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Modern Families

A comic from The Oatmeal illustrates how we're missing the mark on happiness.

I do the things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me "happy."

oatmeal comics, matthew inman, comedy
By Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

How to Be Perfectly Happy


Matthew Inman is the Eisner Award-winning author of The Oatmeal. He's published six books, including New York Times Best-Sellers such as "How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You"and "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances."He enjoys running marathons, writing comics, and eating cake.

You can read more of Matthew's comics here.




Comic by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

























More comics from The Oatmeal:When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth.



My dog: the paradox



It's going to be okay.

More comics from The Oatmeal:

It's going to be okay.


This article originally appeared on 12.02.16

Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

Taryn Charles blew everyone away with her BGT audition.

For nearly two decades, people have been enjoying "Got Talent" competitions all over the world, inspired by the first "America's Got Talent" in 2006. And thanks to social media and YouTube, we can enjoy the most memorable auditions over and over again.

For instance, this one from Taryn Charles on the 2024 season of "Britain's Got Talent."

Charles is a music teacher who works with special needs kids. She even brought one of her students and her parent to be part of the audience during her audition. When the judges asked why she wanted to be on "Britain's Got Talent," Charles said, "I love to make people smile and I think my voice is alright."

Talk about an understatement.


As she stands waiting for the music to start, she shakes her hand by her side a few times, clearly getting some nerves out. But as soon as she starts to sing the first line, "Looking out on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired…" it's clear from her rich, raspy voice and easy stage presence that she's got something special.

And it only gets better from there. "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman" was written by singer-songwriter Carole King, then famously covered by Aretha Franklin, which is a hard act to follow. But Charles knocked it out of the park, blowing away the audience and judges alike. In fact, the performance earned her not one but two standing ovations and inspired judge Bruno Tonioli to smash the Golden Buzzer button before the judges even began to offer their feedback.

Watch:

What makes this performance especially memorable is how humble and unassuming Charles is before and after her knock-out performance. If you didn't watch til the very end, you may have missed her hilariously real, "I think I've wet myself," which only makes her even more endearing.

"WOW I was blown away with her angelic and powerful voice," wrote one commenter. "And yet she is so humble and has a beautiful soul. Plus, I have never in my life seen a double standing ovation, she so deserves a golden buzzer, wishing her the best success."

"This is how you do an audition, stunning tone to her voice.....if anyone deserves a chance it's this lady......BOOM!!" wrote another.

"This was so inspirational. Taryn I am in tears," shared another. "I know what it feels like to struggle with self-worth. You are a mirror to show me that that those people are not always right. You are phenomenally gifted and you have an amazing career as a professional singer ahead of you! Blessings!"

Talent competition judges often warn contestants about the challenge of singing songs done by big vocal divas, and we've seen singers attempt to sing the likes of Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey and fall flat. It's not easy to sing an iconic song most people associate with Aretha Franklin—the Queen of Soul and Rolling Stone's #1 singer of all time—and have any hope of impressing people. And yet, Taryn Charles managed to make the song her own and wow everyone in the process with her unique voice.

We'll definitely be keeping an eye on this humble music teacher as she makes her way through the "Britain's Got Talent" gauntlet. Heck of a way to kick it off.

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

A school bus turning the corner.

An 8th grader in Wisconsin is being called a hero by the community for taking control of the school bus after the driver suffered a medical emergency. The trip started as a routine ride home from school on April 24. The bus driver joked with students as they loaded up on the bus, but things took a turn for the worse shortly after.

"As we got about 20 feet down Villard, I was looking at my phone and I looked back up and I felt the bus accelerate," Acie Holland III, 14, told TMJ4. "And I looked at the bus driver because she went past my stop and I looked and I seen her head just go down."

Acie quickly sprung into action, removing the driver’s foot from the gas pedal and taking control of the wheel. "I grabbed the steering wheel, then I get us to the curb and I hit the brakes close and then when we hit the curb, I turned the wheel all the way because I didn't know where the parking brake was," Acie told WISN.


After Acie was able to park the bus securely, he called 911. His grandmother, a registered nurse, told all the kids on the bus to call their parents. “Everybody was just like, ‘thank you’ because I saved their life,” Acie told CNN.

According to WISN, Acie saved the lives of 20 students and the bus driver.

The driver regained consciousness shortly after and contacted the bus’s dispatch service. A safety team and an alternate driver were sent out to the location.

A big reason why Acie was so calm is even though he’s a teenager, he has had a lot of experience with cars. His father, Acie Holland II, is a certified auto technician. “It was like he was in the right place at the right time. So it was, it was meant to be for a variety of reasons, the most important being for the safety of others,” Glen Hills Middle School principal Anna Young said according to CNN.

Person of the Week: Acie Holland

After the incident, Young sent a letter to the families of the Glendale-River Hills School District, praising Acie for his heroic actions. “The Glen Hills school community could not be any prouder of Acie,” Young wrote. “The compassion and leadership that we see him exhibit daily was taken to the next level on his bus ride home yesterday. We are grateful that all of our Glen Hills students are safe and are wishing their driver a healthy recovery.”

When school let out the next day, the students chanted “AC-Hero” to celebrate the 14-year-old’s heroism. His father is proud of him as well. “He’s always been a person where he’s real quick on his feet. That’s one of my things that I know he’s capable of, not on the school bus, but just in general, being able to help someone in need,” Holland’s father told CNN. “But I am proud of what he did.”

Acie has also been celebrated by local community leaders for his actions. The mayor of Glendale recognized him in a proclamation and the Milwaukee Fire Department and the Glendale Police Department praised him for his heroics as well.

@letsgoripley/TikTok, used with permission

What a smart doggo.

Speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger and her dog Stella were the first to experiment with talking buttons in 2019. Since then there has been a surge of online content showing other pet parents using similar kits to communicate with their own pups.

The most fascinating aspect of this phenomenon is the question of whether or not canines are able to understand full-blown complicated sentences beyond “treat” and “outside.”

While the overall jury is still out on that, scientifically speaking, dogs like Ripley seem to make an incredibly compelling case for believing the hype.


The Australian Shepherd has an entire TikTok account documenting his impressive talk button journey, but a video posted on March 28, 2024, feels next-level.

In the clip, Ripley presses the “smell” button as his parents eat lunch. When that doesn’t get their attention, he begins to bark.

“What do you smell?” a voice finally asks. To which Ripley replies “outside,” followed by “gardens.”

Confused, someone asks, “It smells like the gardens outside?”

Ripley’s parents had apparently just started a load of laundry before making lunch, and the detergent had been spilling all over the floor from the washing machine. Ripley had been smelling the detergent, which was reminiscent of the gardens outside.

Unfortunately, they didn’t put two and two together until after they went back to the laundry room. Hence the moral of the story: “You should always listen to your dog.”

@letsgoripley He’s so freakin’ smart! #Talkingdog #letsgoripley #ripleytalks #fluentpet #australianshepherd #dogs ♬ original sound - Ripley the Australian Shepherd

Ripley’s amazing feat prompted lots of praise from viewers.

“All of the treats,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, he is brilliant.”

Others were quick to compliment the breed. And rightfully so, as Australian Shepherds are known for their remarkable intelligence, as well as their strong drive and exuberance, according to the American Kennel Club. They thrive when they have a job, and the way Ripley jumped into action is a pretty great example of this characteristic.

So, while we might not have definite evidence for the efficiency of talk buttons, one thing remains abundantly clear—our dogs are trying to communicate with us in whatever way they can. All we need to do is listen.

Check out even more of Ripley's talk button shenanigans on TikTok.

Joy

Parody of pharmaceutical ad with disclaimers about side effects is hilariously on point

It's such a bop, people want her to release it as a real song.

Elle Cordova/TikTok (used with permission)

Elle Cordova dropped a faux pharmaceutical ad on TikTok.

Picture this: A happy family playing together in the backyard, smiling and laughing in slow motion while a soothing voice goes on and on about enjoying life. You feel moved and inspired somehow, but you're not sure why.

Then you're suddenly bombarded with a litany of terrible things that could happen before the soothing voice returns. "Ask your doctor if Gonofixia is right for you," it says. You have no idea what condition "Gonifixia" is even meant to treat and but it sounds like taking it might be worse than whatever it is.

Welcome to the modern American pharmaceutical drug commercial, which the incomparable Elle Cordova has hilariously parodied on TikTok.

Cordova has gained a huge loyal following with her brilliant poems and videos personifying everything from planets to inventions to fonts on social media. Her "RX Side Effects Redux" video takes on pharmaceutical ad side effect disclaimers with a list of potential reactions that have people cracking up.

Cordova started off with a funny rhyming list of potential prescription drug side effects, which includes traditional reactions such as "sneezing, wheezing, labored breathing, trouble speaking, sleeping, eating, hemorrhages, internal bleeding…" and non-traditional ones such as "masochism, vampirism, sudden necromanticism, phantom limbs, fanaticism."

Then someone challenged her to put a beat to it and with the help of a bass-playing friend, she did. Behold the result:

@elle.cordova

Replying to @the_lonelyest_pickle dare accepted. RX Side Effects Redux! (Deja vu now also makes a recurring appearance per commenter requests) #rx

People are loving it and even requesting she make it into a real song:

"if you made this an official song I would listen to this religiously 😭😭," wrote one person.

"The second 'chronic deja vu' i almost screamed, this is art 😭," wrote another.

"I would actually listen to this ironically," added another.

"So there's a small chance i can become a vampire or a necromancer 🤔," joked another.

This is the kind of thing that makes social media tolerable—smart people entertaining us with clever commentary on contemporary reality. And Ella Cordova is a master at it.

If you enjoyed Cordova's video, you can drop her a tip here or join her Patreon here, and follow her for more on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

Viral argument over Mother's Day may have simple solution.

In the weeks leading up to Mother's Day, there have been several viral posts on social media about who Mother's Day actually belongs to. A younger mom started an intense debate when she posted a video saying that the holiday should only be celebrated by the young moms currently in the trenches. The woman doesn't believe that people should be required to spend the day with the "grandmas."

Clearly this stance caused a few feathers to be ruffled with older moms who might happen to be grandparents. There were arguments saying that moms don't stop being moms because their children are grown, so they too deserve to be celebrated. But through the comments of different posts making their points, a theme seemed to be developing.

There was an expectation of how things should be, whether it came from the older moms or the younger moms. There also seemed to be a lack of boundaries and clear communication. These are all things that can lead to misunderstandings and resentment.


On both sides of this viral disagreement are differing expectations. Younger moms are expecting to have a chance to be pampered while some may also be assuming their mothers and mother-in-laws are expecting the same, or at the very least expecting their adult children to visit them. Older moms are expecting recognition for the special day and some may also be expecting to be doted on by their adult children and grandchildren. Either way, both seem to be expressing unspoken and un-agreed-upon expectations.

When adult children have children, dynamics and priorities change in families. Now may be a good time to establish boundaries and new traditions around Mother's Day that better suit everyone's needs. Maybe there's no lugging multiple children from grandma to grandma on Mother's Day. That doesn't seem fun or relaxing to the mom of those grandchildren who likely just wants a break for the day.

woman in black and white striped shirt hugging girl in black and white striped shirt

Is Mother's Day for grandmothers as well?

Photo by Ekaterina Shakharova on Unsplash

Instead think about setting a boundary while still honoring the grandmothers in your life. After all, motherhood doesn't end because your children grow up. Setting a boundary around this special day can sound like, "We're staying home on Mother's Day from now on, but the kids made you crafts and I have something for you. We will drop it off on Saturday."

This sort of boundary not only takes care of the expectation of both parties, but it also allows the grandmother to feel honored. There's not always a need for big flashy gifts. Most grandmothers would be thrilled to get a flower made out of their grandchild's handprint with a short poem expressing their love written on the bottom.

woman sitting with baby on her lap surrounded with purples flower

Mothers are mothers at all stages of motherhood.

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Some families value quality time over things, so instead of going from house to house, a new tradition can be started where your partner has a Mother's Day cookout or brunch. All the moms in the family get together in one spot and the emphasis is on the guys and kids waiting on the moms. This way moms still get to relax and grandmas still get to be included.

There's also the option of having Mother's Day festivities the weekend prior for grandmas so you don't have to feel pulled in multiple directions the day of. No matter which way you decide to go with this day dedicated to appreciating moms, make sure that you're clear with your expectations and boundaries. It's true that some people have a difficult time setting boundaries with their parents, but it's a necessary step if you want to have the kind of Mother's Day you envisioned.

This article was written by Jacalyn Wetzel, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and practicing therapist.