Balancing Act: 5 Reasons The Internet Says You’re A Mess

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune.

The Internet’s a little judge-y.
(And the pope’s a little Catholic.)

It’s forever telling us what we’re doing wrong. (“5 foods never to eat after age 45!” “24 things women over 30 need to stop wearing!” “10 mistakes every wife makes!”)

I’m certain it’s a plot to make us co-dependent.

“You’re a mess,” the Internet tells us. “You eat all the wrong things and wear all the wrong things, and you’re a lousy partner.”

Geez, you start thinking. I am a mess! Can anyone fix me?

“The Internet can fix you!” cries the Internet. “The Internet will give you a quiz to determine what type of sandwich you are and show you photos of your ex-boyfriend’s super-cute wife in a bikini, you know, for motivation, and offer you recipes using only age-appropriate foods!”

And just like that you’re hooked.

Or so the Internet hopes.

(For the record: I’m a grilled cheese, according to BuzzFeed, the website that made a name for itself, in large part, by offering “What kind of … are you?” quizzes.)

I think there’s a better way. I think we should rise up and say, “Enough is enough! I am not a sandwich! I am a human! And humans make mistakes! And sometimes they’re not even mistakes! They’re personality traits!”

I am happy to lead this peaceful revolution. We will never meet, because I hate meetings, and there will be no formal structure or timeline. But our mission is clear: Stop the scolding.

Anyone, of course, is welcome to join. But if you’re wondering whether this revolution is right for you, I offer the following list of human behaviors that will be welcomed with open arms.

Recognize any?

Join our revolution if ….

Your Easter decorations are still up.

You’ve eaten salsa straight from the jar with a spoon. For dinner.

You have at least one cabinet that, when opened, offers a 40 percent chance of inflicting bodily harm (falling canned goods, falling Tupperware tower, falling body care product).

You have skipped the gym for four days in a row but refuse to feel guilty because you give your kid piggyback rides to the park, and if that’s not exercise, Jillian Michaels can eat my shoe.

You’ve Googled “calories burned giving piggyback ride.”

You’ve transferred a Whole Foods jicama-mint salad bar salad into a glass bowl and presented it at a potluck.

You’ve offered a vague dodge when guests say things like, “Wow! You bought and peeled a jicama?”

You wear jewelry from Forever 21.

You’ve considered asking your doctor to put you on bed rest even though you’re not pregnant.

You sometimes answer, “Scientists are still looking into that, sweetie,” when your kids ask you hard questions, even though scientists stopped looking into that last century when they determined the answer, which you’ve long since forgotten.

You own at least one pair of shoes that cost less than $7.

You panic when people ask your favorite movie because the truth will make you seem shallow and frivolous.

Your favorite movie is “Footloose.”

You’ve checked the sugar content in kids yogurt and decided that it’s fine to give them ice cream for breakfast now and then.

You’ve used your 9-year-old daughter’s super-cute purse.

You’re holding at least one major appliance together with duct tape.

You’ve made toast out of hamburger buns.

You’ve lied about your weight, your natural hair color and your favorite movie, but never, not even once, about your age because you think you get wiser and kinder and flat-out better every day you spend on this Earth, and you never want to take a single one of those days away.

Oh, and if your Christmas lights are still up: Call me. I want to start taking family vacations together.
(Contact Heidi Stevens at

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