Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The RFML Guide to Helping Muthas Out

 - This post is updated from 2014 - 

It's officially the holidays! And that does not mean spending too much money and giving in to the constant barrage of advertising that is turning my children into little beasts of consumer consumption and RUINING my precious Kindle time

For me, making the holidays awesome is easy - make it about HELPING. A couple of years ago, I started a tradition with my kiddos where every week between Thanksgiving and New Years, we do something good for someone else. It can be big or little, but we do it together. 

We skipped this tradition last year because I was on a book deadline, and the truth is that we all really regretted not making the time for it. I swore after last year, I would always prioritize THIS over everything else we do for the holidays.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Ten Questions to Ask Your College Student this Thanksgiving

This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression in college-aged students.  All opinions are my own.

Many people think of college as the best years of their life, a brief, golden time filled with opportunity, adventure, and that precarious, delicious balance of newfound freedom and only a little bit of adult responsibility. It’s not all parties and pizza, however. The transition to college can be hard, especially with the added pressure of watching your peers’ best lives play out on social media while your real life, in your real messy dorm room, isn’t quite what you thought it would be. 

As an adjunct professor of Public Health, I see kids struggle every semester. Being a ‘successful’ college student means something different for everyone, but the pressure and expectations young people face now are very real and somewhat different than what their parents experienced. Students today are functioning in a world that is designed to distract them and keep them running on a hamster wheel of near-constant social comparison.   

Monday, November 11, 2019

Raising a Screen Smart Kid on NPR



I loved doing this interview with Dan Skinner of Kansas Public Radio!

http://kansaspublicradio.org/blog/dan-skinner/conversations-julianna-miner-raising-screen-smart-kid

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times



Very excited to share that "Raising a Screen Smart Kid" was mentioned in The New York Times for the second time this year! This article by the incredible Jessica Lahey (author of The Gift of Failure) is outstanding and refers readers to my ideas on cell phone contracts.


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Interview with Jen Mann!

Hey everyone! During book launch week, I did a Facebook Live with my good friend and NYT best-selling author Jen Mann. It's a pretty laid back and honest conversation about being internet people, raising teens and tweens, and how tech impacts everything.



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Monday, August 26, 2019

Good Day DC Interview

Other than the fact that my hair is super weird, this is a great interview with the folks at Good Day DC (Fox 5 DC). Check it out!



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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Good Kids and Dumb Choices - It's normal

"It's critical to remember that every child, no matter how smart and responsible, will make mistakes... Making mistakes and learning how to deal with the consequences of our choices are key developmental lessons all kids need to learn."
-Chapter 1, Raising a Screen Smart Kid
This post is just a quick reminder that even the best kids are going to do some really dumb stuff sometimes - it's called "growing up." It doesn't make them bad people and doesn't make you a bad parent. 
Make a mistake? Take responsibility, learn from it, move forward. Online and in-person - same rules apply. 

And for the record, we all did a ton of dumb stuff when we were kids, too. Only we weren't doing it when literally everyone around us could record and document all of our adolescent stupidity for posterity.
((Quickly crosses self and thanks baby Jesus for this, as was an enormous idiot as a teenager))

Love, Julie
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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Quick Q & A: Should I let my kid start posting on Youtube?

Q: My daughter (age 9) wants to post a video of her teaching someone how to paint a picture of a chicken. It's super cute and totally appropriate, but I'm afraid of comments from trolls and wondering if she is too young to post. What do you think?
A: In all likelihood, the people who are going to be watching and sharing your 9 year old's video are going to be your friends and family. Could it go viral and garner a lot of attention? Sure! Anything is possible, but it's unlikely.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Driving Home from Maine

Our dinner. Pulled out of the water by my brother in law
who is a Lobsterman. So basically, totally worth
14.5 hours in a fart van.
It's hour 12 of the long drive home from Maine. 

The van smells like socks and Doritos and I’m having one-sided conversations with Alexa* every time my kids start getting on my nerves. 

“Alexa, please tell the children to stop making mouth sounds.”

“Alexa, please let me sleep. I can’t take anymore.”

“Alexa, did one of them fart or is that just what this part of New Jersey smells like?”

“Alexa, make them stop fighting about where to put their feet.”

I.AM.LOSING.IT.

*I don’t even know how Alexa works and I have no devices that respond to that name which my children have repeatedly pointed out and that is not even relevant because I’m merely reaching out to the universe for help and calling her Alexa and she is not answering. Rude. 
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Monday, July 1, 2019

Recent Lesson Learned

Recent lesson from the trenches of #parentingteenagers

The highs are high (and everyone shares them on social media) while the lows are fucking brutal (and you grit your teeth and keep quiet about it). Even the best families with the most love (and the shiniest pictures on their social feeds) have days or weeks or months of teeth-grinding anxiety. 

Will it be ok? What does this mean for their future? How can this be happening? Sometimes it's how your kid is behaving and sometimes it's how others are behaving toward your kid. And the older they get, the less control you have over any of it. 

So if that's where you are right now, please take a deep breath and exhale. It's me, too. This is the real shit that no one talks about.  

So here's to the parents grinding their teeth off while they sleep and giving themselves perma-headaches and loving the hell out of their kids and freaking out that they're doing it all wrong. 

Right there with you. And I wrote a damn parenting book.

And just saying, our ancestors married off their kids early and nobody had Snapchat. 

xoxo, Julie

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Our Summer Romance Reading Recc's! The Video!

Harlow Cole and I did a Facebook Live discussing (briefly) my performance in a dance recital and our love/addiction/obsession with romance novels. For the complete list - with links - check out our write up.



Buy Harlow's amazing books here!

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Friday, June 21, 2019

You need some hot summer reading? We got you.

Hi there friends! Julie here, with my old friend Harlow Cole (check out her books here!).

This week on FB, I promised to share my favorite romance novels, or as I call them - Inappropriate Lady Books. I asked HC to help me. She and I orginally bonded a million years ago in the bathroom at a cub scout meeting when I saw she was wearing a Twilight t-shirt without shame and I was like "I need to tell you that I taught a Twighlight-themed bible study last summer and only moms showed up and now you know that about me." 

She even wrote a blog post about Sweet Valley High for me six freaking years ago after I accused her of being a closet writer based soley on her epic FB updates. 

And guess what happened? SHE SNUCK UP ON ME AND WROTE A COUPLE OF STEAMY AND AMAZING AND BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED BOOKS. The first one comes out July 18th and we all need to read it together and swoon and then ask her really uncomfortable questions.

So yesterday, HC and I sat in our daughters' dance recital dress rehearsal and hashed out some of our favorite romance books. Mine come first, then hers, then I tell you about her book. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

This is the year of me doing things.

You know how I said this was the year of me doing stuff? So far I have:
His scruff touched my face. Also, he's really nice
and very tall and his wife is beautiful.
  • Taken ninja lessons with 5 of my friends and earned my white belt, 
  • Did an ice luge shot and then rode a mechanical bull, 
  • Embraced my love of inappropriate lady novels (THE LIST IS HERE AND IT'S GOT EVERYTHING)
  • Went to Texas by myself to a conference and came home with several really good new friends and having briefly snuggled Jared Padelecki, 
  • Wrote a second book that is wildly personal, 
  • Got invited to work out w a former UFC fighter at his gym (we met at the Verizon store and we talked about his sweet fiancee and their house hunt and more on this later), 
  • Mercilessly pranked my neighbors in an ongoing squirmish, and 
  • I'm going to see Air Supply on Friday probably dressed in full 80's gear. 

But... there's more and I'm legit losing the very last of my shit right now. I'm supposed to be in a "Mom Squad" number at my daughter's dance recital this weekend. This dance studio is filled with literally the nicest people in the world and we've been rehearsing for a month but last week I forgot everything and now it's like I'm broken and I. Can. Not. Dance. At. All. 
Because dancing is hard and choreography is hard and coordination is hard and remembering what to do with your arms is hard and I want to quit but I can't because I am the dumbass who talked everyone into it ("This is the year we do stuff, guys!!") and now it's could be just very unfortunate for me. 
So I guess what I'm saying is that it's fun to do new things but also terrifying and being brave also means feeling totally ridiculous. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Welcome to summer. It's feral here. And there's a squid.

The school year is over. The transition to summer has begun. For the first time in 11 years, we're not doing summer swim. This means that instead of becoming feral, schedule-less garanimals in late July - that happens now. 
One of the Rants Fam from FB drew this
and it is the most beautiful thing in the
whole entire fucking world. 
This is occurring in combination with the inexplicable mood swings, tears, and crankypants that accompany any major transition in my house. The only thing that seems to help with this is my children and their friends eating $459 worth of groceries every 3 days. 
Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to work from home full time while having no discipline and a procrastination problem that if anthropomorphized would be a drunken, angry squid who likes to slap me with his slappy tentacles while also screeching Duran Duran songs off-key in my left ear. 
Oh and I have a book coming out in about a month so nothing to stress about there except being a total public failure in front of God, the internet, and everyone I know. Especially considering it's a book about kids and tech and being "screen smart" and my response to this situation is that every child in my house (currently 5) are staring at some sort of screen so I can load the dishwasher and type this. 
Just thought I'd share some realness with you in case you were feeling like you needed to compare favorably with someone who definitely does not have their shit together. You're doing better than you think and way better than me. Happy summer and I love your face today - you look well-rested and attractive.
xo, Julie

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Second Deathaversary

Today is the second deathiversary of my little brother's passing and I'm still feeling messy and ugly about it. I've decided to focus on a few things that losing him taught me.
*Grief is built to last and it shows up in really weird ways when you really don't expect it. Like a punch right in the damn face when you're at a stoplight and the wrong song comes on. It sucks but there it is.
*I will remember the best of him because he would've done that for me. 
*My sister and I will likely spend too much time for the rest of our lives wondering if something could have changed this outcome. If we had a time machine, what is the exact moment that we could go back to, make a change and create an alternate timeline where he would still be here and be ok? We know this isn't useful. We will do it anyway.
*Mental illness is made about a million times worse by self-medicating. When life is genuinely shitty, that's when you should be NOT be drinking. 
*I will love certain people harder and I will let certain people go. 
Here's a bird finger to death for taking him at 30 and to addiction and mental illness and the breast cancer that took his mom when he was too young to handle it. 
Here's an awkwardly long hug for anyone else dealing with ugly, messy, dirty grief.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Words I Say to Make Teenage People Cringe

Hello. These are some words I should only say if I want my teenage children to cringe and then make a face like they're smelling something bad:
  • Savage
  • Fam
  • Bae
  • Gucci
  • Lit
  • Flex
  • Dope
  • Dank
  • Extra
  • Yeet
  • Bet
  • No


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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Losing Weight and Having Community Support

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own. This is a sponsored post.

One of the reasons I was asked to work with Med-IQ on this campaign about obesity is because I’m a public health professor. The reason I really wanted to do it is because for the past couple of years, all of us who hang out together on the Rants from Mommyland Facebook page, or more recently in the Rants private group, have been each other’s health accountability buddies. 

It usually starts in January, when the busy holiday seasons ends and we all catch our breath for a minute. Then I get one of those annoying post cards in the mail, reminding me it’s time to get my feet cleaned or get a mammogram. So I start posting about it and my online friends post back. 

We’re (most of us) parents. And that means we put everyone else first and our own best interests last. One of the things that Med-IQ stressed in discussing obesity was the “importance of supportive relationships and a sense of community in successful health and weight management.  Involve others in healthy behaviors, such as walking with friends or exercise buddies or cooking with family.”

Saturday, April 13, 2019

DAY 3 HOME ALONE STATUS UPDATE

I chose this photo because 90% of what I now consume now
are Annie's frozen organic burritos and microwaved coffee.
DAY THREE OF BEING HOME ALONE 
(meaning yesterday, but posting late as have lost all sense of time):
Well, it happened on day 3. I started to miss them and found myself checking the locations of their iphones. They were taking a college tour at Baylor (teenage daughter loved it) and I was getting v. emotional about all of it. Was reaching for kleenex when I received 16 texts in a row from Mini telling me that her brother had LITERALLY SPRAYED HER WITH A HOSE and WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT, MOMMY?
Nothing, sweet girl. Nothing at all. 
I'm in Virginia and you're in Texas and your dad is *right there* and I'm 1,100 miles away drinking iced coffee, eating a frozen burrito in my stretchy pants at 2pm, suddenly feeling really good about my alone time again. Thank you for that refreshing dose of perspective, my angel.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Quoted in the Sunday NYT

I'm really, really excited about being quoted twice in an article about sharing things on Facebook that will be in this Sunday's print edition of The New York Times. The piece was written by KJ Dell'Antonia whose podcast #AmWriting I am a huge fan of. 

“I have definitely seen an evolution toward sharing less,” said Julianna Miner, an adjunct professor of global and community health at George Mason University and the author of the forthcoming “Raising a Screen-Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age.” She added, “It’s hard to tell if the changes are a response to the security breaches, or a result of people just getting tired of it.”

and 


“There’s plenty of evidence that interpersonal, face-to-face interactions yield a stronger neural response than anything you can do online,” said Ms. Miner. “Online empathy is worth something to us, but not as much. It takes something like six virtual hugs to equal one real hug.”


The article is here!



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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Review of the After Movie - Which everyone should go see right now. Thank you.

REVIEW OF THE AFTER MOVIE BY SOMEONE WHO IS TOO TIRED TO PROOFREAD HER OWN SHIT:
I just saw the #Aftermovie and I have a lot of feelings and emotions right now. They are very real and you need to respect them even though I am an adult woman and perhaps this is not the best use of my time. 
For those of you who don't know, this movie is based on a series of YA books by Anna Todd that were originally on a story-sharing app called Watpad, where they got over a BILLION reads and were eventually snatched up by Simon & Schuster and published to enormous sales over the past five years.
Let's start with the positives: There's great casting! And gender-swapping of characters! There's more diversity! Landon, for example, is now black and is a precious, handsome, nerdy angel and Tristan is a v. hot gay girl. All good things.
Hardin and Tessa are great - thank you, baby lemur, because that could have gone either way. Tessa is exactly as I imagined her, down to the JC Penney wardrobe and pouty lips. Hardin* is perfect but for the lack of correct tattoos and piercings, which did not bother me but was EXTREMELY UPSETTING to the young super fans who were debriefing after the movie with me. 
He is also far too nice, which was very disappointing. He is supposed to be a cruel and heartless dickhead and instead, he's like a young, black t-shirt wearing Mr. Darcy, unpleasant and rude, but too hot for those things to matter very much.

Home Alone Status Update Day 2

Me today: hair jacked up, still in PJ's, no shower
Day 2 of being home alone status report: 
Yesterday I ate sushi for dinner on my couch while re-watching season 3 of Game of Thrones in stretchy pants, ponytail & no bra, as I received this advice in the comments of my FB status ("If you're wearing a bra, you're doing it wrong." --> YOU ARE ALL VERY WISE AND HAVE SO MUCH TO TEACH ME, THIS WAS 100% RIGHT). 
I also read two books by Harper Kincaid (who I know in real life and is delightful and really knows how to take flattering selfies), made many to do lists, sent emails, did research, and drank electrolyte water - all on the couch while watching GoT. 
Then I slept for 12 hours, only waking up because the dogs were like "WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K IS HAPPENING HOOMAN ARE YOU DEADS?"

I am Kevin McAllister. Day One.

My husband took our children to the great state of Texas for five days for Spring Break. I must stay here, at home, because I have to teach and work. This happens every year, the university where I teach usually has their spring break a month before my kids' rolls around. This means I'm not really able to travel and my kids sullenly accept that we are stuck at home for a week, slowly growing more and more irritated with each other because there is nothing to do. 
But this year, I am at home alone in the manner of Kevin McAllister for almost five whole days. I have lots of deadlines and work to do BUT OMG THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.
I have a list of non-work related things I want to do:
*Read many, many trashy books and a couple of good ones
*Not cook or clean any of the things
*So many naps
*Go see the new After movie if I can find any other adults who will go with me, even if they haven't read the books
*Go to yoga
*Order take-out, repeat daily
*Watch what I want on the big TV

Friday, March 15, 2019

Three Ways to Help Kids Say No to Underage Drinking

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their Ask.Listen.Learn. campaign, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very proud to be part of their team again his year. 

My three kids tend to roll their eyes at me and my desire to talk about everything from too much screen time, the value of a good night’s sleep, managing stress, to saying no to drugs and alcohol. But I do it anyway because that’s what moms must do. 

When it comes to talking about underage drinking, there are three things I try to keep in mind:

1. Establish Expectations
We have lots of little talks about stuff, rather than long sit-downs, which my kids find annoying and don’t really want to engage in. Little talks do something meaningful, though. They establish with total clarity my expectations around their behavior. Kids who clearly understand parental expectations about drug and alcohol use are less likely to engage in underage drinking.

2. Talk About the Why Behind the Rule
When I talk about my expectations, I’m careful to explain the reasoning behind how I got there. They know that my husband and I drink and they very reasonably want to know why its safe and acceptable for us, but not for them. The primary factors that drive my expectations around underage drinking are brain development (alcohol effects kids differently than adults), the law (it is illegal for kids to drink), and the negative consequences correlated with underage drinking (injuries, assaults, problems in school, increased mental health risks, etc.). When they understand why I don’t want them to drink and that my opinions are based on evidence, they’re more likely to understand and respect those expectations.

3. Work on Refusal Skills

Ask. Listen. Learn. has some great resources for talking to your kids about underage drinking, including an infographic below that provides ten ways for kids to say no. It’s beneficial to teach and practice refusal skills. In a moment when kids may feel pressured, it can be a game changer for them to be able to draw from past conversations to find the right way to say no. 



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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Texting fun with Teenagers

This morning in the group chat I have with my three kids:
Me: Kids, I'm in meetings all morning so unless its life or death, I can't respond to your texts. 
Kid: Ok
Other kids: (since does not have to do with food, money or rides, ignores message)
Kid: (during meetings) Mom mom MOM MOM MOMMMMM MOM MOM.
Mom: (thinking surely I can ignore message, as said earlier would be in meetings)
Kid: MOOOMM mom mom MOM
Mom: (growing concern and unease) What?! In a meeting!
Kid: Oh right. Nevermind.

This afternoon:
Kid: Pick me up by the smoothie place?
Mom: When?
Mom: (30 mins later) When?
Mom: (60 mins later) CHILD WHEN DO YOU NEED A RIDE?
Kid: (23 minutes later) Right now. 
Kid: (3 seconds later) How much longer?
Kid: (4 seconds later) When are you coming?

THIS IS MY LIFE TEXTING MAKES EVERYTHING SO MUCH EASIER.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Weight is not simple.

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.

I’ve partnered with Med-IQ several times; they’re an accredited medical education company that works with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. As I am a professor of public health, this partnership is a great fit. The topic this time is about obesity. Specifically, that a positive and supportive healthcare provider and broader community are important to successful weight management.

Here’s what I mean by that; there are physicians who, when treating patients who are overweight or have obesity, see the weight more than they see the patient. Example:

Me: All my kids have strep and my throat is on fire and I have a fever. 
Doctor: Let’s talk about your weight.

or

Me: I’d like a PAP smear, please.
Doctor: Your weight is going to cause future health problems.

[end scene]

Friday, January 18, 2019

Most recent article for Washington Post


Every time I have a piece accepted by the Washington Post's OnParenting section, it's a thrill. I was especially happy about this one because I've spent the past two years researching the digital lives of our kids. This article gave me the opportunity to integrate that research with some important parenting conversations we should all be having with our tweens and teens.

I also love this piece because it's a great peek into what my upcoming book is going to be like. Have I mentioned that book?

It's called "Raising a Screen Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age" and it will be published by Tarcher Perigee/Penguin Random House in late summer 2019.

Here's a link to the article! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/09/06/how-to-use-eighth-grade-to-jump-start-some-important-conversations-with-your-teen/?utm_term=.0720f3242ce0

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