Facing Forty Upside Down


Patty Chang Anker blogs about learning things she never learned as a kid (biking, handstands, cleaning her room) now that she's hurtling into middle age. Coaches incl her sp needs daughters, yoga students & fearless friends. Hilarity & humiliation...

Upside Down is a winner of Top 25 Funny Moms

What inspired you to start blogging?

The moment my then-3-year-old, sporting a bike helmet, asked “Why you no have a bike?” and I realized I couldn’t very well tell the truth, which is that Mommy is too chicken to ride a bike! How can I expect my special needs kids to try new things, don’t give up, don’t worry about what people think, if I’m not willing to myself? After a lifetime of living nowhere near the edge it was time to start facing my fears. I created FACING FORTY UPSIDE DOWN, publicly declaring my intention to learn how to ride a bike, do a handstand, and dive into a swimming pool before I turned 40. I still can’t believe what happened next. So many old, new and cyber-friends joined in adventures from boogie boarding to rafting to learning how to clean our rooms. We’ve gone from “Mommy Doesn’t Do That” to “Mama’s Got Game!” and we’re not going back!

What are three distinctive features of your blog?

1. Intrigue – FFUD focuses on facing fears , so it’s naturally full of suspense: “Will Patty drown? ” “Will her kid skate?” “Will her friend lose the weight?” Fans post their own challenges and before/after pics. What’s going to happen next?? I can’t wait to find out, either!
2. Hilarity – Any time you have a GLEE-K like me attempt anything that requires courage or hand-eye coordination, something funny or humiliating is bound to happen. A win-win for the FFUD fan.
3 Heart - I have 2 daughters with special needs who were adopted from China. I’m a yoga teacher. My parents are Chinese immigrants. Our lives touch on all these themes, and so does my blog.

What are three adjectives that describe your blog?

1. Motivating – Don’t be surprised if you catch FFUD-fever! Fans have signed up for swimming lessons, set up secret hiding places, and spring cleaned their houses after reading our adventures.
2. Inspiring – There is nothing more heartwarming than a child overcoming anxiety to learn something new.
3. Upside-Down! We’re silly, we’re sad, we’re superstars – no matter what we’re feeling, we try to face the things that scare us with a smile.

What's a parenting rule you should break and why?

Patty Chang Anker

"Not on a school night." My kids need structure more than most. Heck, I need structure more than most. When I tell my kids "Homework! Dinner! Bath! Bed!" it's as much for me (exhausted me, who NEEDS THE DAY TO END) as it is for them. But sometimes, when when your kids beg to go to a park across the county to have a picnic dinner by the water and it's Monday at rush hour on a school night, the right answer is yes. Sometimes, when it's dusk and freezing out and your kids beg you to take them sledding through the woods, the right answer is yes. Because then you get amazing memories like this:
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How do you keep romance alive when you have children?

Patty Chang Anker

My husband and I have been together for almost 25 years. Since I was 15 years old. Asking me how we keep romance alive after so much time together and with small kids is like asking an ER doc how she treats the accident-prone. Romance, under siege by crying babies, has been known to flatline on the gurney: "Get the paddles! Sitter! Champagne! Stat!" It did, in the toddler years, fall right into a coma: "Shhh. Just let her sleep." As the kids have grown older, though, we have started finding time and energy, not necessarily for regular date nights, but for our own new hobbies. I learned how to dive into a swimming pool, just to face a fear I've always had. When I told my husband I wanted to join a gym to swim laps, he did a double take. "Since when do you swim laps?" Having him look at me in a new light, delights both of us. And he, at the age of 40, picked up his first musical instrument and learned to play electric guitar. He's usually strumming U2 or Beatles, but one day, I walked by him thinking my own banal thoughts about laundry and packing lunches and he stopped what he was practicing and started playing "Pretty Woman" for me. Which made me stop in my tracks then, and makes me smile every time I think of it now. My prescription: go have some fun, and then see how good your spouse looks doing it, too! A link to my diving adventures here: http://upside-down-patty.blogspot.com/search/label/Diving
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