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Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

How to Have It All

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I love women.

Because only a woman, in all her multi-tasking glory, would believe that we can have it all. That we should have it all. Big jobs — hell, big careers — perfect homes, brilliant children, happy marriages, wrinkle-free faces, thin thighs, well-groomed and exceptionally well-trained pets; organic, homeopathic, BPA-free better living through less chemicals (or more, depending on who you are and how you roll).

And we Gen-Xers have certainly elevated the practice of allowing life to should all over us to a fine art. First, according to a recent New York Times article by Judith Warner, “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In,” a big chunk of us X-chromosomal beings took a powder round about the turn of the millennium and at the height of our early careers to raise kids.

I was no exception: that face-first nosedive from chief ass kisser to chief ass wiper was jarring, to say the least. And yet, I’ve always known that was a privilege, and so my early mantra (often uttered through gritted teeth), “I wouldn’t change it for the world,” has become a simple, true fact. read more

Best o’ the Bitch, My Bitches

Why Women Need Best Friends Forever

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I’m always fully aware of how much I appreciate my friends, but there’s something about summer that really sends that sentiment home.

My theory is that it’s the automatic pull to slow down and hang out; as a kid, whether you went to camp or stayed home, friendships were cemented poolside, lakeside, in bunks, plopped down in front of the TV, at the ice cream stand, in backyards, and on beaches — all of the places we went when the school year receded and time to bond was left in its wake.

Now that I’m a grown-up, the urgency to connect with my BBFs (Best Bitches Forever) comes from a slightly different place: stress. Making time to catch up with friends — which definitely is more possible in the summer months — is just what the doctor ordered to take life down a notch.

And by “just what the doctor ordered,” I am being literal: there is a ton of clinical research supporting the idea that gals need pals. A landmark study by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor revealed that women are “hard-wired for friendship” as a hormonal response to stress: when the anxiety-causing cocktail of cortisol and epinephrine kicks in, our lady hormones (particularly oxytocin, but also reproductive ones, too) rush to the rescue…. and create the common female stress response of “tending and befriending.” Men, on the other hand, with their dinky doses of oxytocin, have the opposite response: they tend to escape stressful situations by fighting back or shutting down. read more

Bitch’in Life, My Bitches, Parenting

A New Years Gift for You!

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It’s the last Bitch’in Suburbia blog post of 2012, and I’d like to start it out with the most important two words there are:

Mommy porn.

JUST KIDDING! That was the top oxymoron of 2012, but the truly important words I have for you are: THANK YOU.

I am enormously grateful to you for reading the Bitch’in Suburbia blog, as you have helped me fulfill my top goal for 2012. I am a writer, and now I am a published author. At first it felt a bit odd and perhaps lone-wolfish to self-publish, but you know what? Just like other forms of personal gratification, it’s pretty damn fulfilling and pleasing when you let yourself go.

My journey to becoming a blogger started around this time last year, when my “project in search of a publisher” (the best way to describe an unpublished manuscript I’ve ever heard), Suburban Rhapsody, finished making the rounds of about 30 literary agents.

I got a few nibbles, a couple of deeper reads, but nobody fully took the bait. Seems that publishing, like so many other industries, has been turned upside down and sideways by the damn internets — all business models have been blown apart, and only the strongest (and most Kardashian, I suppose) survive. And breaking through the noise means having your own tribe that digs what you have to say and can help you demonstrate your “stickiness.” (By the way, Channing Tatum has my top stickiness vote for 2012.) read more

Best o’ the Bitch, Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

YOLO, or F*ck Cancer

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Drake’s got a Motto that he stole from the Strokes who nabbed it from the ancient Roman poet, Horace, who said it first in his language.

YOLO. Or as the older folks say, Carpe Diem.

You don’t have to be a dead poet or a rapper to fling the phrase around carelessly, like you really know what the hell it means. Because to really get there, you have to go right up to the edge and look down. Get all up in the Grim Reaper’s grill and know that you’ll never live the same.

I don’t have the kind of street cred you need to cry YOLO. My personal brush with cancer was fleeting. A grapefruit-sized ovarian cyst, which as described sounds pleasantly juicy, pinkish yellow, and lush but in reality was bulbous, deathly white, and potentially a squishy beard for a malignancy. Knowing that my doc picked the hospital with the best on-call oncologist (say that 10x fast) was scary enough. Grapefruit plucked, it concealed nothing but a shredded fallopian tube, and I’m done with those bitches anyways now. Snip, snip, and the coast was clear. read more

Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

The Big Chill

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Do people realize when something they do is a game changer? Did Madonna know that performing “Like a Virgin” on the first MTV Video Music Awards would become an iconic pop culture moment? When Apple launched the Macintosh did they realize they would change the way the world works? How about when Bob Geldof and Midge Ure formed Band Aid to raise money for Africa by singing, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Could they have predicted celebrities using their power to heal the world would one day be de rigueur?

1984 was a big year for game changers. And on a personal note, with hair as big as my dreams, I left for college. Within the first week, I met my BBFs, and through knowing them, nothing in my life has ever been the same.

This might sound dramatic, but how I ended up in the same dorm with them had a fair share of 18-year old drama anyways. Ms. Smartypants (yours truly) thought the world was her oyster, and all schools would beg to have her pearls of incomparable wisdom. Several rejections later, I was lucky enough to get into just one place: the University of Michigan. That probably had more to do with their desire for out-of-state tuition than anything else, but I took it. I knew nothing of the Midwest, and I chose Michigan not for its stellar academics, Big Ten sports, or any other normal reasons. I picked it because I liked The Big Chill, a movie most memorable for its portrayal of the death of post-collegiate dreams, the heaviness of adult responsibilities, the destructive nature of discontent, and of course, the power of lifelong friendships. This may seem to be an odd motivator for a teen, but deep down I always knew that suburban life’s quagmire was my milieu, so that sort of future wasn’t just inevitable (as it is for pretty much all of us), it was appealing. Anyways, after a brief landing in an all-girls dorm (the “Virgin Vault”), I transferred into the epicenter of debauchery and home of my soon-to-be BBFs, West Quad. read more

My Bitches

Mothertruckers

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My knee is throbbing a little bit this morning, and that’s a good thing. It’s better than a torn vagina, and probably less painful. Still, it’s a battle scar from my most recent adventure chasing the dragon.

The dragon is not something illicit, but it is intoxicating: it’s the knowledge that you can conquer something huge, intimidating, primal, and powerful through one decisive action. Like childbirth, for example. A personal challenge that you have no choice but to go into head-on, knowing nothing other than the fact that you will be a very different person on the other side.

Every since I pushed the first puppy out, I’ve been exhausted, overwhelmed, and in a constant state of flux. The old “ages and phases” maxim holds true: as soon as I think I have my footing, there’s another incline, another push in a new direction, a sensation of starting over. Does is surprise anyone, then, that for the last couple of years my BBFs and I have been road-tripping to chase the dragon with a goal set so impossibly high there’s nothing else we can do besides put one foot in front of the other, just as our foremothers did, as we conquer Mother Earth’s impressive challenges? read more

Best o’ the Bitch, My Bitches, Recipes

Friends Without Kids

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This past weekend was the annual spring ritual of mom’s gone wild, desert version. I’m pretty sure our husbands imagined pillow fights and erotic braiding of each other’s hair, but that’s just the guy’s view/hope/fantasy…  although there was a gigantic bottle of vodka and assorted other options to take a break from reality, plus bikinis and plenty of lady lube.

AWWW, get your mind out of the gutter, people!  By lady lube, I mean the thing that really gets us girl’s juices flowing — intimate, soul-baring conversation. Yup, it was an orgy of communication.

The friends I went away with were friends with kids who are my kids’ friends. (Got that?) In a totally decadent move, we saw a matinee movie with an R rating and barely a kid in sight (despite its title), Friends with Kids.

It’s about a group of college friends, some of whom settled down the conventional way and started a family, and one couple who wasn’t a couple at all, but rashly decided to have a kid together. At the heart of the story is an interesting premise: if you skip the bullshit that goes along with real intimacy and cut right to the chase, is life any easier? Better? Happier? read more

Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

Expose Yourself

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Christina Aguilera’s boobs are trending again. When she whirled her chair around on The Voice last week, instead of a nip slip, we were assaulted by the vision of her newly slim bod and less floppy matching breasts inexplicably covered up.

Jennifer Love Hewitt’s tatas are also in the news, as the internets are a-twitter about the ethics of the virtual breast reduction that Lifetime’s advertising department gave her for their new show, The Client List. 

Men and women alike love a great pair. And so the obsession with showing too much, or not enough, rages — just in time for swim suit season.

I’ve found that boobs are a metaphor. When I was a kid, my first friend to rock some cleavage won the popularity contest. Although I wasn’t among the early bloomers, I finally came into my own in my late teens, scoring my first real boyfriend and first underwire bra around the same time. Later in my 20’s, the fun bags came in handy on the dating circuit and also as a great party favor. If I had to guess, the form-fitting red shirt I wore the first night I met my husband was what sealed the deal. Settling into my 30s as a new mom, my friends and I sat around in a circle with matching “Breast Friend” pillows, and nursed our kids. read more