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Grandmother offers advice for living through difficult times.

There’s no shortage of advice for getting through difficult times. Unfortunately, most of that advice is either painfully unrealistic or reeks of toxic positivity. Solid advice that is both helpful and comforting is hard to come by, which is why this advice is going viral for all the right reasons.

The advice comes from Elena Mikhalkova—or rather her Mikhalkova’s grandmother—and it goes like this:



My grandmother once gave me a tip:

In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

Do what you have to do, but little by little.

Don't think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.

Wash the dishes.

Remove the dust.

Write a letter.

Make a soup.

You see?

You are advancing step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Rest a little.

Praise yourself.

Take another step.

Then another.

You won't notice, but your steps will grow more and more.

And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

Can we all just pause for a minute to take a deep breath and maybe wipe the tears from our eyes? Because I don’t know about you, but this advice is just what I’ve needed to read almost every day lately.

I suspect I’m not alone in this either because Mikhalkova’s advice is being shared all over the internet.


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With COVID-19 raging again and many of us (dare I say, all of us?) struggling with one thing or another, this quote hits. Unlike the clichéd “one foot in front of another” advice that can seem both demeaning and overwhelming, this advice offers concrete steps to take.

Wash the dishes. Make soup. Rest, and praise yourself.

These are things I can do. Well, maybe not soup, per se. But cookies. I can make cookies. And maybe you can make soup. Or knit a scarf. Or sweep the kitchen floor. This is enough.

What this advice taps into that other tidbits lose sight of is that when we’re in the midst of a calamity, even the most simple and everyday tasks are more difficult. Making lunch can seem monumental and the mere thought of doing virtual school for another few weeks can make us take to our beds, sobbing in the fetal position. Advice to “look on the bright side” can be patronizing and counterproductive. This advice does none of those things but, instead, acknowledges that even a small step matters. It doesn’t dismiss the pain, but recognizes that even thinking about the future can be painful and that progress sometimes looks like making it through the day without crying

This advice also goes beyond the “sun will come out tomorrow” reminders and acknowledges that things might not be better tomorrow or the day after that. It will take time for wounds to heal and difficult times to pass, but we need not passively wait for this time to come. We can make soup, rest and be kind to ourselves.

In the early days of the pandemic, I remember feeling like there was so much more I should be doing with all this extra “at home” time. Yet I found even the most basic tasks to be more difficult. In turn, I felt guilty for not being more productive. But what I’ve learned—or rather amlearning—is that allostatic load and decision fatigue are very real. Productivity looks different on different days, and sometimes being patient with ourselves is the most productive thing we can do.

Mikhalkova’s advice taps into a mantra that I often recite when I’m struggling: Just do one good thing. Unload the dishwasher. Return an email. Fold the laundry. Hug my kids. Then do the next good thing. Eventually these things add up. Time passes and small steps turn into something bigger.

What I love most about Mikhalkova’s advice—and what is easy to forget in difficult times—is the reminder to praise ourselves along the way. Because sometimes that pat on the back we need the most is our own.


This article originally appeared on 02.07.22 Christine Organ is a writer who lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two sons, and rescue dog. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.



Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17

File:Door knocking for Jody Wilson Raybould (48911105817).jpg ...

Kids, man. I'm not sure of the scientific way audacity is distributed, but kids have a lot of it and somehow make it cute. That audacity overload is especially interesting when you're the default parent—you know, the parent kids go to for literally everything as if there's not another fully capable adult in the house. Chances are if your children haven't sought you out while you were taking a shower so you could open up a pack of fruit snacks, then you're not the default parental unit.

One parent captured exactly what it's like to be the default parent and shared it to TikTok, where the video has over 4 million views. Toniann Marchese went on a quick grocery run and *gasp* did not inform her children. Don't you fret, they're modern kids who know how to use modern means to get much-needed answers when mom is nowhere to be found. They went outside and rang the doorbell.

Back when we were children, this would've done nothing but make the dogs bark, but for Marchese's kids, who are 3 and 6 years old, it's as good as a phone call.


You may be questioning why this mom left her two young children home alone. She didn't. Their father was home, likely wondering why the children were playing so quietly. But. He. Was. Right. There. And the kids still bypassed him to talk to their mom through the Ring doorbell camera. It was pressing business, after all.

"My tablet is dead," the 3-year-old said.

The kids ignored Marchese's questions about where their dad was and continued to complain about their tablets. The entire situation is enough to make any default parent chuckle and maybe sob a little.

Watch the urgent doorbell call below:

@tinyann22

Moms can never get a minute of peace lol #momsoftiktok #momlife #ring #camera #kidsoftiktok

And if you're skeptical that dad was within shouting distance, the mom of two uploaded a part two where dad comes into the frame.

@tinyann22

Replying to @iustmerlp part 2… daddy was found! Lol #kidsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #parentsoftiktok #fyp #ring #prioritiesfirst

This article originally appeared on 3.22.23

A collage of family photos.

Shannyn Weiler, a Utah-based interior designer, has caused a debate on TikTok after she urged people to use caution when displaying family photos in the home. The discussion started a debate over whether a home should be decorated for visitors or the family itself and if having a “shrine” dedicated to family members is tasteful.

The video began with a stitch from a designer passionately saying that one should “never’ display “personal photos” in the living room.

“So family photos can become a problem when they become what I refer to as the shrine,” Weiler begins the video. She shared an example from her life, to make the case why family photos should be hung judiciously.

“I got married when I was 21,” she shares. “We were both in school, absolutely broke, we had $50 to buy a couch, so imagine what type of couch that was. We went to go decorate our first apartment and lo and behold, there’s no money for decoration. So we do what most newlyweds do, we use our wedding photos, because we’re so cute and we’re so in love and we just love our wedding day. Everywhere in our apartment was wedding photos… it felt like what I call ‘the shrine.’”


“It’s very real. This also happens if you have one baby, and you might have baby photos taken and it’s the shrine to the one kid,” she continues. “This also happens if you have one grandkid.”

@shannynweiler

Interior design art tips Art decor interior design Interior design 2024 art prints Interior design art trends 2024 interior design trends #hometips #homedecor #wallart #decortips #walldecor #interiordesign

Weiler believes that people should hang artwork or photography about more than one subject.

“They can’t just be on every wall with one subject,” she says. “We need to mix it up. There needs to be a mirror in the space. We need some Etsy art prints or something like that. We just need to mix it together to get rid of that shrine feel.”

The post bothered many who love having pictures of their family around the house. The vast majority of commenters were people who love having family photos strewn about their homes

"The house is for us not company," Sarah Murdock, the most popular commenter, wrote. "I’d rather have pics of my kids and our life up than prints of random flowers and art," Ty Harman added.

"I grew up in an interior design magazine and HATED that my mom never displayed any photos of my family. Felt like she cared more about material things," Alexandra DiGiovanni wrote.

Others noted that people decorate their homes for themselves, not for guests.

"OR we do what we want with the homes WE live in, not guests," Ergot wrote. "I like myself, I don't have a problem seeing myself everywhere. After all, I paid the bills," Gege Chic added.

Some people agreed with the interior decorator and said that having too many family photos in a house looks tacky.

"YES. Photographs of ourselves in my own house feel so weird to me. Narcissistic kind of Jamiecakes wrote. "I don't have a single photo of a person in my house. I think they look tacky," C wrote. "One friend's house comes to mind for me, it was tacky (for me) to see nothing but wedding pics. Like, do you have other interests? Just my opinion but also, they’re divorced now. Mixing in art helps," _sigred added.

Even though the post received a pretty sizable backlash, Weiler’s opinion is widely accepted in design circles. “To us, having too many portraits of yourself on display in your home is kind of like having a tattoo of yourself on your own body. It can come off as vain and tacky,” Sarah Han writes at Apartment Therapy.

After her thoughts on family photos went viral, Weiler posted a follow-up video where she shared an example of a student changing their mind about home decor.

“Sometimes in design, we hear the design ideas and go, 'Mmm nope, that's not for me.' Sometimes, we try those ideas and we still say, 'Nope, that's not for me.' But occasionally we try things and we go, 'Okay, I do kind of like that,’” Weiler concluded her video.

@shannynweiler

reply to @Shannyn #homedecor #interiordesign #hometips #interiordesigntrends2024 #wall art

This article originally appeared on 2.9.24