Becoming a parent is hard and to be rudely frank, getting unwanted stuff in your house makes it harder. I know women become new moms all year round, but if anyone in your life will be welcoming a baby into their home this holiday season, here are some recommendations for practical and indulgent gifts.
We have so much stuff for our kids and it’s fun to get them that stuff. It can be even more fun to get stuff for other people’s kids because it lives in their houses. I really do my best to be mindful of people’s space and what kids will actually use when we select presents for birthdays and holidays. We love giving experiences (from supplies for water balloon fights to museum memberships), but because much of the world is closed for business and we are not getting together in big family groups, stuff feels like the answer right now and for the winter holidays. I’m building my gifting plan here; so, don’t be surprised if your kids get some of these things from us. I’m pretty focused on little kids because I live in the little kid world right now.
There are so many things I want to create, write, and dump out of my brain right now to express my frustration with myself and the world. I feel like I’ve been spinning and not producing anything, except for empty dishwashers, folded laundry stacks, filled Duplo baskets, and occasionally mopped floors. Not being able to find the headspace or time to create something, anything, is leaving me running on empty every day. And even worse, I find myself projecting that emptiness onto my family. Here’s what I’m going to do about it today, I’m going to close my eyes and transport myself to December. In the words of Auntie Mame, “we need a little Christmas now.” I imagine the holidays will look different this year and I will be grappling to create magic for my little people, for my big people, and for myself. I have some holiday projects started around that I hope to have done by December. But, when I’m not feeling creative, internet shopping is always there waiting for my browsing eyes.
I want to share my online shopping finds with you. Let’s kick off the holiday season already with some gift guides because who doesn’t love a gift guide during a pandemic?!
Last year I debuted my Very Practical Gift Guide. This year, I hope to bring you guides with safe-at-home and safe-while-slowly-emerging-from-home for your friends and family of all ages. I’m trying to challenge myself to find new sources for gifts to support small businesses and BIPOC communities. And I know that we all are considering budgets more carefully these days because we’ve learned that things can change in a heartbeat.
We are more than half-way through 2020. Hard to believe? Easy to believe? In any case, it feels like an unbelievable year so far. Whether I’m supposed to express it or not, I have COVID guilt, white guilt, mom guilt, all the guilt. So, I am particularly nervous to review my 20 fo 2020 list because I’m pretty sure it’s going to stir up some more guilt. But, here it goes for the sake of personal accountability!
What’s 20 for 2020? Read the introductory post here.
I get easily get discouraged by this list or find ways to accept and add to it to make 2020 feel successful. So, let’s go with the latter. I’m certainly trying to prioritize educating myself on and practicing anti-racism. Welcome 21 for 2020.
21. Make anti-racism practices a priority in everyday life
We’ve added Black toys and BIPOC books to our collection to diversify our play space. Some additional titles (see previous post for other recommendations) we’ve been enjoying include:
I am slowly and carefully making my way through Raising White Kids, Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey. Plus, I’ve really diversified my social media feeds with the intent to be thinking about differences and finding ways to monetarily support BIPOC businesses. And I am writing letters for Vote Forward, which is a long game play to increase voter-ship and hopefully get more folks in office that take anti-racism seriously in their legislative agenda.
I recognize that I need to do more in the world on this front and continue to be intimidated to find ways to put myself into the conversation. It’s not enough to just recognize this; so, I am challenging myself to get more outside my comfort zone to make change. I will let you know what I come up with.
I’m not talking about refrigerator organization, cookie recipes, or kids activities today. Those things are fun to talk about and easy to talk about. Today I hope you will keep reading even though I am talking about my white privilege. I posted the following to my Facebook page last weekend. And I think it is important to hold myself accountable by re-sharing and delivering on the action items presented. I am trying to start a dialogue with myself (and you) from the perspective of white privilege simply because as many have said over the last few weeks, though I will never understand how it feels to be Black, I would like to stand with Black Americans in the pursuit of anti-racism.
Uncomfortable doesn't begin to describe how I feel about difficult conversations. I like to think things through. I like to have a script. I like to have a plan for how I will respond to anything that comes my way. And for so much of my life I do have the ability to make such plans. That's my white privilege.
Here's What I Came Up With
1. Find an article that makes you uncomfortable to read, figure out why it brings up insecurities, and write down a resolution to address those issues. Really write it down and really resolve to improve.
I’ve buried myself in articles this week and learned so much. I do want to find a role in improving the situation — that situation being the unrelenting racism Black people endure in America. It is important to isolate that this is the issue at hand. I learned this idea from one particular article that made me uncomfortable: "Why We Need to Stop Saying ‘People of Color’ When We Mean ‘Black People’" published on Medium. The author, Joshua Adams, writes:
When I taught a journalism class at DePaul University, two of my students wrote in a media critique assignment that we should use “African American” because the term “Black” has negative connotations — despite the fact I, their instructor, had referred to myself as “Black” multiple times in class. When it came to writing about police brutality, a couple of students at Salem State used “people of color” (two students actually used the term “colored people”) even though local and national discussions on police brutality almost always involve Black victims.
I can see myself posing this argument, thinking that I am being kinder or gentler in my careful use of language. The reality is that I am uncomfortable distinguishing myself from multiple marginalized groups when I know I have so much privilege just by being born White. Adams continues:
It seems like every week we see a new video of people calling the police on Black people for merely existing in public. Every few weeks, there’s another story of a police officer shooting an unarmed Black person because they “feared for their life.” Yes, other groups face systemic oppression, but while using “POC” in these contexts isn’t inaccurate, it feels misleading. A “People of Color Lives Matter” movement would be useful, but we can understand why “Black Lives Matter” has a more specific resonance.
This article was posted in 2018. Let me say that again, this article was posted in 2018.
My resolution is threefold:
What Black Lives Matter Means (and Why It's Problematic to Say "All Lives Matter"
Performative Allyship Is Deadly (Here’s What to Do Instead)
Save the Tears: White Woman's Guide
What Is Toxic White Feminism? - When Feminism Is White Supremacy
10 common phrases that are actually racist AF.
My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest
PSA: Black People Do Not Go To College For Free
Becoming a Parent in the Age of Black Lives Matter
3 Things Amy Cooper Did In Central Park to Damage Her Reputation and Career
2. Donate $1 or more to an organization that is actively working to help people who do not benefit from white privilege.
Our family donated to CAMPAIGN ZERO (WeTheProtesters Inc.). This organization provided the most eye-opening information to me about police brutality. Its resources helped me understand the rationales for police defunding and demilitarization. These are two ideas that make my ego wildly uncomfortable — My very privileged, white self, (without any history of negatively biased policing) thinks “shouldn’t we be adding funding to police administrations and making sure they have the supplies required to maintain safety.” I really need to be viewing these issues through the lens of vulnerable communities, namely, the Black community. Campaign Zero's #8CantWait project has already made impacts in major US cities and provides a model for continued decreases on deaths caused by police officers.
3. Purchase a book that addresses racial injustice, written by a person who does not benefit from white privilege for your kids and/or a kid you know.
We reviewed Luke’s library and recognized a definite need for diversity, so we started with Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper. It’s certainly not a book regarding racial injustice, but Luke has requested it nightly. We look forward to ordering other Floyd Cooper titles from our local bookshop. There are several books that are coming back into print to meet demand, which shows that people are looking to educate themselves and support Black writers. We are awaiting copies of Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson and Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester.
I urge you to take these Just 3 Things action items to heart and share your resolutions publicly. I also encourage you to set monthly reminders in your calendar to revisit your resolutions and make sure you are actively acknowledging your privilege and continuing to take anti-racist actions in your everyday life.
There is so much more work for me to do in coming to terms with my non-understanding of the issue at hand. These are some of the resources I have been engaging or plan to explore:
Black-Owned Businesses to Support
25 Black-Owned Brands for Babies, Kids, and Parents
125 Black-Owned Businesses to Support Right Now
Post 21 Shop
So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo
Raising White Kids, Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
CNN Sesame Street Race Town Hall
Haliet Thomas’ “What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say”
The Conscious Kid (Patreon paid resources)
Black Baby Books
Instagram: Beautiful things to look at created by Black Americans
who : becky yannes.
where : easton, pa.
what : making, hosting, sharing.
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