Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wife Swap

My husband posted the most hilarious meme on Facebook today:

All of his friends were like, "Hahahaha!  I know, right?!" which made me feel really great about myself.  I mean, there's no self-esteem boost like having the man you married -- the man who is supposed to love and honor and care for you -- mock you in front of his friends.

Then it snowballed and his friends started posting their favorite memes, and everyone was laughing and giving each other virtual slaps on the back like "Yeah man, women are RIDICULOUS!"  See for yourself:

What, you don't believe this actually happened?  (Good, because my husband is the kindest man I know and would never do such a thing!)  But, switch the word "wife" to "husband" (or "women" to "men") and you have yourself a regular day on Facebook.  

All of these memes (which my sister helpfully modified for me) are real male-bashing memes that have been posted by my female friends and acquaintances.  Memes that were laughed at and shared and snickered over by women who supposedly love their husbands.

"Oh, come on Bonnie," you say.  "Can't you take a joke?"  Well, when it comes to husband bashing, no, I can't.  Because, as a wife, the number one person I should be defending is my husband.  The number one person I should be loving is my husband.  No one should show him more kindness than I do, and that includes when I talk about him on social media.

Is my husband perfect?  Of course not, but neither am I!  And he is an amazing person who does so many wonderful things!  Why, when I love him so much, would I reduce him to some kind of male-buffoon caricature and mock him in front of my friends?

We all have faults and quirks and idiosyncrasies, and it's okay to see the humor in that.  But, to paraphrase my sister, sometimes women focus so much on the fact that their husbands can't get their dirty clothes in the hamper that they forget to be grateful for the work their husbands do in providing clothes for the entire family.

It's time to move past the dirty laundry, ladies.

And it's time to stop hanging our husbands out to dry.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Close Encounters of the Boob Kind

Years ago we were attending a family reunion at Aspen Grove, which is as close to camping as I ever like to get.  You get a minimalist A-frame cabin and you have to walk to the bathroom BUT THERE IS A BATHROOM and it equipped with flushing toilets and hot showers.  These are camping necessities, in my opinion.  (I think if our ancestors knew that people actually left their homes for a little "vacation" in a tent and a stinkhole of an outhouse, they'd check us into a mental institution).

But I digress.  Anyway, this particular year at Aspen Grove there was a nursing mother whom we dubbed "The Boob Lady."  Why, you ask?  Well, she was one of those women who felt the need to expose her entire breast while nursing, so you'd walk around a corner and suddenly be confronted with this lady's giant breast.  It was like Captain Ahab meets the Great White Boob.

So when I saw this article pop up in my newsfeed yesterday, I was like, "Hey, it's The Boob Lady!" Now, is it actually the same lady?  Probably not, but I can't be sure -- I have trouble remembering faces when someone's boobs are staring me in the face.  (If I were male this would make me a chauvinist, but thankfully I'm a female so this just makes me human).

This New Boob Lady's breast feeding photo has gone viral, not because she's breast feeding, but because she is involved in a staredown with some prudish lady who feels that she is a little too exposed.  (Such Puritanism!  Pshaw!)

Now look, I have zero problem with this lady breast feeding her baby in a crowded restaurant.  Zero.  I don't even care if I see a little boob, or a lot of boob for that matter.  If her sole purpose is to feed her baby, I don't care if she is entirely shirtless.  Breasts are made for feeding babies.  No big deal.  

The problem is not that she is feeding her infant.  The problem is her screw-you attitude and the here's-my-middle-finger staredown she's giving to the lady who feels uncomfortable guessing her cup size.  Moms who just want to feed their babies?  Fine.  Moms who want to use their babies to act like jerks?  Not fine.

Now, how do I know this is her attitude?  Well, I'll let you in on a little breast feeding secret:  With the shirt she is wearing, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that she needs to pull it down from the top to feed her baby.  NONE.  I know this because I have breast fed four infants myself.  And I currently have a baby who absolutely refuses to be covered while nursing -- he'll bat at the cover and wiggle and whine until I take it off, so I only use it in public these days to latch him on, and then I'll let him breathe.  Do you want to see what it looks like while I'm nursing uncovered?  Be ready because this is a close-up and it's really offensive:

Awww, isn't that a sweet picture of a baby napping nursing?  What's that?  You couldn't tell the difference?  Imagine that!

I'm not sure why it is that so many women feel the need to make a statement about breast feeding.  You want to make an impact?  Just freaking be kind already!  Be polite!  Recognize that the universe does not revolve around you or your baby, and that anything you can do to be a decent human being is a good thing.  And then, if someone is a jerk to you about it, they are a jerk.  But don't you be one.  Rudeness begets rudeness.  Kindness begets kindness.  

There now, is that so hard?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


This afternoon, I was stopped at a stoplight behind a car with a yellow "Baby on Board" sign suction-cupped to their rear window.  Confession: these signs used to annoy me.   "Oh my gosh, who cares that you have a baby?!" I would think to myself every time I saw one.  They were right up there with that perfect-looking stick figure family that made we want to get one of these for my car window.

But that was before I learned the purpose for these signs -- in case of an accident, they are a signal to emergency responders that they should look for an infant in the back seat of the car.  Not so annoying now, are they?

More information changed my perspective.

Not long ago I was sitting in a ward council (a group of male and female leaders in our local church congregation that meets together regularly to discuss the needs of the ward) and one man shared this thought that struck me deeply:  "Imagine we are all climbing a rock wall," he said. "How often do we look at those who are struggling to climb next to us and say things like, 'What is wrong with you?  Why aren't you climbing faster?  How come you keep falling?  Why can't you reach the next foothold?  Why aren't you higher already?' when what we should be saying is, 'Here, let me help you!  The next foothold is right there -- you can do it!  Don't worry, I'll catch you!  Take your time, I'll wait for you.  It's okay, you can start over.  I'm right behind you!'"

We never know what is going on in someone's life or in someone's heart.  Even if we have walked a similar path, we haven't walked it in the same shoes.  Imagine if we looked at others' signs and, instead of saying, "What is wrong with you?" or firmly declaring that we would never act that way or make those decisions, we said, "I'm here for you.  I love you.  Take my hand and I'll help you."

Anyone can read a yellow sign, but not everyone knows its true meaning.  For example, how many of you thought this blog post was going to be a pregnancy announcement?  (Be honest...)  There is always more to the story than we can see.

Especially when we refuse to look beyond the first page.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life's Little Indignities

Womanhood is so undignified sometimes.  I mean, the guys complain about the turn and cough thing, but seriously, fingers UP your nether regions?  We'll see your inguinal hernia check and raise you an annual date with a speculum.  To say nothing of motherhood, which basically takes every last shred of dignity you were holding onto and forces you to watch it burn.  "We'll just do a quick check of your cervix today, Mrs. Overly.  If we find your dignity up there we'll let you know..."

Even after you make it through the whole nine months of pregnancy and all the embarrassments of childbirth they still want to check all of the things.  "I just need to take a look at your nipples."  "I'm here to check your bleeding."  "Any trouble with hemorrhoids?" and one of my personal favorites, "Have you had a bowel movement yet?" which is just a "polite" way of saying, "Have you pooped today?" and we all know that that is not a polite question at all.  Luckily I read Miss Manners and she says it's perfectly okay to rebuff nosy strangers, which is is why I started responding, "It's kind of you to be so concerned about my private life..." followed by a withering glare.  (Miss Manners says you can always end with a withering glare, as long as you say something polite first).

Fortunately, they do let you out of the hospital eventually.  Unfortunately the indignities do not end there.  Soon you find yourself sitting on a couch, hooked up to a machine that literally milks you -- like, literally sucks milk from your body as if you were a Jersey cow.  (Go on, try to feel dignified while doing this.  I DARE YOU).  Besides eating, your baby's only priority is to claim you as his mother by coating your entire wardrobe in his bodily fluids.  ("She's my mom!  Can't you see my vomit on her shoulder?")

Of course this is probably more dignified than when your baby hits the crawling age and decides that no matter what happens, you must never go to the bathroom alone.  This phase lasts until he is at least eight, possibly longer.  (I'm not sure because my oldest is eight.  For all I know this phase will last until he's 25).  Even when you lock yourself in he has to stand there with his toes under the door and ask for help with things that obviously can't be done while you are on the toilet.  "Mom, can you make lunch?"  "Will you get me a band-aid?"  "Can you jump on the trampoline?"

Why yes, son,  I can sit on the toilet and jump on the trampoline at the same time.  I am just that amazing!

But, in spite of four kids who make it their daily mission to embarrass me, I thought I had successfully started the process of regaining my grip on dignity.  Then I discovered that I had spent half the day with baby poop on the front of my pants and my shirt inside out.  The next morning Leah made a valiant effort to permanently strip me of any last vestiges of dignity when she appeared with my cell phone while I was taking a shower.  "What are you doing with my cell phone, Leah?"  I asked.

"I'm taking pictures of you in the shower!" she answered cheerfully.

Oh GREAT.  Naked pictures.  Of me.  One little button away from being posted to Facebook.


"Why, Mom?"

Oh, I don't know.  Maybe something about the fact that we don't take naked pictures of people.  Or push one button and traumatize the entire internet.  (I gave birth to twins, you guys.  I have stretch marks that are basically canyons).

"Mom's dignity, Leah."

"What's dignity, Mom?  How do you spell it?"

"C-L-O-T-H-E-S O-N."

Seriously, it's good advice for life.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Something to Stand For

After a weekend of watching my Facebook feed turn into a battle between Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the We-Think-We're-Righteous Brothers I feel the need to share some simple truths:

* No person has ever had their mind changed by a Facebook avatar.  Not one.  It is simply not possible to change someone's heart by using your profile picture or your status update to say I'M RIGHT AND YOU'RE WRONG.

* If you think that all of your friends share your view of the world, you don't know your friends.  Name-calling and ascribing evil motives to anyone who disagrees with you damages people, and it damages your friends.  It doesn't matter what side of an argument you are on; being right is never more important than being kind.

* It's more important for you to love people than to correct them.  Correcting them is not your job.  Loving them is.

* The world will not end if it is deprived of your opinion on every issue.

* It is usually more important to have open ears than an open mouth.

* And finally, God loves all of His children.  ALL of them.  You should do the same.  

There will never be a time when every person will agree on everything.  We are different people with different backgrounds, different experiences, and different beliefs.  But whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, pro-gay marriage or pro-traditional marriage, all of us can -- and should -- be one thing:


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Swearing In

Looking back over my life I can divide it into distinct eras.  There was the cute pinafore era, the perm-that-took-over-New-York era, the everything-that-happens-in-high-school-is-the-end-of-the-world-era... you get the drift.  And then there was that era of self-righteousness that accompanied the BC years (Before Children). You know, the ones where you say things like, "When I have kids I will never let them [fill in the blank]."

Then you actually have kids and you're like, who was that ridiculous woman who said she would never let her children eat cereal for dinner?  See, that's the great thing about parenting, you learn things.  Mostly things about karma and what it means for something to bite you in the rear.

In the BC years of my life I thought I would never yell.  And I definitely thought I would never swear if one of my children managed to disable the entire computer with one smack of a fist to the keyboard while I was trying to print out my notes for a Relief Society meeting.  (Thank heavens for smart phones and google because the solution for that one happened to be holding down control, option, shift, down arrow, and clicking my mouse 3 times while saying "There's no place like the Apple Store," which is about as intuitive as learning Chinese).

When it comes to parenting, there will be a moment -- it may not come on day one, but it will come -- when you will want to swear like a sailor.  And I say this as someone who never said anything worse than "Dang!" for the first 25 years of her life.  (Except for that time when I was about four-years-old and one of my childhood friends graciously taught me how to say the F-word, but THAT WASN'T MY FAULT).

If you haven't had your parental "swearing in" yet, just wait until you're up for the fortieth time in one night and you accidentally bonk your finally-sleeping baby's head on the door frame.  Not even Mormon swear words (Holy fetchin' filibuster!) are good enough for this situation, I'm telling you.

Not that I'm saying you should let the salty language fly (self-control, people!), but if you've ever been so tired that you put one of your twins back in his crib only to discover you just laid him right on top of his (formerly) sleeping sister, well...

Holy fetchin' filibuster, indeed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


In case you haven't heard by now, The Duchess of Cambridge recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, after which she showed the world what all mothers look like ten hours after having their lady bits bulldozed by an eight pound bowling ball.

What, you didn't look like a TRESemme commercial?  What is wrong with you?

Sure, Duchess Catherine had a team of blow dryers and mascara appliers to help her out, but judging by the comments attached to the "First Pictures!" news articles, all it takes to prance out of the hospital looking runway fresh in your size 4 pants is not being a lazy slob for your entire pregnancy.  Seriously, if you would have just gotten off your fat behind and not indulged yourself with foods-with-actual-calories the entire pregnancy, childbirth would be a breeze.

Stitches or no stitches.

This makes me realize two things:

1.  I should not read comments on news articles.  Ever.
2.  I hate women.

Look, Duchess Kate was lovely.  Like, better-than-I-will-ever-look lovely.  And I am so happy that she was able to pull it off (Can you imagine the pressure of appearing before a billion flashbulbs when you feel like a Grizzly Bear attacked the entrance to what is now Niagara Falls?)  But this has nothing to do with me, my life experience, or how I felt after childbirth.  (Hint: less Fashion Week and more Seventh-Circle-of-Hell).  I mean, if I had had to appear in public 10 hours after giving birth, I would have sent a selfie to the AP.  Of the baby.  ("Here she is, yo, peace out!")

But I simply cannot believe how incredibly judgmental women are when it comes to other women.  Did you personally experience my pregnancy or give birth to my baby?  Do you know exactly what it is like to inhabit my body or live my life?  No?  Then kindly zip it.

If you are tempted to make a judgy comment about another woman's body, pregnancy, or health habits, remember, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE HER.  None.  Your pregnancy may have been as easy as Venus standing on her clam shell.  Your birth experience may have been as strenuous as blinking.  But that is your experience and yours alone.

If being a woman has taught me anything, it's that we all need a lot more support than we let on.  We all need someone to say, "You look beautiful" when we know darn well that we don't.  We need someone to offer encouragement when we want to quit, and to say, "You are amazing!" when we are falling short.  We beat ourselves up enough.  We don't need other women to join in the fray.

Especially after the physical and emotional trauma that is childbirth.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why You Should Have More Than One Kid

This is Jonathan:

He is two months old and thinks sleep is best accomplished in ten minute stretches, which, coincidentally, is about the amount of time he goes between diaper fillings.  (Seriously, we should buy stock in Huggies).  Before he was born I thought I would have him on a nice schedule right off the bat (after all, he is my fourth kid... this isn't my first rodeo).  But from the beginning he wouldn't sleep in his own bed for more than a few minutes at a time, and then there was the c-section to recover from, I got a cold, he got a cold, I got the stomach flu, he got RSV (it was like playing Hot Potato with diseases straight from the Mouth of Hell), and somewhere in there my resolve went out the window.  I mean, it is one thing to say you'll make your baby sleep in his own bed, and it's another when he is screaming every ten minutes for the 30th night in a row and you're like OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY JUST GET IN MY BED AND SLEEP!!

And that is exactly why you should have more than one kid, if it is possible.  Because every parent can benefit from the equal doses of relief and humility that stem from learning it's not you, it's them.

Jonathan's big sister, for example, earned her first angelic halo by sleeping through the night at four months without a single ounce of prodding from me.  (She also didn't scream in the carseat like it was a Venus Fly Trap trying to devour her, which I've got to say is preferable to the current situation).  Some kids are more mellow than others, and some kids are just better sleepers.  It has nothing to do with how good their parents are.

Granted, you can (and should) teach your children to behave in certain ways.  But let's be real here.  For some kids, the teaching is easier.  You can pat yourself on the back all you want when one of your children is doing well at something, but the fact is that some kids will potty-train at the age of two and some will resist all of your efforts until you decide to bag the whole thing and just let their college roommates train them.  If I had one kid I could say "I'm such a great parent!  I potty trained my two-year-old in one week!"  But you have to shut your mouth once you have another kid who can't get past the idea that the world (including the living room carpet and the pantry) is his urinal.

Another example?  My oldest son is very self-motivated and super organized.  He cleans his room daily without my having to say a word.  His younger brother, on the other hand... nothing short of standing at his door with a flame thrower will get him to clean his room.  And by "clean" I mean dilly-dally his way through a process that usually consists of stuffing half his lego bin and seven pairs of dirty underwear under his dresser.

Does their behavior have anything to do with the way I parent?  Not in the least.  Both boys are required to clean their rooms daily, and both rooms are required to pass inspection.  But for one kid it's a five minute process that he undertakes voluntarily.  For the other it involves the above-mentioned flame thrower, a 3:1 ratio of whining to cleaning, and about fourteen inspections before the job is done satisfactorily.

This is also why you shouldn't get down on yourself as a parent.  Each kid is easy in some ways and difficult in others.  If you're trying your best to be a good parent, you're doing fine.  Having more than one child helps you to recognize this fact and be more compassionate when other parents are struggling.

And besides, there is nothing cuter than siblings.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Year in Review

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s time for the 2014 Overly Family rundown!

January:  The family makes goals for the year, which consist mostly of noble pursuits like “Build houses for charity” and “Discover a cure for cancer.”  Just kidding.  They are mostly gross things the kids need to work on like “Stop biting your toenails” and “Stop picking your nose.”  Leah and Matthew turn four years old and Mom and Dad wonder where the time went.

February:  Michael is introduced to the mercurial ways of women when he lovingly gives his little sister a Darth Sidious Valentine and she cries for half an hour.  Leah decorates the new leather couch with glitter nail polish that won’t come off. Bonnie takes her niece, Katie, to the Missionary Training Center and in the process manages to lose her keys, credit card, and the phone SHE HAD JUST BEEN TALKING ON all separately and within 20 minutes of each other.  She quietly rescinds her nomination for Most Organized Person in the Family.

March:  David and Bonnie try a Jillian Michaels workout video, which turns Bonnie into a complete cripple and makes David “a little sore.”  David is down 20 pounds and Bonnie can run for 20 minutes without dying.

April:  Bonnie contemplates going to trade school to learn how to repair washing machines after a Sears repairman spends a total of 2.3 minutes removing a single lego from the bowels of her front-loader and charges her $159.  Everyone gets new bikes and Michael learns to ride without training wheels.

May:  David’s Grandmother passes away at the age of 98.  Her funeral is a celebration of a life well lived.  Matthew barfs in the middle of the grocery store, which necessitates his mother carrying him out to the car in nothing but his underwear and his sister’s flouncy sweater.  The family spends three days preparing for a two-day camping trip to Capitol Reef, where the kids earn their Junior Ranger badges from a redheaded intern with dreadlocks named “Cinimin.”

June:  Michael begins baseball, Matthew and Leah begin swimming lessons, and Bonnie begins a three-month-long routine of spending half the day with her face in her pillow (thanks to baby number 4 who is due to arrive in February!)  David and Bonnie celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary in style:  David gets a speeding ticket racing from his busy job at [Big Company] to make it home in time for their “romantic” dinner with the kids, and Bonnie goes to bed with stomach problems.

July:  The family has a blast at the McConkie Reunion in Oceanside, California playing with cousins, going to Legoland, and boogie boarding in the ocean.  When Leah changes her mind about something, Matthew sagely informs the family that “girls can always change their minds.”  The kids enjoy two rounds of fireworks on the 4th of July and Pioneer Day, and ask to go to the pool every day.

August:  An ultrasound reveals that a little brother is on the way!  Workers begin the project of completing the unfinished portion of the basement.  Bonnie is asked to serve in the Relief Society Presidency and is attacked by a barrage of meetings, the kids start school, soccer, dance, and piano lessons, and Michael gets hooked on the Harry Potter series.

September:  Leah sticks a bead so far down Matthew’s ear that he has to be sedated at Primary Children’s Hospital to remove it.  While Bonnie’s parents watch the kids, David and Bonnie escape to NYC for a few days.  They win the Wicked lottery (front row seats for $30!), stuff their faces, and enjoy all their old haunts in the city.  Meanwhile, the grandparents deal with Michael and Matthew getting the barfs, the water heater leaking, and the car battery dying.   David and Bonnie come home relaxed and refreshed and the grandparents leave with a raging case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

October:  The kids count down the days till Halloween.  The basement is completed, David and Bonnie take on the project of installing chair rail in the bedrooms and painting, and Michael insists on listening to nothing but Harry Potter soundtracks every moment he is home from second grade.  Add in Leah’s round-the-clock requests for songs from Frozen and you’ll understand why Bonnie gets a little twitchy any time someone asks her if she wants to build a snowman.

November: David and Bonnie host Thanksgiving, cook the dickens out of the turkey, and stand in line for two hours at Target only to not get what they came for.  They console themselves with pie.

December:  Michael turns eight and is baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He has a rare birthday party, gets his own set of scriptures, and, to his great delight, starts cub scouts.

We are so grateful for your friendship and love and wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, The Overlys -- David, Bonnie, Michael, Matthew, & Leah