’re on all the major channels @tendtask (there are links at the top and bottom of this page for all our social media). Or you can email us at hello@tendtask.com.

Food Prep

The food we choose to feed our loved ones can be a sticky subject. The deeper you wade into those waters, the more internet sharks there are so I am going to be pretty general here.

Kids and adults need to eat and moms are often the ones who have to feed them. From deciding what to eat, buying the ingredients, and then putting the whole thing together, feeding people can be a joy but in 2020 it was more of an endless cycle of shock. “You just ate, how can you be hungry,” was a constant question in my house. Before the pandemic, my son ate 5 of his lunches at school and we ate out more than I realized. I was genuinely shocked at how often I had to prepare food not only for my son but for myself.

Everyone’s experience of feeding their humans in 2020 was different, but I heard from many friends and family that food prep became a huge part of their daily lives. Some people found joy in making lots of things from scratch. Others happily tossed menus at their family and wished them luck. However you reacted, whatever your experience, food prep moved into a much more central position in your life.

I came up with a very basic menu that laid out breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day of the week. Then I made sure I always had that stuff on hand. The menu repeats every week. If I had no idea what to make, I checked the schedule. If I was feeling frisky, I made something that sounded good and didn’t need the menu.

It is a guideline, not a mandate. I have found it very helpful. It is hilariously basic. Tuesday breakfast is toast and fruit. Wednesday lunch is hotdogs. Sunday dinner is whatever you find. Give it a try. If your kids are old enough, ask them to chime in and maybe think about asking them to help. When it was his night to cook, my older son used to put barbecue sauce and lunchmeat in a pan, heat it up and then pile it on toasted hamburger buns. He’d serve it with baby carrots or corn and either applesauce or chopped up apples. We happily ate it once a week for years. See what your kids come up with. They could surprise you or totally gross you out, either way it will be interesting.

Potty Training

The words potty training fill me with dread. As parents, we are not good at everything. I was terrible at potty training. I was inconsistent, obviously frustrated and slapped diapers back on them the second they had an accident.

Again, we were a little surprised at how many hours were spent on potty training but then our kids are older. My neighbor has a three year old and when I told her our findings she was not surprised that potty training was so high up on the list. I had forgotten how all encompassing a task it is. And it’s a task that follows you wherever you go. No one washes their dishes while perusing the aisles at Target but if you are potty training and the trainee is with you…Target is not as much fun.

I won’t offer any advice regarding potty training. I was so bad at it my kids pretty much trained themselves. Here’s an article I found, maybe these tips will be helpful? If you’re struggling with potty training, please know you cannot be doing as poor of a job as I did and my kids are fully potty trained. It will happen.

Clutter

Now we are on a subject close to my heart. I hate clutter and yet I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I hate cauliflower and I spend absolutely no time thinking about it because I never bring it into my house and my kid never brought any of it home from school. Clutter is like dust. It’s sneaky and I only notice it after it has piled up on all my flat surfaces.

That moms spent a lot of their time battling clutter isn’t a surprise. 2020 turned our homes into multi-functional spaces. I once had to clear a batting helmet, a half finished Diwali art project, a half eaten dog treat and three weeks of unfinished math pages off my desk just so I could have a couple square feet to work in. Normally, that much stuff wouldn’t have been on my desk, it would have been on the kitchen table but that was covered with groceries I hadn’t bothered to put away and a bunch of mail I eventually just threw away without sorting. No one’s sent me a check since 1987 so I wasn’t worried.

I have been chasing clutter all over my house all year. Normally that doesn’t happen. I am annoyingly organized. I am the person who holds up a sheet of paper someone set down 2 minutes ago and demands, “If this is important, it doesn’t belong here. If it isn’t important, put it in the trash.” I regularly organize my closets, my fridge, my car and the little storage locker in my carport. Even my purse is clean and organized.

2020 changed all that. There was simply too much happening in the house for me to keep as tight a rein on everything as I used to. All my carefully cultivated systems were gummed up by distance learning and two people living in a space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I checked in with mom friends and heard the same story. No one went anywhere so everything stayed home and the piles began to multiply and then grow.

I found a good article about decluttering by Ron Finley and here is my favorite step:

Set up natural declutterers. If you notice a “problem area” where more clutter than average accumulates, think of ways to avoid that buildup in the future. Do you have a bad habit of letting junk mail pile up on the coffee table or kitchen counter? Set up a recycling bin right next to where you look at your mail, so you’ll naturally toss the junk before it has a chance to pile up.

This has helped with keeping paper from piling up. I’ve also placed a laundry basket at the foot of the stairs where I deposit everything that has traveled downstairs that needs to go back up. The less said about my car and purse, the better.

So, that’s it. The top 5 ways moms spent their time in 2020. It’s been an unbelievably tough year and 2021 might not be much of a picnic, either. Reach out. Feeling alone makes everything harder. And if you want, start tracking what you do everyday to keep yourself and those you love going. Tend: Task Manager & Journal is free and it just might help.

Stay safe.

10 Tips for Dividing Household Tasks in the New Year

10 Tips for Dividing Household Tasks in the New Year

2020 taught us many difficult, gritty lessons, but one that stands out is that women are expected to do too much. It’s destroying our professional lives, our mental health, and our relationships. 

With the amount of work on our plates already, resolutions can be tricky. If you are going to channel energy into something this year, why not work toward making your household more equitable? Here are a few tips that we’ve gathered along the way.

  1. Remember, you’re a team. Instead of attacking each other, attack the issue of all the tasks that need to be done. A data-driven approach to tracking your work can come in handy here. Know your enemy. Psst…it isn’t each other.
  2. Educate your partner. Part of the burden of domestic chores is that they’re never-ending. Some men weren’t raised to know all of the work that goes into maintaining a household. Let them in on the invisible work, not just the visible stuff. Tend: Task Manager & Journal is a free mobile app with a comprehensive list of care tasks. Couples can use it to track their work and compare notes – not to scold one another, but to get a realistic picture of who is doing what in the family.
  3. Try to balance the amount of housework and childcare each partner is doing. It’s helpful to have no kids underfoot when making dinner, but it’s a drag when one person always gets to play with the kids, and the other one has to make a meal the kids will probably refuse to eat. Another example is bathtime versus cleaning up after dinner. One task allows for meaningful time with the kids, and the other is time alone angrily scrapping barbecue sauce off the underside of the table. Be thoughtful about trading off on these tasks.
  4. Examine daily routes (if you still have them outside the home). What businesses do you both pass on the way to work? If one of you passes a supermarket that also happens to be ten minutes from home, can that person do the grocery shopping? Does the other person drive by a gas station? Perhaps they can make sure everyone has gas (that is if you can handle switching cars for one day a week, or however often you need gas). Where are the kids’ schools/daycares, Target or Walmart, dry cleaners? You see the point. Be efficient. Why have someone make a special trip when you’re already passing it twice a day?
  5. Let them take the credit. Research shows that some men will more readily perform domestic tasks if the tasks are public in nature. They may balk at doing dishes, but they will drop kids off/pick kids up from school or weekend activities. Some men will even willingly take on birthday party duty! It’s not great that society gives men a gold star for being active parents, but we may as well use all of the tools in our toolbox, right?
  6. Challenge gender stereotypes in your home. Watching the bumbling dad on the Disney Channel isn’t just annoying — it’s perpetuating the helpless dad/maternal gatekeeping binary that ends with mom doing everything and dad doing nothing. Gender roles are deeply entrenched, so if you want to have an equal partnership, you’ve got to work at it and model it for your kids. A great resource for splitting tasks more equitably is Eve Rodsky’s excellent book, Fair Play
  7. Enlist the whole family. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again — Family Meeting. Get everyone together with a list of tasks. Assign or negotiate each task and then check in regularly to see how everyone is doing. This includes kids. If you want men who know how to clean a toilet, you will have to raise them. Have snacks. No booze. 
  8. Express your personal preference. Not enough is said about sitting down and deciding who likes to do what. One person might have a secret love of vacuuming while another loves to weed flowerbeds. Conversely, someone might loath folding and putting away laundry. Keep the communication going by checking in regularly. Switch things up every once in a while and trade a dreaded task for something you haven’t done in a bit. 
  9. Ask for what you need. In the Bringing Baby Home Training Course at the Gottman Institute, Julie Gottman says, “Describe what you do need, as opposed to what you don’t need.” This seems simple, but it’s an art. Some women will say, “I don’t need another kid to raise!” or “I need help!” The first statement is stating what you don’t need, and the second statement is too vague. What DO you need from the other person? All trash is regularly removed from the home without step-by-step instruction. All clothing removed from the physical body put into the hamper provided. This tactic might seem ridiculously specific, but for some couples, specificity is necessary and helpful. Be specific, not sarcastic.
  10. Drop the ball. Last-ditch effort: stop doing the chore you know they will do if it doesn’t get done. You might not like how it gets done, but it will get done. Slowly add chores until it seems equal, or they finally speak up and agree to negotiate. Tiffany Dufu writes about her experience with this technique in her book, Drop the Ball.
Mindfulness for Moms

Mindfulness for Moms in the New Year

2020 was filled with heartache and uncertainty. It was hard for everyone, but it’s really taken a toll on mothers. We’re here to propose some mindfulness for moms in the new year.

Women have been forced out of the workforce at four times the rate of men, with an estimated cost of $64.5 billion a year in lost wages and economic activity. That’s $64.5 billion a year from individual women’s bank accounts, all so that we can do more unpaid work in our homes.

Those are big picture numbers, but we know that real moms in real households across the country are struggling. Whether you’ve always been a stay-at-home mom, you’ve been forced into it, or you’re still working and trying to balance it all – we’re thinking about you.

It’s easy to be compassionate for other moms that we see suffering. It’s much harder to apply compassion to ourselves. It may feel like you’re not accomplishing as much. The truth is that you are doing far more than ever before. The work that you’re doing is so vital. You’re keeping your families safe and cared for during a pandemic. So how can you know how much more you’re doing? Engage in some practical mindfulness by keeping track of your unpaid work.

Tend: Task Manager & Journal is a tracking app for moms that delivers knowledge, confidence, self-worth, and understanding by tracking the invisible labor of motherhood. You already track many of the important things to you; your baby’s milestones, menstrual cycles, and household expenses. Tracking your work can give you the confidence to see that you’re doing a great job. It can also offer insights to help make better decisions about how you spend your time.

This January, instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, we invite moms to recognize just how much they do to care for their families. Use Tend to track your caregiving work and tell us about it. Tag @tendtaskmanagerandjournal across social media and use the #MYWORKHASVALUE hashtag. We want to hear and share your stories. Let’s offer ourselves a little more kindness and mindfulness for moms in the New Year.

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. Read more

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 to describe it. 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 of 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 strength 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 on? 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.