I hang out on the web occasionally, you know, once in a blue moon. When I do there are certain sites that never disappoint me. I thought I'd share them with you. Let me know if there's any you haven't heard of and what you think! Share your favorite places in the comments.
Values.com - I saw billboards for this website on the way to Florida and went to check it out. Love the messages it shares. Inspiring.
The 4-Hour Work Week - Chris Brogan brought this up at Disney Social Media Moms. Cool website. Starting book soonish, as soon as I can find time in my 40 hour work week. Bahahahaha.
Healthy Child Healthy World - This site is loaded with information on how to navigate through this world full of chemicals and pesticides and keep your child healthy. Love, love, love this site.
Best Tools for Schools - ***Alert, Alert*** Blatant self promotion, but it is one of my favorite sites. If you live in Ontario, get your school on board.
Good Enough Mother - I met Rene Syler at Disney Social Media Moms and loved her. I wasn’t familiar with her site before that but am so glad I am now. Rene wades into every debate, not afraid to offer her own unique opinion. She values your opinion too, so go share it with her.
Speed Skating Mom - Sharon (Inside Scoop) started speedskating, then like all 40 somethings who start speedskating she decided it was worth starting a blog about. And she was right! It is so much fun. ***
Forever in Mom Genes - Lisa blogs here under Party Mummy, but also has her own website. She is witty, smart and full of heart. Lisa doesn’t know it, because I’m a terrible commenter but I routinely stalk her there.***
Awkward Family Photos - This is just good clean fun kids. Well, not for kids really because some of them are, well, awkward but so, so funny.
Damn You Auto Correct - Holy Duck! I love this site. I went to cut and paste the url for this and spent an hour there. My cheeks hurt from laughing so hard. Need a pick me up? Go here, regularly. So much fun.
Via Institute on Character - Go to this site to find out what your top “signature” strengths are. Take the survey, then surf around on this fascinating site.
Common Sense Media - Sometimes I get stuck. There's a lot of information to wade through when it comes to our children. Is this appropriate? How do other parents weigh in on this? I haven’t heard of it? I go check it out frequently and I actually ENJOY getting their newsletters in my inbox.
Allrecipes - I like to hang out here and lurk in the dessert section. Cookies anyone? How about 4,461 of them? Yum. Also, if I have leftover chicken for example, I can enter that in the search engine and get some help on how to use it up.
Globe Trotting Mama - Heather is about to start travelling the globe with her family. Squeeeeee and aaaaaaaaargh all at the same time. You'll want to follow this blog over the next year for sure.
The Boot Camp Blog - I’m not gonna lie, Carrie scares me a little. I am grateful for the distance between us because I think if she lived close to me she’d be dragging my sorry ass out of bed every morning. Carrie doesn’t hold back. She tells it like it is and for that reason, she’s got my total respect. I’m cheering from the sidelines Carrie.
Martha Stewart - I have a girl crush on Martha. In an alternate reality, I would be Martha. Glittering everything as I baked in my state of the art, spotlessly clean kitchen with organic produce out of my garden, all the while being impeccably dressed. *sigh* I want to live in Martha Stewart’s world, so I go lose myself in her website.....frequently.
***Note: Although some may see this as a form of favoritism among YMC bloggers, I can assure you it's not. These two women are simply amazing writers and you would not waste your time reading their blogs."
I’m at home alone today. My husband is at work and my children slept at their grandparents last night. So, upon waking today the house was unusually quiet. My only company in the house is my dog, who is a much better listener than a talker so the quiet is unsettling for me. Brushing my teeth, having a leisurely breakfast and enjoying a cup of tea without being interuppted a bajillion times is great but it’s causing a little anxiety because I just don’t know what to do with days like this.
I have no work to do today. My house is clean. Even dinner tonight is a non-issue, as my mother sent me home with a fully prepared freezer meal for tonight’s meal. I have the entire day to myself with no responsibilities or chores, and I am totally stumped as what to do with myself. Days like this are rare and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t make a plan. I do better with plans.
I have decided that the weather is finally inviting me for a outdoor run after months on the treadmill. That should take about an hour. Then what? Seriously. I’m feeling like I should do something really fabulous to take full advantage of this rare, rare day. Then on the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with curling up with a book either. My toes could use a pedicure, I have photographs from four years ago to sort through, I could gather a box for the Salvation Army, I could put the last of the winter clothes away and pull out the summer, I could catch up with an old friend, etc., etc.
What would you do? If you had one day that caught you by surprise with no responsibilities where would the day take you?
Chris Brogan was one of my favorite speakers at the conference and he didn’t waste any time getting to one of the biggest problems with the web today, bitchy women. Amen brother. And this is where the blog ends about Chris. Sorry Chris, I used you as bait. I loved you, reading your book right now, looking forward to meeting you again, but lets get to the meat here, those bitches you spoke of.
We pontificate regularly here in this sphere about “bullying” and how terrible teens and tweens can be to each other. We share endless advice on how to keep kids safe from the “mean girl” phenomenon and how Facebook is a great bullying platform for this easily influenced group. You know what I think? I think it’s time to step up ladies and set the example. My experience in the world of bloggers and the web is relatively short. I am only a mere two years in, but I have seen enough toxic garbage left in comments and on Facebook to seriously make me think it was time to get off the web for good. Why are we so nasty? Can we not heed our own advice and understand that what we put out on the internet is forever?
Before you think I’ve dubbed myself Saint Candace, you should know that I absolutely have spent time in a room with good friends being catty. I like to think I’m improving in this regard, but I’m fairly certain it will happen again. I am human after all. People irritate me. The difference here though is that I’m in a room with friends, probably a few drinks and a human memory that is short. The environment in which I choose to vent is considered safe. I also for the record, spend a lot of time at my computer rolling my eyes, shouting obscenities and things like “Are you on glue?” at it. Not everything I see on the web is my cup of tea. Obviously, I am not going to agree with everything out there. D’uh.
I teach my children that although they are not going to like everyone, they are required to be nice (civil) to everyone. I don’t think this is duplicitous at all, but pragmatic. I also tell them they don’t have to agree with everything they hear. It is smart to question, to be skeptical. Debate is healthy, but to do it with respect. So back to us.
Behind those pretty blog pages are real women who may not share my political or religious views, my views on food or raising kids. But I never forget that there is a real live person behind the words. As much as their opinion may irritate the crap out of me, it is equally reasonable to expect that they may feel the same about me. Although, I have no idea why (insert big winky smiley face here). Clearly, we don’t all see eye to eye but here’s the thing; if I wouldn’t say it to their face, I wouldn’t publish it online. Period. It’s easy to be emboldened at a keyboard, WHERE YOU CAN SHOUT!!!!! and use f*#@in expletives and be a little bit braver than in real life. But wait, this is real life. There is an actual person reading your reply on the other end and if you can imagine yourself crying or feeling ill at your desk after someone called you a terrible name then don’t do it.
I don’t know about you but I don’t walk up to anyone and yell at them in “real life” and I certainly don’t call them names just because they have a different opinion. Imagine, if we all walked around saying exactly what we thought all the time? We’d live in a pretty uncivilized place, wouldn’t we? That is what the web is sometimes, completely uncivilized. I have seen people post a dissenting opinion and be called a “c**t” as opposed to actually being offered a valid counter argument. I have seen comments left on blogs that would make you weep. Sadly, I have also seen threats. Really? Teach our children? Time to look at our own community first. So here are my ten commandments for responsible surfing and web commenting:
If you come across a blogger that makes the vein in your neck throb and your heart race, then avoid that blog. Why go back? Seriously? Are you a sucker for punishment? You two wouldn’t likely go catch a flick together, why hang out on the web?
If someone you generally like, posts something you vehemently disagree with, ask yourself if you can let this one slide. No? Then post your response respectfully.
No name calling. Ever. We’re not five.
Take a break. Just like never going to bed mad, never leave your anger on the internet. Walk away for the night, or a few days. Chances are you’ll feel differently and if you don’t, at least you’ve had some time to form a rational response.
Sign your name. Anonymity is for cowards. You immediately lose credibility when you can’t back up what you say with your name and you are more likely to temper your response.
Build up, don’t tear down. There is lots of room on the internet for everyone. Jealousy is a terrible monster, try to recognize it when it rears its ugly head. Readers of your comments will pick up on it right away.
Rise above. You are better than the troll that left you a shitty comment. Don’t sink to their level.
Set the example. Remember that some day your children will do a Google search on your name. What do you want them to find?
Like attracts like. If you like tofurky and Coca-cola, stay away from the Pepsi drinking hamburger eaters. There’s a million tofurky eaters that have your back.
Finally, all these could be wiped out with two simple words. Play nice.
**It should be noted that I have seen great warmth, humour and inspiration within this community as well. I have also met people that I thought I would loathe in real life because I found their opinions offensive, only to find they are lovely people. I’m glad I didn’t write something terrible to them or I may never have had the opportunity to find that out. When we raise the bar on treating others respectfully, we all win.