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Family

10 everyday things that might seem mundane, but all parents come to appreciate

Waking up naturally is a divine and precious gift.

parenting, appreciation, family, kids
Canva

Take pleasure in little things when you're raising kids.

As a parent, it sometimes feels like you're supposed to be fueled entirely by selfless love and a "spiritual connection" to your children.

But you know what? You matter, too! And there's nothing wrong with needing a little soul-nourishment that doesn't end with you on your knees scrubbing barf out of the carpet.


Yes, it's possible to love your kids deeply but also be a little overwhelmed by what your life has become. It's totally normal to need a little more than just love to keep yourself going.

With that in mind, here are 10 things all parents can agree on about the tiny, but hardly insignificant, pleasures of the daily parent-grind.

1. You've determined that one and a half is the perfect number of drinks.

Perfection.

Drinking alcohol is fun! It's also a brief reminder of what it used to be like when you were allowed to have adult fun. But each drink also increases the amount it will suck if and when the kids wake up early or in the middle of the night.

wine, drinking, alcohol, responsible behavior

The perfect amount of drinks fro healthy relaxing.

Photo by photo pic on Unsplash

The magic number usually tends to be around two drinks, less the half beer left sitting on your night stand after you've just given up and passed out, netting a perfect 1.5.

2. You hate washing dishes, but you love that warm dishwater.

Washing dishes while holding baby? Parenting level: expert.

Children are basically mystical fairies that fill your home with dirty dishes while you aren't looking.

Washing those dishes is an endless, thankless chore, but at least soaking your hands in the hot, frothy water feels kind of nice.

3. You know that silence really is golden.

...

No, no, don't ruin it. Just listen.

Ahhh...

4. You don't drive just to get places.

Most people think cars are just motorized hunks of metal that take you from Point A to Point B.

Parents know that they are, in fact, complex machines designed to make children fall asleep while you pick up dinner at the drive-through, or even just drive aimlessly through an area without a lot of stoplights.

5. You cherish the days where nothing happens.

Getting up, going to work, eating dinner, and going to bed. That's all we really want.

Any day where no one gets sick, injured, or inexplicably, inconsolably cranky is a success.

6. You also love Mondays. (Really.)

Having a young child is kind of like making a bomb out of household items and carrying it around with you. Even if you're really careful, there's a chance it might explode.

Monday (for many of us) means dropping the kids at school or daycare where, short of severe injury or illness, anything that happens after that is their problem.

7. You have a new appreciation for waking up naturally.

bed, morning intimacy, freedom, slumber

Absolute joy when sleeping in and the kids are away.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I barely remember what this feels like..

Being kissed awake by the sun's heavenly rays is so rare that when it does happen, you assume your child must have died in their sleep. But once you confirm that all's well and melt back into a peaceful slumber, there's no better feeling in the world.

8. You know that hot showers are everything.

See: Warm dishwater, silence.

9. You hang out with other parents to put everything into perspective.

Hanging around a bunch of parents is amazing. Everyone's wearing sweats, no one's in shape, and showering is totally optional. Everyone's just trying to get by, OK?

And if you have to go home because your kid's having a meltdown, they're all too busy cutting food into small pieces or monitoring timeout to give you the side-eye.

10. You drink coffee like it is the source of all life.

coffee, source of life, trouble sleeping

The pleasure found in a perfect coffee.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Drinking coffee doesn't really have the same effect as getting more sleep, but it's possible to convince yourself otherwise. Sometimes, though, you'll drink coffee too late in the day and have trouble sleeping.

The only solution to that? Yep. More coffee.

Being a parent is hard. It's OK to admit it.

It doesn't matter if you're tired. It doesn't matter if you're sick. It doesn't matter if it's your birthday. It doesn't even matter if you're tired and sick ON your birthday. (And you will be.)

At least, that's how it can feel.

But psychiatrist Gail Saltz told TODAY Parents, "You have to put your oxygen mask on first," so to speak. "If you go to pieces, everyone is going down with you."

That's why we're all so desperate for that spa day or for a beer with friends. But it might be a while before we can get one on the books.

In the meantime, it pays to look for the little moments in between that give us the juice we need to keep going.


This article originally appeared on 03.15.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.


Several couldn’t help but compare Stutzman’s salary to their own—especially those in professions requiring degrees and certifications.

“Not me realizing that a UPS driver makes more than I do. 20 years in my field with a degree!” one person lamented.

Another added, “$44? I’m a dang nurse only making $32 🤦♀️”

@skylerleestutzman UPS Driver Paystub Breakdown… #upspay #upswages #teamsters #ups ♬ original sound - Skyler Stutzman

Many even joked (or perhaps half-joked) about applying to become drivers themselves. But as Stutzman pointed out in multiple follow-up videos, earning his rate takes patience.


According to one of those clips, it took almost six years before he was offered a full time position, followed by a four year progression of wage increases until he started earning what he earns today. That’s around a decade, which one person pointed out was around the same time it takes to become a doctor.

Stutzman added that, depending on the location, you would be required to work in a UPS warehouse before working as a driver. So while his paycheck might have you considering taking on the job yourself, just know that it’s not exactly taking the easy route. And we haven’t even touched on the amount of manual labor that goes into the job…rain or shine.

Stutzman also said that he shared his current paycheck in the spirit of transparency, which is a value that the teamsters upheld as they fought for increased wages and better working conditions earlier this year.

@skylerleestutzman Here are my THEORETICAL thoughts… “Why would you show your paystub like that?” #upsdriver #ups #upswages #teamster #upspay ♬ original sound - Skyler Stutzman

After months of tense negotiations, as well as a threat to enact what would have been the largest single employer strike in U.S. history, disrupting deliveries across the country, the postal workers union reached an agreement with UPS.

The deal included air conditioning and ventilation improvements to delivery vehicles as well as full-time UPS drivers earning an average of $170,000 in annual pay, plus benefits. By the end of the contract, part-time union drivers would also make at least $25.75 per hour while receiving full health care and pension benefits,” according to UPS CEO Carol Tomé.

From Stutzman’s perspective, his earnings shouldn’t cause envy among those in other industries, but reflect a shared need for increased wages across the board to keep up with inflation.

Big takeaways here: earning good money doesn’t always require a degree, unions are powerful, don’t underestimate the value of skilled labor…and UPS drivers deserve respect.


This article originally appeared on 12.12.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Bride-to-be saved from bad engagement photos by stranger

So many people dream of the day they get engaged and all of the fun things that come after that moment. It can feel like a whirlwind of activities: phone calls, picking the date, bridal showers, dress shopping and engagement pictures just to mention a few. With so many things going on that involve multiple people and locations, something is bound to go wrong every once in a while.

Malia Makaila was in the midst of that rose tinted haze while taking engagement pictures on the street with her fiancé. From the looks of everything, things were going well, the mood was light and everything seems perfect. Well...that is until the soon-to-be groom noticed a strange woman staring at the giddy couple.

Malia is completely oblivious to the stranger as she focuses on primping a bit before the next series of photos is taken. Eventually she couldn't stop herself from interrupting the photoshoot.


The unknown woman sort of runs over into the frame of the photo and reaches out towards Malia's head, "sorry you just have one hair." The rest of what she says is inaudible before she reveals that she's a hairdresser after tucking the stray hair into place and walking out of frame. Malia appears delighted that the woman not only noticed the hair but fixed it. Chances are when the pictures came back the engaged woman would've been slightly miffed that her hair decided to make its own rules that day. Others were also impressed by the hairdresser's actions.

Watch the sweet moment below:

"Sooo at first I didn’t even notice it. But after screenshots and close examination it looks as if there was in fact “one piece” like curled backward like over her shoulder. Shout out to the hairdresser, she real for that," one person says.

"I wish someone had stepped in to fix my wedding photo hair…you are gorgeous and the rescuer of stray hair is priceless," another writes.

"We should all be girls-girls," someone else declares.

"What are the odds of a hair dresser walking in to your photoshoot and stopping by to fix your hair. She was sent from heaven," one commenter suggests.

The photos will likely turn out beautiful and thanks to that sweet hairdresser, there will be no need to edit a curly piece of hair doing its own thing. Here's to an amazing future for the beautiful couple.

Pop Culture

Woman explains why she 'never returns' her shopping cart, sparking huge debate

“I’m not returning my shopping cart. You can judge me all you want.”

Photo credit: Canva, @drlesliedobson/TikTok

“I’m not returning my shopping cart. You can judge me all you want.”

The “shopping cart theory,” supposedly sprung to life from an anonymous 4chan user in May 2020, states that whether or not a person returns their shopping cart is “the ultimate litmus test” for if said person is “capable of self governing.”

The theory surmises that since returning a shopping cart is both an easy and “objectively right” thing to do, but not legally enforced, “good” people will do so in an effort simply because it’s the right thing to do. Conversely, “bad” people won’t do it out of selfishness or entitlement.

However, forensic psychologist and mom Dr. Leslie Dobson seems to disagree with the concept, and recently went viral for explaining why she never returns her shopping cart.

“I’m not returning my shopping cart,” she said in a clip posted to TikTok. “You can judge me all you want.”

From her perspective, it’s a safety issue. “I’m not getting my groceries into my car, getting my children into the car and leaving them in the car to go return the cart. So if you’re gonna give me a dirty look…F- -k off.”

@drlesliedobson #groceryshopping #shoppingcart #traderjoes #protectourchildren #protectourkids #educational #groceries #singlemom #drleslie ♬ original sound - Dr. Leslie

Dobson’s take left viewers baffled, many of whom shared criticism in the comments section.

“Shopping cart return stations are all over the parking lot — so never really more than 20 seconds away and you still can’t be bothered?” one person wrote.

“I’m a single disabled momma. I have a placard and thus park in the handicap spots. I rely on the cart to help me walk and still walk the cart to the corral and hobble back to my car,” said another.

This prompted Dobson to share a follow-up video in which she stated that "Last year, 265 children were abducted in parking lots in America, half of those were sexually assaulted. As a single mom returning your shopping cart, you are prime for a predator to watch and grab you."

@drlesliedobson

♬ original sound - Dr. Leslie

According to Fox News, that statistics comes from Kids and Car Safety, which reports that 265 cars had been stolen with children alone inside in 2022, though not all in parking lots. Also worth noting: the same fact sheet doesn't mention sexual assault, however, it does say that theives frequently steal cars not knowing a child is inside, and will then abandon the car or the child on the side of the road.

In her video. Dobson also noted that in many states, like California, it’s illegal to turn your car on and walk away in a parking lot, and said that in certain congested cities like Los Angeles (where she resides) it could be a “12 minute walk” from the car to back to the store to return a shopping cart.

With both her clips, people argued that there were obvious ways to both return carts and keep kids nearby at the same time.

“1) put groceries in the car 2) walk with the kids in the cart to the cart house 3) return cart 4) walk back to the cars with kids,” one viewer wrote.

Another seconded, “mom of a 6yo, 3yo and 9months. I simply unload the groceries, return cart WITH kids, and then load them in. Same way that we got out of the car. Simple.”

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Dobson’s specific stance, it’s fascinating how this universal aspect of daily life reflects how individuals view society as a whole.

Back in 2017, anthropologist and author Krystal D’Costa wrote not one, but two articles for the Scientific American dissecting all the ways in which someone might or might not return their shopping cart. After receiving thousands of comments from “Returners,” “Never Returners” and everywhere in between, she concluded that no matter what category you might fall into, “the main point is that we all need to look around us and think not only about ourselves and our comforts but those of others.” That includes both cart abandoners and those that might judge them for doing so.

Bottom line: it's often the way we handle the most mundane parts of our day that reflect our views on life as a whole. Maybe that’s why something like grocery etiquette becomes such a hot button issue so easily.

@over40slbmom/TikTok

Feeling nostalgic yet?

It seems like so many iterations of unfettered joy from our childhood haven’t made it to the modern age, and playgrounds are no exception.

Gone are the days of metal slides that scorched the derriere in the summertime, seesaws that doubled as human catapults and the notorious merry-go-rounds that separated the weak from the strong. Good old fashioned character building—safety be damned!

As it turns out, a few of these old relics are still standing. And footage of kids playing at one of these bygone parks is filling adults—particularly Gen Xers—with sweet nostalgia.

Dubbing it the “Last Gen X Playground” by Ronda Schofield filmed a video of the local haunt in all its rusted glory.

As the iconic 80s song “Maniac” plays in the background, we first see some kiddos swinging on a very odd contraption that sports a generic clown face.

Then the camera pans out to reveal a metal slide weighted down by a concrete cinder block (classic), dilapidated rocking horse swings, and a spinning seesaw that’s certainly seen better days.

But you know what? The kids today seem to like it just fine.

@over40_slbmom Last GenX Playground!❤️ #genx #genxtiktokers #over50#bestgenerationever #genxkid ♬ Maniac (Flashdance Version) (Re-Recorded / Remastered) - Michael Sembello

While plenty of these staples have been replaced by safer alternatives, viewers on TikTok couldn’t help but reminisce about their childhood favorites.

“The lunch ladies at my elementary school would give us waxed paper so we would slide faster down the slide,” one person recalled.

The horse swings were my favorite,” add another. “Impossible when you get bigger, no knee room!”

One even quipped “Metal slides on a hot summer day... getting blinded and burnt at the same time.” Ah yes, a simpler time.

As people shared their recess war stories, it became all the more clear why many of these fixtures are no longer around.

“Broke my leg on the spinning thing and got stitches in my chin from the teeter totter,” one person joked.

Still, folks definitely felt their childhood come alive again after Schofield’s clip. Many felt it should be restored and kept a historic landmark of sorts.

The pre-internet days might have been a little rough around the edges, but there was an undeniable rugged charm about it all. In many ways, it was easier for kids to just be kids, allowing for social interaction, reckless abandon and learning that a few knee scrapes doesn’t signal the end of the world.

Those days might be behind us—and probably for the better, ultimately—but it’s still nice to hop back in from time to time.

Now, where’s the vintage mall with cheesy glamor shots, vinyl shops, video game arcades and RadioShacks?


This article originally appeared on 9.21.23

Sandra Maria/Youtube, Official Lives & Music Videos/Youtube

You can't not sing this song.

The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.

This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.

It wasn’t long before the entire stadium was singing along to that beloved tune and acing every single lyric. As one person commented on YouTube, even though most people in Warsaw don’t speak English, “they sing Queen.”

The passionate impromptu performance serves as a reminder of how special both Queen and the late Freddie Mercury remain today.

“No other band will ever come close to Queen. They were lightning in a bottle and Freddie was a whale in a teardrop. Once people keep singing his words, FM will live on forever,” another YouTube viewer wrote.

Indeed, seeing an entire stadium come alive with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you can’t help but feel Mercury’s soul return to the mortal plane, as if we’ve all been transported back to that historic Live Aid concert in 1985 when he had the entirety of Wembley Stadium wrapped around his finger for 21 glorious minutes.

Watch below, and try not to sing along. Scratch that—sing your heart out.

This article originally appeared on 7.14.23