the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Real Family Values

This post is brought to you in partnership with JĀSÖN® Brand.



A few years ago a personal care line called JĀSÖN® brand sent me a few body care products like many other personal care lines have done during my tenure online. Life is busy (KIDS! DOGS! MOMMY BLOGGING! GOOGLING RYAN GOSLING!) so I took a cursory glance at it all and then shoved it in a closet with everything else. Y’all would not believe the shelves and shelves of lotion I have in my bathroom. Like, a hundred shelves. People love to send me lotion, and I’m starting to wonder if my skin looks dry? You’d tell me, wouldn’t you?

That summer when I was preparing to take the kids to a local pool for the first time I remembered what they had sent: sunscreen.

Sunscreen. A selection of other items, too, but sunscreen.

When you read that word in your head it should sound like Bill Murray sighing, closing his eyes and shaking his head at an idiot.

That word alone is almost enough to make me wish for snow (BLASPHEMY) because I have very sensitive skin when it comes to sunscreen. It burns. Luckily, both of my girls inherited this from me. Yay, genetics! DNA is awesome! I sing that in my head every time Leta makes fun of my accent. Because I did the same thing to my mom, and now I understand why she wanted to lock me in a closet.

Why does any of this matter? Applying sunscreen is awful, that’s why.

“Stand still,” “hold your arms out,” and “chin up,” are impossible actions for kids who know you’re immobilized by lubricant and, like I said, it also burns. But so does the sun. So I’m all, “Okay kids, come over here so I can torture you in the name of preventing skin cancer.” And they’re all, “It’s okay, you already exploit us for money on your website.” So everyone has a marvelous time, and then we go sit in the blazing Utah sun dreading every single second that passes as it means we’re getting closer to having to reapply sunscreen.

Bill Murray. Shaking his head.

But THIS particular sunscreen didn’t burn. Neither girl said a word. I continued using the sunscreen and, over the next few days, the other items they sent. I read the labels, recognized the ingredients, and eventually started seeking out JĀSÖN products. I became a devotee of their Lavender collection, in particular the hand and body lotion that I apply before bed to help me relax, and the Biotin shampoo as it is gentle enough to share with my kids (Marlo was adamant that I stop washing her hair with “baby” shampoo BECAUSE SHE HAS A REPUTATION TO UPHOLD, YOU GUYS). So when they approached me recently and said, “Hey, we like your stuff, let’s work together!” I looked to my left and then to my right and whispered to myself out loud, “THE CONSPIRACY IS REAL.”



How did they know? How did they know that I go out of my way to buy their sunscreen every summer? And what else did they know? I could only hope they had not seen the direct messages I have sent to Taye Diggs who refuses to acknowledge my existence (why does he follow me on Twitter if he doesn’t want me to write him poetry?)

For over 50 years the JĀSÖN® brand has focused on staying transparent with their ingredients. The brand is dedicated to authenticity and honesty for moms in particular. This means that moms who already have more than enough to do in a day (does anyone want to wash Chuck’s diapers?) have one less label they need to read, one less thing to worry about. And voilà, life is easy. Wait. No, I didn’t say that. Not easy. EASY DOES NOT EXIST WHEN YOU’RE A MOM. This is where I’d add a hashtag like #amirite or #preachit or #pleasesendhelp. Easier, maybe? Yes, easier. If you’re an expecting mother who’s now panicking and thinking “what on earth am I getting myself into?!” then you’re going to be fine. And not all mom truths are as difficult to face as the End of Easy, so take a breath. There won’t be any time to breathe after you have kids, anyway.


Those of us who have been in the trenches will be honest and upfront in telling you to take comfort in the smallest of victories and, Bill Murray-style, shake your head at the frequent absurdities. For example:

It’s terrifying when your kids start becoming adults. Do yourself a favor: Be honest now and ease life later.

Everything feels impossible but nothing is. Except for math homework. Keep your language clean and you might get through it.

You can say you “slept in” if you got to lay in bed AWAKE for an extra two minutes.

Showers are a luxury. Going to the bathroom alone is a luxury.

It’s okay to get a rubdown from the pool boy if he uses a gentle body product.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. Summer is fast approaching, and I need to stock up on the staple of the season.


This post is brought to you in partnership with JĀSÖN Brand.

  • Living The Scream

    2015/06/09 at 9:21 am

    I so agree with you on the hassle of applying sunscreen! It is such a pain!

  • Christabel Fowler

    2015/06/09 at 9:31 am

    Have you tried their apricot shampoo? Swooooon. I too, am transparent-skinned and my son as well. We go through so much sunscreen every year while my wife tans after 4 minutes outside.

  • REK981

    2015/06/09 at 9:43 am

    We only have success with zinc based sun care. We are already pale so the bit of white creaminess doesn’t faze me a bit. But the shampoo sounds like it smells wonderful.

  • americanrecluse

    2015/06/09 at 9:47 am

    Oh, to randomly receive boxes of lotion in the mail. I’m jealous!

  • Clarissa

    2015/06/09 at 10:25 am

    I don’t get why they put all that stuff above their letters (JĀSÖN – how do you even pronounce it correctly?!) but I bought their aloe vera gel and is saves my life each time I’m too slow with re-applying the sunscreen.

  • Jen Moore

    2015/06/09 at 10:29 am

    Feel free to send some of that lotion excess my way…#dryskininportland 🙂

  • Jodi Sayles Bulmer

    2015/06/09 at 11:04 am

    Tangent – my 6 year old daughter has that same little mermaid doll and her older brother and sister “helped” her name it. Salmon. Ella. So she runs to the bath screaming “I gotta go get Salmon Ella!!” every day.

  • Carla

    2015/06/09 at 11:06 am

    How does their sunscreen feel on your hands? I wear sunscreen all the time, but I don’t like that yucky residue that doesn’t seem to go away after I’ve doused myself in sunscreen.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2015/06/09 at 12:10 pm

    Applying it to kids is like trying to wrangle an angry, writhing snake. Worst part of summer and I really love summer.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2015/06/09 at 12:13 pm

    Hand lotion, body lotion, face lotion, special foot lotion, special *around the eyes* lotion… you name it. I got closets full.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2015/06/09 at 12:15 pm

    JĀSÖN as in Jason Bateman. And every other Jason I went to high school with.

  • megmcg

    2015/06/09 at 12:27 pm

    It might not work for Leta because “cake is gross” but I tell my kids that I’m going to frost them like a cupcake when it’s time to put on sunscreen.

  • Chantell

    2015/06/09 at 1:27 pm

    Just searched this page for the word “coupon” and NOTHING. #oversight

  • Jenna

    2015/06/09 at 1:28 pm

    Tell you?!! The internet, as you know, would tell you and then never EVER shut up about it. Heather, your skin looks dry. Heather, I love you but your skin…so…. dry. Heather, how can you live with such dry skin? Heather, does the D in Dooce stand for dry because your skin looks so dry! Would we tell you?!…. Please….

  • Jenna

    2015/06/09 at 1:29 pm

    And, causation! Your dry skin would explain So. Much.

  • frodofrog

    2015/06/09 at 3:34 pm

    Math homework is not impossible! I wish everyone would stop insisting that it is. It’s like practicing piano – you just have to keep doing it and you’ll get it eventually. And yeah, sometimes you might swear. But please, world. Stop telling kids that math homework is impossible.

  • chloepear

    2015/06/09 at 8:32 pm


    I hope that JASON will take notice that I:
    1) Buy all lotions, sunscreens, and shampoos for our family, and
    2) Would never tell a child (or adult!) that math homework is impossible. I would especially never direct that message at women and girls – at whom most lotion, sunscreen, and shampoo advertising is directed.

  • Ali

    2015/06/09 at 9:12 pm

    And not one “it puts the lotion on it’s skin” quote.

    I’m so sad over this missed opportunity.

  • Michael Mathews

    2015/06/09 at 10:23 pm

    I loved math in school, still do for the most part.

  • Madam Von Sassypants

    2015/06/10 at 9:39 am

    Years ago I worked for a company that sent you a fruit basket. I’m sorry. 🙂

  • Amy B

    2015/06/10 at 11:59 am

    Their sunscreen doesn’t get very good ratings on the EWG sunscreen guide…

  • Amy G

    2015/06/10 at 1:21 pm

    My 8 year old is allergic to all mainstream shampoos. Currently, I am buying her one from a drugstore that doesn’t make her head itch, but it’s expensive and doesn’t lather up well. I wonder if she can use one from this line.

  • Susan Allardyce

    2015/06/11 at 8:50 am

    This post prompted me to apply hand lotion immediately after reading. Just thought you should know your powers of suggestion are working.

  • Meg

    2015/06/11 at 8:04 pm

    I use the Honest Company shampoo/body wash for both myself and my dog. Without the SLS (to which I am allergic) it doesn’t make a huge lather/foam, just enough to annoy the dog.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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