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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

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

Justin and Dr. Key|TikTok

Dad discovers child has pinworms and it's freaking people out




If you're a parent you're likely in one of two categories: parents who have never heard of pinworms or parents who shuttered at the headline. Parents are not really given any sort of warning for all of the eyebrow raising situations that occur in childhood and one dad has found out that there was a lot left out of that non-existent parenting handbook.

Justin, a dad that runs the TikTok page drumbeatlane took to social media to tell the world of the current nightmare fuel parenting situation he was experiencing. He's also doing parents on social media a solid by giving them a heads up on the disturbing secret plaguing the parenting world–pinworms.

The viral video starts out with no trigger warning before he says though clenched teeth, "my son has worms in his anus." Yeah, you read that right. It's a thing. A slightly terrifying but totally normal thing.


"No one tells you about this stuff when you're thinking about being a parent but apparently it's like super normal for a child to just have worms in his booty hole," Justin says.

Dr. Cerissa Key, a pediatrician, chimed in on Justin's disturbing revelation and assured him and every parent watching that pinworms are a common thing that happens in young children. But she also dropped some info that other's including Justin may not have been ready to hear.

"Justin, sir. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But if your son has worms in his booty hole, sir, politely and respectfully, you also have worms in your booty hole," Key reveals.

Key goes on to explain that kids are "disgusting" and don't wash their hands well so pinworms spread easily if a child at school or daycare has them. She advises that parents stock up on the chalky banana flavored medication that clears them up and to wash everything on hot while being sure to vacuum your floors well.

@drumbeatlane

Parenting truly is just one surprise after another. But the biggest surprise to me every time something crazy happens is that it is usually super common, just no one talks about it. So I’m warning you. Your child might get worms in their anus. #justinkellough #dadsoftiktok #parentsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #parentingadvice #parenting @Justin

People in the comment section of both videos were horrified that this was an actual thing while others commiserated with the stressed dad.

"I have no kids and now I'm paranoid I have pinworms with no symptoms," one person writes.

"I've raised 4 kids and never had this happen. Tomorrow this will be my entry on my gratitude journal," a mom confesses.

"Do I have kids? No...Do I even work around kids? Also no...do I still have the urge to take this medicine just in case anyways? 100000%," someone says.

@therealdrkey

#stitch with @Justin Allllll about pinworms! It your kid has them, YOU have them. 😩 #pinworms #pinworm #pediatrician #momlife #itchybottom #itchyvulva #pinwormssuck #parenting

Not everyone was stressed, some were thankful for the information. "Thank you! We haven't experienced pinworms yet, but super informative and helps to make parenting normalized," another commenter writes.

Key suggests that if your child has pinworms that the entire family should take a dose of the medication two weeks apart to make sure any left over newly hatched eggs are also killed. While you may not have been warned about pinworms, no one ever said parenting would be glamorous. It just seems people weren't prepared for how unglamorous it could get.


This article originally appeared on 12.23.23

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.

For the first time ever, a 13-year-old boy has been cured of a deadly brain cancer

The boy’s tumor disappeared after participating in a new clinical trial.

Lucas Jemeljanova, then aged 5, with his parents and sister a year before he was diagnosed with DIPG. (via Facebook)

Lucas Jemeljanova poses with his family a year before being diagnosed with cancer (Facebook)

Few things strike fear in the heart of parents and doctors more than a cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG. Primarily found in children, DIPG is a highly aggressive brain tumor that is uniformly fatal, with less than 10 percent of children surviving longer than two years after diagnosis.

But for the first time ever, a 13-year-old boy from Belgium named Lucas Jemeljanova has beaten the odds.

Diagnosed with DIPG at age six, Lucas’ doctor Jacques Grill told Lucas’ parents, Cedric and Olesja, that he was unlikely to live very long. Instead of giving up hope, Cedric and Olesja flew Lucas to France to participate in a clinical trial called BIOMEDE, which tested new potential drugs against DIPG.

Lucas was randomly assigned everolimus in the clinical trial, a chemotherapy drug that works by blocking a protein called mTOR. mTOR helps cancer cells divide and grow new blood vessels, while everolimus decreases blood supply to the tumor cells and stops cancer cells from reproducing. Everolimus, a tablet that’s taken once per day, has been approved in the UK and the US to treat cancers in the breast, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, and others—but until the BIOMEDE clinical trial, it had never before been used to treat DIPG.

Lucas Jemeljanova poses with his motherLucas Jemeljanova poses with his mother(lesja Jemeljanova / Facebook)

Though doctors weren’t sure how Lucas would react to the medication, it quickly became clear that the results were good.

“Over a series of MRI scans, I watched as the tumor completely disappeared,” Grill said in an interview. Even more remarkably, the tumor has not returned since. Lucas, who is now thirteen, is considered officially cured of DIPG.

Even after the tumor was gone, Grill, who is the head of the Brain Tumor Program in the Department of Child and Teenage Oncology at Gustave Roussy cancer research hospital in Paris, was reluctant to stop Lucas’ treatments. Until about a year and a half ago, Lucas was still taking everolimus once every day.

“I didn’t know when to stop, or how, because there was no other reference in the world,” Grill said.

While Lucas is the only one in the clinical trial whose tumor has completely disappeared, seven other children have been considered “long responders” to everolimus, meaning their tumors have not progressed for more than three years after starting treatment.

Lucas Jemeljanova poses with his mother to mark cancer awareness monthLucas Jemeljanova with his mother (Facebook)(lesja Jemeljanova / Facebook)

So why did everolimus work so well for Lucas? Doctors think that an extremely rare genetic mutation in Lucas’ tumor “made its cells far more sensitive to the drug,” Grill said, while the drug worked well in other children because of the “biological peculiarities” of their tumors.

While everolimus is by no means a cure, the trial has provided real hope for parents and families of children diagnosed with DIPG. Doctors must now work to better understand why Lucas’ tumor responded so well to the drug and how they can replicate those results in tumor “organoids”—artificially-grown cells that resemble an organ. After that, said Marie-Anne Debily, a researcher in the BIOMEDE trial, “the next step will be to find a drug that works as well on tumor cells.”

In the meantime, however, Lucas’ doctors are thrilled.

“Lucas’ case offers real hope,” said Debily.


Lucas Jemeljanova poses with his familyLucas Jemeljanova with his parents and sister(lesja Jemeljanova / Facebook)






Family

Mom calls out teacher who gave her son a 'zero' grade for not providing class with supplies

Her viral video sparked a debate as to whether or not providing school supplies should be mandatory for parents.

@shanittanicole/TikTok

A zero grade for not providing school supplies?

The debate as to whether or not parents should supply classroom supplies is not new. But as prices continue to rise, parents are growing more baffled as to how they can be expected by teachers to provide all the various glue sticks, colored pencils, rulers and other various items the incoming students might need.

What’s even more perplexing, however, is penalizing the children of parents who won’t (or can’t) provide them.

This was the case for Shanitta Nicole, who discovered her son received a zero grade in his new school for not bringing school supplies for the entire classroom.

Nicole was especially surprised by this reaction since she had already gone through the effort of making sure her son had every supply he needed from the school’s list, which was slightly different than the one they previously had.

And yet, the 7th grade teacher informed her son that he was still expected to provide for the classroom, not just himself. And, thus, a zero grade, for failing the assignment, so to speak.


Even though Nicole thought the rule was “weird,” she went out and bought the bulk items, which included tissues, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, pencils, Expo markers, and red pens.

And yet, the next week—her son still has a zero. Concerned, Nicole emailed her son’s teacher.

“I’m like, ‘hey…my student has a 83 in the class and everything else in the class is 100s and 98s and he still has a zero for something called ‘classroom supplies.’” she said in a video.

“‘We bought the supplies anyways, but I don't feel like it's the parents' responsibility to supply your classroom. And I definitely don't think it's appropriate to assign a grade to students based off of whether or not they've supplied your class with supplies. That doesn't make any sense.’”

@shanittanicole Am I doing too much? #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

And while Nicole’s email did get the teacher to reconcile the grade, there was no mention to her other concern regarding the responsibility for parents to provide the entire class with supplies.

“So, I emailed the principal because I just, I might be extra, but I just want to see what's going on. Why do I have to buy supplies for the classroom?” the frustrated mom concluded.

Nicole’s video quickly went viral on TikTok, and several weighed in to agree that the teacher’s actions were misguided.

“That is so unfair!! Especially for the kids whose parents CANT afford groceries let alone classroom supplies,” one user wrote.

Another added, “You are not wrong. It is 100% ok for [the teacher] to ask for supplies, but mandate it for a grade? Absolutely not.”

And this point is truly what Nicole took umbrage with, as she noted several times in the comments. It has less to do with being asked to help and more to do with her son’s grade depending on it.

In a follow-up video, Nicole shared that the school principal did end up reaching out, notifying her that while, yes, teachers are allowed to ask for donations, it should never be mandated.

@shanittanicole Replying to @yafavv._.dancer😍😘💞😍😍💞 Graded Supplies Update #fyp #school ♬ original sound - Shanitta Nicolee 💖

“What the teacher was trying to accomplish, but it definitely wasn't appropriate,” the principal told Nicole.

While the teacher might have not handled this situation in the best way, it goes without saying that this is a larger systemic issue—one that isn’t exactly fair to parents, teachers and students alike.

Most public school teachers spend a significant amount of their own money on classroom supplies, to an average of $673 per year, according to a recent survey of more than 1,100 educators by the Association of American Educators (AAE). That number only goes up for teachers in high poverty schools.

At the same time, according to a 2022 survey with Savings.com, the typical parent also spends nearly $600 on school supplies. Plus things like clothes, backpacks, haircuts etc.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s no use placing full responsibility or blame onto teachers or parents. Because either way, students get caught in the crossfire. This is clearly a universal burden that needs attention.


This article originally appeared on 10.5.23

Reality of marrying into affectionate family when insecurely attached

Attachment style is something that seems to have gained a lot of popularity on social media, which can translate to real life interactions like dating. Everyone wants to have the "gold star" attachment style–secure attachment. Not everyone can have a secure attachment style, but that doesn't mean they'll never have one since this is not a fixed trait.

Shantel Smith, has a self proclaimed insecure attachment style, which can cause people to be a bit more guarded in their approach to interpersonal relationships. The social media creator recently made a video about what it's like to have an insecure attachment style while integrating into a family that is very affectionate.

Smith recently got married and became a stepmother to three children. From the looks of the video, she is adored by her stepchildren and their father, but all of the affection seems to be a bit overwhelming for the new mom.


In the video, Smith gets an unexpected hug from one of her step-kids and appears to be confused and uncomfortable. The next frame highlights "goodbye rituals" where we hear one of the children telling her bye before leaving but continuing to say "I love you" louder and louder until the new stepmom says it back.

Smith writes in the caption of her video, "there was love in my household as a child for sure but affection wasn’t shown the way it is now with my family that I’ve joined."

The video struck a chord with several people in the comments who expressed their own discomfort with being affectionate due to their attachment style or upbringing.

@shantelmsmith Can you say insecure attachment?! This is me keeping it so vulnerable and real with yall. There was love in my household as a child for sure but affection wasn’t shown the way it is now with my family that I’ve joined. Sometimes i find myself asking like “what do they want from me?” Becasue people are not this verbally affectionatebynless they want something from you. Mercy. It truly is a blessing and I’m growing through it lol it is hard some days to receive love, we have in my household,but we have in our household what we call “i love you Shan sundays” thats the day when they can say it as many times as they like without me being weird about it. So im learning to recieve this abundant gift of love and joy and they are learning that its gonna take me some time. #familylife #familytime #parenting #affection #comedy #healing #traumahealing #marriage ♬ All The Way Up (feat. Infared) - Fat Joe & Remy Ma & French Montana

"Just overstimulated and mad after a certain amount of loving," one person says.

"OMG I thought I was the only one thank you for making feel like others understand me," another writes.

"I just felt so seen and triggered at the same time," someone reveals.

"It’s crazy because I’m really trying but it feels weird and I love my family but why you hugging me," one mom says.

"First time my dad said “I love you” I was 24 and I called my brothers bc I thought he was sick or something," a commenter laughs.

Marrying into a family is a big step and takes some adjusting for everyone. While it seems like Smith is still learning, she reveals, "we have in our household what we call “i love you Shan Sundays” thats the day when they can say it as many times as they like without me being weird about it. So I'm learning to receive this abundant gift of love and joy and they are learning that its gonna take me some time."

@desirously.ambitious/Instagram

What CAN'T is be "people-made," though?

Language evolves as humanity evolves. We know this. History has proven it over and over again.

And yet, there’s still so much resistance when certain linguistic changes are tied to gender issues. The introduction of they/them pronouns comes to mind as an example. Many well-meaning, grammar nerds (myself included) bristled at the thought of incorporating this kind of language, even if they fully supported the idea behind the concept.

But when we get too stuck in the weeds of semantics, we miss the opportunity for vital transformative conversations.

Take for instance a video that came out around 2021—and the debate it sparked—when a little girl questioned why things were “man-made,” rather than “people-made.”

In the clip (whose source is undetermined but shared across several platforms) the girl passionately explains to her mother how she heard the term in her social studies class, and how much it irked her, since it seemed to only regard men as creators.

“Aren’t women building the Eiffel Tower or something? Aren’t women allowed to build stuff?!” she exclaims.

She then refers to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which stated that “all men are created equal.”

“Aren’t women created equal too? Why don’t they say all people are created equal?!” she prods.

Down in the comments, people applauded the little girl’s hilarious gusto.

“You go girl. Little genius,” one person wrote.

Another added, “keep that critical thinking cap on, little mama.”

As to be expected, many people also commented on how the little girl’s argument was unjustified, since, linguistically speaking, it is implied that both men and women are included in the word “man.”

“She is missing the point! Man in this sense is a plural word, meaning man and woman,” one person wrote.”

Another added, “I am so over this. Man made = huMAN, woMAN, MAN! The term is already inclusive of all genders. Stop looking for problems where there aren't any. I'm so sick of this nonsense.”

But is it really nonsense? After all, we need only look to our Constitution to know that women have certainly not always been included in language that pertains to “all men.” Or we could look to all the many instances throughout history in which patriarchal values (that is, values which undermine a woman’s inherent and equal worth) silently shaped the way we lived our everyday lives.

Not to mention that this argument denies language’s true nature—to change along with our own levels of awareness. Perhaps the reality is that this little girl is performing her job as a member of the younger generation, by questioning things older generations might take for granted. After all, we don’t create change by not asking uncomfortable questions.

Bottom line: we have not always been an inclusive society. It is reflected in our language. As we collectively continue to become more inclusive, so too will that be reflected in our language. That’s a good thing. It’s a marker of progress. Think of all the energy we spend combating these inevitable changes when we could instead allow them to help us grow as people.