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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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The ridiculously terrible mother-daughter camping trip that taught me when to let go.

One woman's Mother's Day tribute to her strong, nonconforming mom.

True
Mothers Everywhere

I’m not sure if it was my idea to join Girl Scouts or if it was my mother’s.

In September 1998, I was starting fourth grade in a new school, and I was really looking forward to rebranding myself. Small and shy, I had enjoyed origami club at my old school, and I spent my weekends reading "Little House on the Prairie." But faced with a whole new peer group to befriend, I determined that I should be less of a "weirdo."

I quickly picked up that in our new town, playing sports was the quickest route to popularity and a sense of belonging. But given my size and aversion to running, I quickly ruled that out as a viable option. Some of the cool girls were joining Girl Scouts, though, and I loved nature.


Image via iStock.

My mother is an artist and a wholly sophisticated person.

Before my brother and I arrived, she worked in fashion: living in Greenwich Village and flying to Paris and Milan for runway shows. While she raised us, she designed and painted textiles from our home, taking the train into Brooklyn for painting seminars on the weekends.

My mother’s studio in 1996. Photo by the author, used with permission.

I spent most of my early years playing on the floor of her studio, surrounded by art supplies from Pearl Paint (RIP), rummaging through her sketchbooks and fabric swatches.

For my mother, and for me, fitting into our new suburban town did not come naturally.

It seemed like everyone else’s dad worked on Wall Street, and everyone else’s mom drove a Chevy Suburban. The town had three separate soccer leagues: one recreational, one school-run, and one competitive. Later, in my angsty teenage years, I would not be able to imagine why my parents chose to move to such a homogenous, boring place.

Of course, I know now that every single thing my parents did between 1985 and 2010 was for my benefit. My mother saw the good schools and the safe neighborhoods and resigned herself to coexisting with J.Crew-clad peers for the next decade. But at 9 years old, I was determined to fit in — come hell or high water.

The first official Girl Scout trip of the 1998-1999 school year was to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

We were going to visit the amusement park, see how Hershey kisses were made, and most importantly, camp next to an actual river. I had lucked into bunking with three extremely popular girls, and my excitement level was high. If my mom was less enthused about the trip, she didn’t let on, but she was concerned about the weather — there was heavy rain predicted all weekend.


Photo via iStock.

While the three other girls packed their sleeping bags into my mom’s car, she talked to the troop leader about the impending downpour headed our way and got the brush off: We weren’t worried about a little rain! We were Girl Scouts. We would tough it out. Not wanting to be alarmist, my mother decided to go with the flow.

I don’t remember much about the amusement park or how Hershey kisses are made, but I do remember what a lime green Girl Scouts of America tent looks like as it gets washed away in a flash flood.

The campsite “next to a river” turned out to be in a literal river basin. By day two of our trip, it became apparent that the rain was going to be a little more than we’d bargained for. After a soggy lunch on the second day, we returned to find the campsite in very different conditions than when we’d left. The peaceful green river was now muddy and brown, surging, and full of debris.

Photo via iStock.

The water in our camp was knee-high, and as everyone scrambled to move their possessions to higher ground, my mother registered two things: The river was already lapping over the sides of the only bridge out of there and the campsite closest to it was completely underwater.

She made an executive decision: We were done going with the flow; the flow was now a whitewater rapid.

As a tent from the campsite next-door bobbed away downriver, my mom threw me and my backpack into her car and peeled out of the parking lot in her Swedish sports car.

Somewhere in her rearview mirror, a group of blonde women in Hunter boots and North Face fleeces continued “toughing it out.”

They all survived, of course. Apparently camps were assembled in a nearby parking lot, and it amuses me now to imagine what the rest of the trip must’ve looked like. I picture 20 soggy 9-year-olds camping between SUVs, their mothers resolutely singing the Girl Scout smile song over the sounds of a raging river, never conceding defeat.

I spent another four years trying to get mean girls who played sports to like me before I transitioned seamlessly into the aforementioned angsty teenager phase.

But I’m fairly certain that for my mother the charade ended in that very moment, while dragging a 10-year-old and her pink sleeping bag through knee-deep amusement park water.

She was just plain out, and she gave not one thought to the opinions of others in that moment.

It took me another decade or so of growing up to understand the real lesson in my mother's decision during that camping trip.

We’re always taught to never give up — “don’t be a quitter” — but honestly, what does “not giving up” look like in a flash flood?

When you’re slogging it out, giving something your all, don’t you ever stop and think, "Even if I could eventually break through this brick wall with my bare hands, do I really want to spend the next five years clawing at it?"

I suppose it depends on what’s on the other side, but sometimes I really think it takes a stronger person to back up, redirect, and choose a new goal. It’s something my mother does well and something I wish I did better.

These days, when I’m staring at the proverbial brick wall, trying to figure out why it still doesn’t like me, I try to recall the look on my mother’s face as she watched that tent float away downriver.

And I laugh, and remember that sometimes it’s just not worth it.

Pre trick-or-treating 1998, just after realizing that everyone else was going as a Spice Girl. Hand-made costume by my mother, of course.

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)

True

At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.


“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

@thehalfdeaddad/TikTok

Dad on TikTok shared how he addressed his son's bullying.

What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.

Single dad Patrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.


The thought process behind his decision, which he explained in a now-viral TikTok video, is both simple and somewhat racial compared to how many parents have been encouraged to handle similar situations.

“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.

At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”

So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.

From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.

“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”

@thehalfdeaddad Replying to @sunshinyday1227 And then it’s my kid 🤦‍♂️😡 #endbullyingnow #talktoyourkidsmore #dadlifebestlife #singledadsover40 #teachyourchildren #ReadySetLift ♬ Get You The Moon - Kina

So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.

Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.

“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”

In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”

He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.

Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.


This article originally appeared on 3.24.23

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

Pop Culture

Watch Miss Kansas call out her abuser in the audience during final pageant interview

"I took back my power—not just for myself, but for my dreams and everyone watching and listening."

Alexis Smith was crowned Miss Kansas in June 2024.

Domestic violence survivors are cheering on the winner of the Miss Kansas competition after she stood on stage and called out her abuser who showed up to the pageant.

Before Alexis Smith was chosen from 26 participants in the state competition on June 8, 2024 to represent Kansas in the 2025 Miss America contest, she was asked to speak on stage about her Reclaimed Respect initiative.

“My vision as the next Miss Kansas is to eliminate unhealthy and abusive relationships,” Smith said. “Matter of fact, some of you out in this audience saw me very emotional because my abuser is here today. But that’s not going to stop me from being on this Miss Kansas stage and from representing as the next Miss Kansas. Because I, and my community, deserve healthy relationships. We deserve a domestic [violence] free life.”

Watch:

@lexlex_smith

Respect Reclaimed is about reclaiming your power and standing firmly in it. On the night of Miss Kansas, my journey took an unexpected turn when someone I have been healing from tried to disrupt my peace. Instead of falling into silence, I chose to live out my vision for a better world. I took back my power—not just for myself, but for my dreams and everyone watching and listening. This isn't about shunning others; it's about turning our pain into purpose and channeling it in a way that unifies and uplifts. I'm ready to use my story, tools, and resources to end unhealthy relationships in all forms. My voice and advocacy will empower everyone to reclaim their own power in their own unique way. I might be small in stature, but I stand tall in strength, purpose, and power with hopes of inspiring others to do the same. #fyp #abuse #miss #misskansas #missamerica #pageant #awareness #me #relationship #respect #tiktok

In the video shared on TikTok, the new Miss Kansas wrote, "Respect Reclaimed is about reclaiming your power and standing firmly in it. On the night of Miss Kansas, my journey took an unexpected turn when someone I have been healing from tried to disrupt my peace. Instead of falling into silence, I chose to live out my vision for a better world. I took back my power—not just for myself, but for my dreams and everyone watching and listening."

She wrote that it wasn't about shunning anyone, but about "turning our pain into purpose and channeling it in a way that unifies and uplifts."

"I’m ready to use my story, tools, and resources to end unhealthy relationships in all forms," she wrote. "My voice and advocacy will empower everyone to reclaim their own power in their own unique way.

I might be small in stature, but I stand tall in strength, purpose, and power with hopes of inspiring others to do the same."

People who have experienced abuse themselves applauded her advocacy.

"As a victim of domestic violence I applaud you for speaking out!! I watched this 10 times!! I’m still getting bullied by his parents even with a no contact order. I plan on helping women like us as well."

"WHAT A WOMAN. This is absolutely incredible. From one survivor to another, I am SO SO proud of you for reclaiming this moment for yourself. You will do amazing things🫶🏽🫶🏽"

"Incredibly brave of you. You just made a statement for all women. I appreciate you so much."

"As an old survivor…I’m so damn PROUD OF YOU!! Love, A Stranger💚"

"We got to see you ACTIVELY showcasing your platform LIVE IN PERSON! My upmost respect to you Miss Alexis. This is beyond any crown, I cannot wait to watch your journey. As someone who grew up around domestic violence, I have chills watching you. You will always have a supporter in me.💖 You absolutely ate that. 👑"

"YAS GIRL! As a fellow survivor, you are an inspiration and I’m so proud of you for using your voice and showing your strength."

According to The Wichita Eagle, Smith uses her 19 years of experience as a ventriloquist to teach kids about healthy relationships with puppets as part of her Reclaimed Respect initiative. She also works full-time as a cardiothoracic ICU nurse.

Joy

Instacart delivery person followed her instincts and ended up saving the life of a customer

"You're supposed to take a picture and leave, and I could not just leave."

Jessica Higgs had a sense that something wasn't right at a customer's house and her action saved his life.

One the more mysterious aspects of being human is our sense of intuition. This "sixth sense" isn't something we can see or measure, but many people have experienced it in some form or fashion. Maybe it comes as a strong feeling that something isn't right, or that we or someone else should or shouldn't do something. It can be hard to read—not every feeling we get is truly our intuition—but there are plenty of examples of people trusting their instincts and being glad they did.

One such story has gone viral on TikTok. Jessica Higgs, a mom who works as an Instacart grocery delivery person, shared a story in an emotional video that illustrates the importance of listening to that inner voice when it prompts you to make sure someone is OK.

"I just want to start this off by saying if you see something, say something," Higgs said.



She explained how she had done an Instacart order the previous day for a daughter who was ordering for her older dad who couldn't shop for himself. She said she was going the extra mile like she always does for her customers, and that the daughter told her to just drop the groceries on the porch and he'd get them. That's what Higgs would usually do.

"I get there and something was telling me no, you gotta help this man out," she said. "He came out, and I was like OK let me help you, and I got the groceries. You're not supposed to go into someone's house, but I used my judgment and I brought the groceries inside and put them down wherever he wanted me to put them down. You're not supposed to, but I did. And you're supposed to just take a picture and leave, and I could not just leave."

@jessicahiggs3

@Instacart #28DaysOfEucerin #fyp

Higgs noticed that the man looked really sick and she was really concerned. A voice in her head said, "You gotta say something. You gotta say something, Jess." Rather than mark the order as complete, she messaged the man's daughter and told her that it was really unprofessional to say something like this, but she felt like her dad wasn't doing well. "There's a propane tank in there," she told the woman. "I was in there maybe five feet and I got dizzy. There's got to be a leak. He might not be doing good because of this leak."

The woman said she would send her son over to check it out and Higgs left. The woman changed her tip from $14 to $100, which Higgs appreciated, but the message she sent her the next morning was a much greater reward for her going the extra mile.

"Thank you so much, once my son went to check on my dad it turned out it was definitely leaking," she wrote. "You definitely saved my dad and my younger son's life!!!"

Through tears, Higgs said, "I'm just an Instacart worker, but if you see something, say something. I did and I'm so happy I did."

Higgs' TikTok has been viewed more than 15 million times and has been shared widely on social media. It has also attracted the attention of big companies.

Royal Caribbean Cruises shared a TikTok video of its own praising Higgs for her heroic act and offering her and her family a seven-day cruise anywhere in the world. "Cause even heroes need a vacation," the company wrote.

@royalcaribbean

Stitch with @jessicahiggs3 - cause even heroes need a vacation. Thanks @captaincruiseguy

Old Navy connected with her and arranged a shopping spree where she got to model several new outfits. People Magazine commented, "You’re literally a HERO! Good job trusting your instincts. 💕" Even TikTok itself wrote, "You are amazing ❤️thank you for sharing this with all of us."

Lots of commenters also pointed out that she's not "just an Instacart worker." Her work is important, she's providing a needed service and any job done in a spirit of helping others should not be minimized. If she hadn't been there doing her job well, that man may not be here. Never underestimate the difference each of us can make by the simple act of looking out for one another, friend and stranger alike.

Higgs' heartfelt story touched millions, and she's being rightly rewarded for listening to her heart and going out of her way to help someone. Gotta love seeing good things come to people doing good. Well done, Jessica Higgs.


This article originally appeared on 02.08.22

Pop Culture

Middle class families share how much money they have in savings and it's eye-opening

"I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back."

Many middle class families are sharing that they have nothing in savings right now.

According to an April 2024 Gallup poll, 54% of Americans identify as part of the middle class, with 39% identifying as "middle class" and 15% identifying as "upper-middle class." That percentage has held fairly steady for years, but for many, what it feels like to be a middle class American has shifted.

Notably, inflation caused by the pandemic has hit middle class families hard, with incomes not keeping up with cost-of-living increases. Housing costs have skyrocketed in many areas of the country, mortgage interest rates have risen to levels not seen since the pre-Obama era and grocery bills have increased significantly. One government study found that cost of living has increased between around $800 and $1,300 a month depending on the state since 2021, putting a squeeze on everyone, including the middle class.

One woman shared that her family is just getting by and asked other people who identify as middle class to "chime in" with what they have in their savings account.

"I swear, every paycheck I am putting money into my savings, but needing to transfer it back within a few days," shared @abbyy..rosee on TikTok. "My registration is due. My husband's registration is due. He needed two new tires, even though they had a warranty. That's $300. My oldest needs braces, he needs a palate expander, that's $120 a month. Not to mention groceries are $200 more a week. Forget about feeding your family great ingredients because who has $500 a week to spend on perfect ingredients to feed your family?"


@abbyy..rosee

somethings gotta give #savings #middleclass #relatable

She explained that her husband makes enough money that they should be able to live comfortably, and that she quit her job because the cost of daycare was more than she was making.

"At some point, something has to give," she said. "What is going on? How do I save money?"

People in the comments chimed in with their savings account totals and it was quite eye-opening. Many people shared that they have $0 saved.

"We make the most money we ever have and have zero savings. We live paycheck to paycheck and every month I don’t know how we get by."

"I think the middle class is 1 personal disaster away from bankruptcy."

"Y’all got savings accounts?!?! 😂"

"I used to freak out if I had under $10k in savings, now I’m happy when I have over $150. 😫"

"We make almost 100,000 a year with no savings!!!! It's always something!!"

"I'm lucky if we have $500-$1K for an emergency. every single time we start saving something happens. the vet, the cars, the kids... something."

"Savings account? I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back. My husband makes great money too but we are scraping by."

"$803 but we have to pay a $750 deductible this week b/c my Husband hit a deer soooo… back at it 😭 It’s exhausting. Constantly draining it, refilling it, transferring."

Some people shared that they do have some savings, but several said it was because they'd had an inheritance or other chunk of money come their way. Many people shared that their savings has dwindled as increased costs have taken their toll. Some people gave lifestyle advice to save money, but most agreed that just the basics have gotten so expensive it's harder to make ends meet much less put extra into savings.

Thankfully, the inflation issue appears to be waning, but even just plateauing at their current financial reality isn't ideal for many American families. Middle class is supposed to be a comfortable place to be—not rich, but well enough off to feel secure. That's not how many middle class folks feel, though. Most Americans don't have anything close to the amount of money saved that is recommended across the age spectrum, but at least hearing that others are in the same boat is somewhat comforting.

It can be vulnerable to put your financial reality out there, but it's helpful to hear what other people are doing and dealing with so we all feel less alone when we're struggling. Perhaps if people were more open about money, we'd all be able to help one another find ways to improve our financial situations rather than lamenting our empty savings accounts and wondering how to change it.

Representative photo by RDNE Stock

Grandma challenges status quo by dressing how she pleases.

As people age, society expects them to fit into a neat little box of what is deemed appropriate. This can be anything from what job an older person has to their style of clothing to how they speak. Societal rules like these often go unspoken—that is, until you break them. That's when people have a lot to say about things that are seemingly no one else's business.

Things like women over 50 having brightly colored hair, wearing tall heels or having hair down their backs. Apparently women over a certain age are all supposed to go to a salon to get the granny cut and wear clothes that identify them as over an arbitrary age. But older women are starting to rebel against the status quo and looking fabulous while doing it.

Arlinda, who runs the page funkingafter50 on Instagram explains to Style Like U that due to her dressing in styles she likes, people often seem surprised. She has gotten some stares but she takes those moments and uses them as a teaching moment in a way.


Arlinda has no interest in keeping up with what society has to say about how women her age dress. "They say women of a certain age shouldn't wear things that are above our knee. You see my face, why can't I show my 66-year-old knees if I can show my 66-year-old face," she ponders to Style Like U.

But it's not just knees she's showing. The grandmother wears crop tops, bold colored bras that peek from under her shirts and brightly colored lipstick. It honestly looks like she's having a blast with her style, commenters also agree.


"Fly girls don’t have an expiration baby. When you got it, you got it," one person cheers.

"She’s eating the younger girlies up in the fashion department! I love this," another gushes.

"No explanation needed Queen!!! Love your body and teach others to love theirs. There ain’t two the same and we are all gorgeous queens. I’m almost 40 and trying to have this amount of self love and I’m getting there, but you are an inspiration," someone writes.

"Honey, she is my new muse. Don’t want to wait until I’m 66 to have this level of self-love," someone else shares.

Arlinda is an inspiration to a whole generation of women just by being herself. The amount of joy she exudes from wearing whatever makes her feel good is contagious. There's nothing wrong with a little "nana belly" according to the fashionista and it seems plenty of others agree. Life is short, wear the crop top.