Organize my Life – A Toddler Mom’s Self Improvement Journey

After the last video, I really took some time to reflect on not only where my YouTube channel is going, but to also take stock of the undone tasks that have been cluttering my mind; those “to-do’s” and “wish-I-could-do’s” that have been stagnant in the far recesses of my life, gathering dust and waiting for a moment of weakness. In that moment, some random appliance will spring out with a “Surprise, lady! Just when you thought you were in the clear, I’m going to break because you didn’t properly clean or maintain me as clearly indicated on the warranty card you threw out last week – ha!“.

I mean, the fact that my appliances scream at me in the first place is completely unreasonable. Maybe next time it will be a body part. The knee, instead (“shoulda stretched more, like I tried to tell you eighty thousand eleven times” my lateral collateral would scoff at me, as I wince and hobble around).

Don’t wait until a friend blows out a joint (in the painful way, not the medicinal way), before you get your own health under control.

Health also means MENTAL health. Your sanity. The thing that keeps you from going off the deep end.

Because, just when we think we aren’t doing enough and deserve a break – not a chance. There’s stuff to PREPARE for! To PREVENT! (So go clean those washing machine seals, and your toilet siphons – if you don’t know what that means, neither did I until I started watching ridiculous mommy cleaning channels like @bitsofbri (Brianna K on YouTube).

Bri also has awesome hack like toilet paper stamping – good for those who might have to display their inventory as part of their home decor due to space constraints. So basically go watch her channel, not mine!

It works! Instagram @brandi_n_hightower

So, how do we stay sane and try to manage it all?

Well, maybe we can’t. Maybe we embrace insanity!

Because when you’re hurting, the first thing you want to hear is SUCK IT UP.

Really, though. Maybe there’s a way to get more hours in the day without getting up earlier or staying up later. Because without sleep and water, you’re as good as worthless, IMHO.

PRODUCTIVITY. Aha! That’s where it’s at, for me. That or exercise.

For you, it might mean a day at the spa. Do you, and do it with conviction.

This week I’m rolling up my sleeves and digging into everything “icky”. The clutter. The negativity. All the things that don’t feel good.

Emotions. Yard-sale leftovers. The list goes on.

So bear with me as this channel takes yet another twist and turn. I think the resounding theme has continued to be:

Hang on for the ride, you never know what’s about to happen but at least we can be prepared. In theory.


If you’ve been following our YouTube channel, maybe you’ve seen some of our product unboxing and tutorials. While these have been so fun to make, and we’ve actually come across some amazing items we use all the time (like the cheapie handheld vacuum below, not sponsored), we also come across items that are interesting or useful – for someone else.

An unexpected “WIN” – One of our favorite review items

Most things we have managed to give to friends and family, with great pleasure. And some items have been resold or donated. Nothing has been trashed…

…except the alarming quantity of packaging that Amazon provides. Much of it non-recyclable or from overseas, which when compounded by millions of shoppers each year, takes a huge toll on our environment.

As items began to stack up, I am constantly forced to deal with it in some way: sort it, find a home for it, donate it. Which feels lovely when you get a smile and thank-you from the recipient, but not so lovely knowing the ecological impact as I wait for another package to arrive – most likely containing something neat, no doubt. But not necessary.

I have decided from this point, the only collabs we will be doing is with companies we truly value – regardless of how cool or trendy the item might be. I simply can’t handle the amount of waste, and I want to be a more responsible steward of this planet. Yes, this might mean we have to save up for more thoughtful purchases and it might mean I have to severely cut back my Target Dollar Spot purchases.

Wait. Now THAT’S crazy.

Still, I am trying to focus on the following before buying:

How will our lives benefit (or not) from this purchase?

Is there a more satisfying alternative?

Do we need it?

What sort of cleanses and purges are you up to this month? This week? Today?

What can you declutter – in your home or mind?

Until then,


COPPA | YouTube Family Vloggers Leaving the Platform |Coppapocolypse 2019

My last few posts, ironically, have been about YouTube and how awesome it has been to be a part of the Creator community: sharing our joys and deepest sorrows with you during our most intimate moments.

From fertility treatments to birth vlogs and now videos that highlight our favorite products, educational resources and family vlogs.

That could all be changing in 2020 under the new COPPA regulations. Here’s a video explaining the new changes:

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is the global gold standard in data privacy rules for children. Though the law is 20 years old, the momentum for COPPA enforcement has only increased due to heightened consumer awareness of privacy breaches and precedents set in litigation against ad buyers and sellers. In September 2019, for example, YouTube received a $170 million fine for COPPA violations.

This leaves a lot of ambiguity in the Creator crowd, and frankly, fear. An analogy has been made of YouTube being the barrel and creators being the fish – what’s stopping the FTC and COPPA from going after small creators?

YouTube is issuing compliance warnings to creators after being hit with a huge fine of $170 million, and specifying that creators will be holding the bag for future fines associated with their own channels.

For family vlog channels like mine, which seem to be in a grey area, this is disconcerting.

I did a scan of my own channel using YouTube’s COPPA tool, after spending time this afternoon marking each one of my videos appropriately as either made for kids or not made for kids. The “learning machine” which YouTube speaks of, had disagreed with me.

In fact, the learning machine found that nearly two percent of my videos were supposedly marketed and directed toward children, after I made my own determinations (these are review videos I made for fellow Amazon consumers and online shoppers, and NOT intended for children). YouTube has categorized these videos “for” me and I have a chance to appeal, which I may. But honestly, I’ll probably just mark them as Kid Safe and take down the ads, to err on the side of caution

However, as the description or thumbnail or video contains one or more of those factors, it means that if the FTC were keen on it, I could be fined around $40K PER VIDEO for running an advertisement on any of these videos. So for now, I make zero advertising dollars on these flagged partnership ads which contain child friendly products.

Language that kids use such as “cool” or “ask your parents” are terms liable to get your videos or channel flagged. The machines are looking and listening to it all!

How is it determined that “cool” is a kids word? So many questions!

Furthermore, having too many videos like this can cause the supposedly “smart machine” to disable my channel. The FTC could fine me personally.

I only found these videos by doing a COPPA compliance scan. You can find this at the top of the creator studio, as a “COPPA Center” action button, or here on the TubeBuddy extension:

So, if the FTC decided, they could bring a case against me, which would at the very least require a lawyer on my end. One option is to mark all of my videos as Made For Kids (but they aren’t – they are for LGBT adults with information on fertility options).

Another option is to mark each video during the upload process (keeping in mind whether or not I have a family pet present, or anything else that can cause children to be interested, else risk a fine). I could also wait until after uploading them as not made for kids and then run the scanner tool – but that could be considered a risk.

Review videos, thumbnails with bright colors, presence of anyone under 13 years old, showing a pet, or a variety of other vague rules could get us busted if we don’t properly mark videos or set our channels as For Kids or Not For Kids (Leaving my neurosis to consistently wonder OH SHIT, did I say the kid-friendly word COOL in that vlog?).

Even with this regulation, kids will still see the same or similar ads on YouTube!

Setting a channel as kid friendly means that creators and viewers alike are unable to post in the comments section. It means up to 90 percent loss in ad revenue per video, and other monetary consequences for vloggers. It means these marked videos won’t appear in suggested lists, and you will not be able to choose personalized page advertisements.

Creators who don’t want their channels flagged as “for kids” must refrain from using music, animation, toys, characters, colorful or fast moving graphics that kids find interesting…the list of absurdities goes on – oh, and keep in mind that KID is a term that varies by country, and you have a global audience on the video platform.

I absolutely love vlogging, but I am nervous that our freedom of expression is getting taken away by these supposed learning machines and the FTC. I am all for protecting kids online, but it seems that the responsibility and pressure being put on creators.

As I continue seeing family vloggers leave the platform, channels that have been on far longer than the five years we have, I have been keeping my eye out for an alternative solution that will let us stay connected with you. Juggernauts and other long time vloggers have founded Story Fire and other platforms as an alternative to YouTube, but I just didn’t feel it was a good place (yet?) for the types of content I’m creating and Story Fire in particular is still in Beta.

For now, I will no longer be posting our educational YouTube videos or Early Childhood Education content to our family vlog channel due to COPPA laws – you can find those here on the daily blogs and site pages at – they will remain unsearchable on YouTube without a link. Review videos may ultimately move to a new channel.

Our vlogs are being backed up to the cloud as we speak, so we are resting assured tonight and staying hopeful that in 2020 we will see YouTube clarify vague details and assist creators behind the scenes as much as possible.

If not, then at least we have our memories preserved, and it was a good run!

Parents who are concerned about privacy issues can use YouTube Kids. If parents don’t want advertisements, YouTube Premium is available for a monthly fee.


Mama B

YouTube comments shown on this page were taken from the comments section of the posted video by YouTube Creators


Creators face COPPA fines up to $42,530 per video, yet the regulation and definition of “child-directed” is vague. The FTC needs to provide creators with enforcement clarity.