My Pre-k'er Has a Crush (and I wanna puke)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


**This image above is not my kid, or her crush

Puke

Drink.

His name is Henry.

What kind of name is Henry anyway?

My 4-year old proclaimed her love for Henry in the car yesterday.  We were driving home from pre-school (yes, PRESCHOOOOLL!!!!), and she says, "Mom, I have a secret to tell you.  But you can't tell daddy."

Me, "Okay, no problem, what is it?" (I'm so telling her father!!!)

4-year old, "I ... I....I ....ummm, I love someone."

Me, "Okay, like your sister, me, daddy, Grandma??" (not a boy, not a boy, not a boy)

***sweat is forming under my pits and in my bra***

4-year old, "No, a boy at school." (Ohhhhh fuck.)

**cranks air conditioning**

Me, "That's nice, what's his name?"

4YO: "Henry"

Me: "Okay, what does Henry do that you love him, is he super nice, or funny??" (please don't say he's cute)

4YO: "Henry helped me put away the chairs in the classroom during clean up time.....don't tell dad.  I need to tell dad myself."

Silence

While my first reaction was to break her little her heart and tell her no fucking way will she love a boy until she's 21.  I stopped myself.  Which is pretty shocking.  I am usually unable to stop myself.

But, I kept thinking, if I act like her friend, someone she can talk to and trust - this will continue into her tween and teen years.  I will NOT sabotage it right now.

Yes, I'm still jilted by the fact that my 4-year old has professed her love for a boy.  I'm horrified actually.  I sat in bed last night asking my husband, "what did I do wrong?!"

"Too many Disney movies?"

"Maybe we shouldn't show them our wedding video anymore?"

"Maybe we shouldn't kiss or hug in the house?" (riiiighttt, like we do a lot of that).

My point is - I don't know what I did to make my pre-schooler proclaim love for a boy at such a young age.  Isn't this a little advanced?  Inappropriate?

Do you know what happened when a boy said he loved ME in preschool?  I actually have a very vivid memory of this.

The stupid boy fucking bit me.  ON MY FACE.  And it got infected.

And you wonder why I have men issues.  Love biiiiiites.  Or, is it a LOVE bite?  Ugh. Whatever.

Anyways, apparently it's pretty common for kids at this age to have a crush.  They're acting out what they've seen in movies or what they see at home.  Playing house, if you will.

Dr. Ruth Peters, (who is now deceased), was a clinical psychologist and regular guest contributor on NBC's Today Show.

Peters said this about first crushes, "Early socialization promotes crushes, Media hype, Disney movies (who gets to have the prince?)"

She went on to say that the first crush is NOT, "true or erotic love- but another type of playing 'grown up' similar to pretending to be a teacher, coach or actor."

Phwew!

Here are tips that Dr. Peters wrote out for parents handling the whole First Crush situation:

- Don't try to dissuade your child or talk her out of her feelings, as long as the "crush" is moderate.  Caring for a peer is nice- this encourages kind and thoughtful feelings and actions.

- Show reasonable interest - "Why do you like Jason so much?" "Is he nice to you?"

- Allow sensible responses and activities such as the giving of a Valentine or appropriate birthday gift.  Discourage love notes, phone calls, or too many playdates to the exclusion of other friends.

- If the crush seems to be getting too intense (your child not playing with other children, obsessing on the friend, or getting feelings hurt when the crush is not reciprocated) have a frank talk.  Focus on how it's nice to care for another person, but that a sure-fire way to lose a friend is overwhelm or to smother them. Also, discuss how it's rude to overlook the other kids in the class or to exclude previous relationships- feelings are hurt and prior friends may not be there when your child is ready to spend more time with them again.




Did 9/11 turn us into Coddling, Helicopter Parents?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Studies suggest 9/11 shaped and defined Millennials on many levels, and may have even impacted our parenting.

The theory is, that 9/11 turned Millennials into coddling, hovering, helicopter parents.

I'm 29 now.  I was 16-years old on 9/11.

September 11th defined my generation.  We're often called the "9/11 Generation."  That day defined my political beliefs, my religious beliefs, my social beliefs.  It instilled a fear of flying that I still can't shake, a fear of being in tall buildings that I can't shake, and a fear of public transportation that haunts me.  (I still fly, go in tall buildings and take public transportation, but 75% of the thoughts in my head while I am doing these activities- is about terrorism and dying - maybe I need a therapist).  Let's just say - I sweat it out.

It instilled a sense of social, civic and communal duty.  My parents weren't really super involved in community - but I find myself constantly drawn to community activities and volunteerism.

It opened my eyes to a whole other side of the world that I never really knew existed.

I barely knew what the Middle East was - let alone terrorism.  And even though terrorism frightens Millennials - we have an acceptance and curiosity towards other cultures and ethnic groups unlike any generation before us.

I grew up in the golden 80's and 90's - the economy was good and it was basically sunshine, rainbows and great rock and roll.

I remember it was a sunny day when the planes crashed into the World Trade Centers.  I was in high school, in upstate New York.  I watched my baby boomer aged teachers rush into the halls, grab tv's and put them on for us all to watch.  We didn't know we'd be watching a moment - that re-shaped our country, the world and our lives.

9/11 impacted different generational groups in different ways, some more than others.

First, let's start with baby boomers - their defining moment was Kennedy's assassination in 1963.  In short, baby boomers are mostly characterized by their need for power, material things, money - all exterior rewards.  September 11th was horrific for them, but as studies suggests - it was not a defining, impactful moment.  It didn't necessarily change their attitudes or how they operated day to day, nor how they parented.

Next, Generation X'ers.  People born anywhere from the 1960's to early 1980's.  September 11th was a defining moment - but most were older by that point, and had already formed their beliefs and attitudes towards the world and government.  They are referred to as the voiceless or quiet generation.  Gen X'ers wanted to do the opposite of everything their baby boomer parents did - and in turn, they lived invisibly in a world dominated by power and money.

There is some information suggesting that those Gen X'ers who were already prone to coddling/helicoptering their kids at the time, actually increased the coddling and helicoptering after 9/11. There are also recent studies that say these Gen X'ers continue to coddle and hover over their college-aged kids - to detrimental and unhealthy levels.  You can read about the harmful effects of helicopter parenting in a study called, Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting.

Some of these Gen X'ers were parents of young teens.  Like many teens in the early 2000s, I was about to embark of life.  I felt like I wanted to make a difference in the world.  Like me - many teens of Gen X parents wanted to make a serious mark after high school and after 9/11.

University of Texas education professor Patricia Somers says, "The parents of these older students seem to support their sons and daughters in trying to make a mark while being concerned that in making that mark, the student may be in harm's way.

I think of my own mother.  She's a Gen X parent.  She was the first person I wanted to call when I saw the horror unfold on the news in school.  New York state was a mess.  We were forced to evacuate our high school and sit outside after the morning attacks.  We were 3-4 hours away from New York City - but we were forced to evacuate.  I couldn't call my mom.  When we were allowed back inside the school - I rushed to the school office.  All phone lines were down.  You couldn't get a dial tone.  No one could get a phone call out.  I tried over and over and over again.  I got through.  My mom picked up, I said, "Mom - cousin Benjie is in the World Trade Center.  You need to call and find out if he's okay.  I love you."

I cry as I write this because it was so scary as a teenager to not be able to talk to your mom.  It was more scary to not know if your own family was safe - or even alive.

My cousin was on a lower floor of the World Trade Center - and made it out alive.  We are eternally grateful for that.

Being faced with that type of tragedy - had never happened to me, up until that moment.

My Gen X mom had been a bit of a helicopter parent.  She was very involved in our schooling from a young age.  But, did 9/11 heighten her helicopter tendencies?

That school year - I graduated high school and made plans to attend college out of state.

My mom drove me 12 hours away and set me up in my dorm room.  She stocked my mini fridge. Then she left me with a bank account and some money in it.  I was a young adult - she shoulda put me on a plane, pat me on the back, and said "Good luck sweetie!"

She still texts me if we haven't talked on the phone in four plus days - ARE YOU ALIVE? ARE YOU MAD AT ME?  CALL ME.

Is this post 9/11, fueling her fears?  Driving her to still worry like that?  Or was she just worried that I was irresponsible?

We will never know, because studies done on people's psyches and habits weren't performed until some years after 9/11.

But, Millennials were studied.  And the impacts of 9/11 are profound on this generational group.

The Millennials were born anywhere from 1980s to early 2000s.

There are photographic memories I have of that day.  All horrifying news snippets.  Planes crashing into the World Trade Center, burning buildings, the billowing smoke taking over the streets of NYC, people jumping out of the buildings, the sound of screams, the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

These photographic images were snapped into many of our Millennial minds.  This phenomenon of photographic images is well-documented in studies about Millennials and the impacts 9/11 had on them.

The images are impossible to let go of.

Besides the intermittent fears of terrorist attacks - I do worry about the safety of my kids.  Constantly.

If they're at the park and are out of my sight for even a moment - my heart quickens.  Or out of my sight, hiding in shopping racks.  I have a mini panic attack.

I'm not the only one.

Just go to a playground. You'll see kids climbing up and down - and parents following the children around like shadows.  No more than 6 inches away from their kid at all times.

No one just lets their kids play anymore.  Free play.

We armor our kids with helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc.  Every safety feature or equipment on the market - we'll buy it.

We buy nanny cams.  We GPS track our kids.  We're crazed.

Somers says, "It's been suggested that parents' safety concerns escalated after events such as the Columbine High School shooting and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and they worry more about children being far from home and feel helpless to protect them."

Maybe 9/11 is the reason I haven't taken a vacation without my kids.  The thought of them being so far from both me and my husband at the same time - terrifies me.

Besides being a helicopter-ish parent (I won't admit to being full blown hover mode), I'm a liberal, I feel it's important to be authentic at all times, I love culture and community events.  I'm pretty spot on when it comes to profiling a post 9/11 kid.

The impacts are still being studied.

One impact - that I'm forever grateful for is that 9/11 did broaden my view of the world.  Remember how I said I didn't even know what the Middle East was before 9/11?  Now I do.

My kids are half.

Their blood comes from a country that is one of the most hated by Americans.  Their blood comes from a country rocked by constant turmoil.  In a post 9/11 world - they can't visit the country where their their family is from.  They might never set foot on soil - that so shapes the very culture of who they half are.  And if they ever do decide to take the risk, and travel to the Middle East, to see what they are and who they are - I'll be right there with them.  Facing all of my post 9/11 fears, and dare I say, helicoptering the whole journey.

Let 's NOT raise a bunch of Ray Rice's and Chris Brown's

Wednesday, September 10, 2014



And how about we don't raise a bunch of Rihanna's and Janay Rice's?

I'm talking about the parental role that is a major factor in whether your kid grows up to be a hitter and a stayer.

Let me set a very common scene on the playground for you.

My 2 girls are playing on the playground.  Climbing up stairs, sliding down slides, swinging on swings and chasing other kids in a game of hide and seek.

In come THA BOOOOYYYSSS.  And I'm using BOYS here, because I've never in my whole parent, playdate  life ever seen a girl hit or be aggressive towards my girls. Ever.

So, in come the boys.  They're playing superheroes - someone is pretend shooting the other - air kicks are thrown, complete with sound effects - hiiiiyyyaaaa!!!  BAM! pow pow powkkkkK!!!

Totally normal, boy, rough and tumble, superhero play.

Until....

One boy is trying to climb up to the slide platform, and pushes my little girl out of the way and slides down in front of her.  Another little boy pulls my other daughter from climbing ropes so that she falls.

What the fuuucckk?

I look around for the parents of these little fuckers.

They are doing one of two things.

Parent A is completely oblivious to the situation.  Either on the iPhone or chatting it up with other parents, paying no attention to their kids inflicting bodily harm.

Parent B sees the violence - and calls their kid over and says, "Johnny, if you do that again, we're going to have to go home. Okkkaaayyy?? Alright, go back and play nice."

Play nice bitch?

Your kid just almost gave my kid a concussion.

How about you take your fucking violent kid home NOW?  As in right NOW.  Show them right NOW that hitting, pushing, whatever is completely unacceptable.

Parents - telling your violently aggressive kids to not hit/push/kick again, does NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT qualify as dealing with the problem and/or discipline.

You have to deal with it right now.  Right when it happens.  And if that means your precious park playdate is ruined - so be it.  Your kid could be ruined.  Or worse, turn out to be a hitter.  Because the message you are sending them - is that it's essentially okay to hit.  You are not actively giving your kid the proper consequences.  

Take your kid home.  Remove your kid from the situation.  For your own kid's sake - and the safety of others.

Or wait, my favorite form of discipline for a 'hitting child' (besides the above lazy parenting), is to hit your child for hitting.  That's reeeeaallllyyy fucking smart.  You just told your kid NOT to hit, and his/her consequence is to get hit.  Think about that.  Clearly your 'hitting child' - is learning their bad behavior from YOU!  

Physical play is different than aggressive play.  Rough-housing, pretending to shoot guns and fight bad guys is completely normal.  Little boys getting mad, upset and and throwing tantrums is normal.  But acting out in a deliberately abusive manner is NOT normal.  And shouldn't be tolerated on any level.

My theory is that either Ray Rice saw possible abuse in his own childhood home, or he was violent as a boy - and never given consequences.  Either way, he's a monster, who thinks it's okay to hit girls and drag their unconscious bodies out of elevators.  He should be in jail for what he did to his fiance, now wife Janay Rice.

The numbers don't lie.  Women are the victims of abuse in disproportionate numbers in comparison to men.

According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Speaking of Janay Rice.  She stayed.  Now, I'm not going to sit here and judge her for that.  Anyone who has experienced abuse by a significant other - knows why she's staying with her abuser.

My story is not uncommon - I've been hit, pushed, threatened, manipulated and in some very near rape situations.  All by men.  Mostly, by one fucked up high school 'sweetheart'- the rest by other douchebags in college.  The feeling is the same - FEAR.  Terrified.  You are scared for your life.  If it's someone you actually fell in love with before the abuse started - then it's more than fear.  It's the love you have for that person.  It's the manipulative power the abuser has over you.  It's the disbelief/denial that the abuse is actually happening, like, I thought he loved me? Is he really hurting me?  It's the insecurities - Maybe that push/hit/smack wasn't really that bad, I mean, I don't have any marks?

The feelings get even more complicated when you are financially dependent on your abuser, have kids with your abuser, etc.

Your chances of being involved in these abusive situations is even higher if you've experienced abuse or witnessed abuse in your childhood.  By default anyone that is exposed to this type of violence in their childhood, especially in their own home - has no way of knowing what a healthy, loving relationship looks like...or feels like.

So, I know why Janay Rice married her abuser and is still with him.

I for one, am going to try everything in my power, to not raise a stayer.

My girls will hopefully never be in an abusive situation - but the numbers are sobering reminders that they probably will.

Let's go back to our playground scenario.  What do I DO, as the mother, of the child that is getting hit?  Do I just tell my kid to stay away from the 'hitting child'?

Ummm, no.  I actively parent.  I grab my kid, if they're not already crying on my lap - and tell them right then and there - that it's wrong to hit.  That we need to go home now because we need to keep ourselves safe and away from children who hit.  I don't send my child back to the playground for more abuse.  That would be telling them that a) I don't care that they just got abused and b) just suck it up.

There is nothing I can do to change or control the other child.  I can only control my situation and control what happens to my girls.  Yelling at the kid, or their parent would be pointless. 

When your kid is getting hurt repeatedly - be it at the playground, or at home by a sibling, by a family member, you remove your abused child from the situation and explain that it IS terrible.  You sit with your hurt kid and explain that anytime they feel abused or threatened, they need to get an adult or run for their life to a safe place.  (Obviously edit your wording based on the age of the child you are dealing with).

It's not dramatic.  

My reaction is not an over-reaction.  

I'm sick to death of it.  Not because of my own violent experiences.  Because of what I see - like I did with the Ray Rice or Rihanna/Chris Brown abuse.  Those could be my girls.  My girls getting punched in the face unconscious.  I could be watching a video of my girl getting laid out like an insignificant sack of bones.  My girl's picture splattered on every newscast- bruised, bloodied and deformed.  That could be my girl's life.

Abused people should not have to feel like they need to be quiet about their abuse, ashamed, apologetic, or polite.  They shouldn't feel like they're going to disrupt the peace.  They should feel heard, validated and empowered.

Let's actively parent our kids, not turn a blind eye when there is a critical learning moment and empower them to deal appropriately with their emotions.

Let's not raise hitters and stayers.  Let's raise lovers and leavers.




No Need to Bleed

Monday, September 8, 2014

The need to bleed is gone from me,
Mother Nature, please just let me be.

I have no reason to bleed,
I no longer want to breed.

I don't want anymore mouths to feed,
please, gawd, no more bleed!

It's true, when you bleed,
you get the seed,
and all you need,
is a mate to do the deed.

And when you don't bleed,
after the deed,
And you peed
Then you read,
the stick that says, take heed!
You are knocked up, indeed.

Now I want to bleed!
It is time to be freed!

In life, it's time for me to take the lead,
I need a career now, I decree!

The sweat is forming in a bead
So badly, I am in need of a bleed.
or, maybe just some good weed.

Ahhhh, in 2 days, it fleed, (whatever it's a poem I can use bad grammar if I want to)
I peed, and there was the bleed.

Phhheeewwweeeeee!

So, you see,
Mother Nature,
I beg of thee
I no longer need to bleed.
The need to bleed is gone from me.

An ode to all the muthas that are still getting their periods - and miserable because of it - that don't need to anymore - because they're done having children.

Here is some funny period humor to leave you with.




Carpool Ettiquette - A Refresher for the School Year

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


You're sitting in the car.  You arrived 5 minutes early because you have to bring the little cherubs to a doctor's appointment after school.

You follow the school carpool map instructions to a 'T'.  After all, you're a rule abiding gal.  Especially when it comes to school rules.  Safety first, you think to yourself.

You wind your way through the parking lot, into the designated line on a perfectly sunny day.

You turn the last corner and - BAM. 

Ten other cars are lined up before you.

(5 are minivans and the other 5 are SUVS).

 I mean, how early do these people get here to pick up their little brats?!  Do they have nothing else to do?  Maybe they're here early too - because they gotta skeddadle to the next kiddie crap.

Ugh, whatever.  I'll just grab my newspaper and wait here calmly....

Deep breath....

Sighhhhh.....AAHhhhhhhhhh.....

Look up.

There, staring me in the face - is the front end of some SUV that was not there 5 seconds ago.

Oh hhheeeeellll noooo... Noooo this bitch did nooott just stick the nose of her car right in front of mine - to cut me off!!!!!!!

I've been waiting in line - even arrived early so I wouldn't be rushed and this cunt of a carpool motherfucker just cut me off.


Sound familiar?

I can't tell you how much carpool infuriates me.  I will be in a perfectly happy mood - then carpool happens - and I'm totally fucking pissed.

I mean, I just had 4 zen hours in a row - without children.  And now I have to deal with adults that act like children.

The whole carpool thing - reminds me of church goers at the end of mass.  I'm a cradle Catholic after all, so I know a thing or two about church goers.

Everyone is soooooo nice as they pull into the church parking lot - ready to hear God's word.  They sit politely, sing joyously and are polite to everyone they know in the pews.  Peace be with you.

Except, when these church goers get into the parking lot to leave- they become Godless, Satanic savages.  Rushing off to brunch, or throw the ham in the oven, or get to the local bar to watch the football game.  They edge up to your car impolitely, they cut you off, they forget the 'this side goes, then this side goes' rule - and sometimes they actually beep.  It's a race to get outta there.

Same with carpool.

Below are my do's and don'ts of carpool.

Because next time you cut me off - I'm gonna slit your tires and rip off that stick figure family decal on your car.

Don't....

1. Cut off a car/person that was clearly in the carpool line way before you decided to roll in.

2. Inch closer and closer and closer up on my car.  It makes me uncomfortable.  And then I get mad.  For the record, I'm crazy, and don't care about cars - therefore, I will let you hit me.

3. Drive in the parking lot in a speed that's faster than 5 miles per hour.

4. Give me the hand gesture that says to me hey lady, can I go in front of you? *points repeatedly* Right here?  Yes, right here. Thank you soooo much. I really needed to get one car in front of you because my life and needs are way more important than yours ta-ta!

5. Park your car so close to my bumper that when I put my car in DRIVE from a PARK position, it rolls back a bit, and hits your front bumper.   That's too close bitch.

6. Talk to a teacher about so and so's art project for ten fucking minutes.  I got places to be - you're holding up the line!

7. Be on your cell phone.  Once the line gets moving - you will be distracted if you're on the phone (answering emails, texting, taking a phone call - whatever).  Get off your fucking phone.  You might accidentally run over a kid.

Do...

1. Be courteous.  You know.... if there is a merge - one car goes, then the other car.  Seems simple enough. Now do it.

2. Drive slow.  Why would you fly through any parking lot like a bat outta hell - let alone, a parking lot where there are high numbers of children?  You are an asshole if you go more than 5 miles per hour in a parking lot. Period.

3. Give me some room.

4. Follow directions.  The more people that follow the rules -the smoother the whole system works.  The faster I get my kids.

5. Pay attention. At All Times. Don't make me honk my horn, just so you move up in the line.

6. Remember your behavior.  Everything you do is on display to your kids every single day.  And even though - that sometimes sucks - especially when you're pissed off - try to model courteous behavior in the carpool line.  They're watching.  And truthfully, I don't want you raising a bunch of inconsiderate, asshole kids.  






Raising Girls in a World Full of Fucked Up Body Image Bullshit

Friday, August 29, 2014

If you know me, you know not to comment about my children's bodies.  It's a huge no-no in my book.

Like, not even, the seemingly harmless, "Look how loooonnngggg so and so's legs are."

And, "Aren't you a petite little thing?!"

Or, "She's built like a brick shit house, ain't she?"

Like, don't even.
This society is so fucked up when it comes to feeding the world perfect images of beauty.  And think of all the things we, women, get hung up on.

Race - too dark, too white.

Weight - too fat, too thin.

Age - too old.  There are so many prejudices against women who are above 40.  We need to stop idealizing the body of a woman in her young twenties.

Handicaps, scars, moles, stretch marks, varicose veins, hair (too thin, too thick, too curly, too straight, bald from chemo), Breasts (too big, too small), butt (too big, too small), thighs (do mine touch?), arms (do mine jiggle?)

I don't want that for my girls.

If my older daughter hears all of the time how slender and thin her legs are - maybe she'll think it's a good thing - and think only thin legs are desirable.  She'll think only thin legs are pretty.  Or, maybe it will go in the opposite direction.  She'll think thin legs are a bad thing.  Either way - it's an eating disorder waiting to happen.

I was inspired by 3 things to write this post.

First, a video series just posted to .Mic.  It's called The What's Underneath Project.

I encourage you to watch Melanie's video story.


This video of Melanie, is so real, so relatable and remarkable.  Melanie has a rare skin condition.  She talks about modeling and living fully and truthfully while feeling constantly judged on the outside for looking like a 'freak.'

Get your tissues ready.

The second reason I write this, is my sister.  She struggled growing up as the "chubby child."  I was the thin sister, she was the thick sister.

When we were kids, there were constant comments about the differences in our bodies.

One that sticks out, "Pork and Beaner."  My younger sister being the "pork", me being the "beaner" (string beans).

As innocent as it sounds, it was comments like that - made in jest, that impacted my sister in more ways than I will ever know.  She was mentally afflicted by these comments.

We sisters, ate the same damn thing for dinner every night.  My sister was the extremely active one - as opposed to me  - being the "couchie." There were NO differences in our diets as children.  It was simply genetics.

She made a conscious effort through her young teen years to diet.  Can you imagine, a 12 or 13 year old girl being consumed by dieting?  And if dieting is even the word for it.  She was not anorexic or bulimic by any medical definition or diagnosis.  However, there was an obsession with body image - that did impact her every day life.  The foods she ate, the amounts of physical activity were all controlled.

For reasons, I still, will never fully understand, my sister attempted suicide at age 17.  She tried to overdose on Ibuprofen.  I am beyond words and emotions grateful that she wasn't successful - and that she's still here today.  I know that body image was a huge part of her depression.  And I know, that body image, continues to haunt her (like most of the women I know) every, single day.

Some things that could've helped my sister were definitely lacking from my parents.  Mind you, not blaming my parents here.  A lot of what we know now about eating disorders was not readily available when we were kids.  But my point is - parents can play a huge role in the positive images they send their children today.

If you are serious about creating a positive body image environment for your child - check out this article, "How to Lose the 3D's: Dieting, Drive for Thinness, and Body Dissatisfaction."

Simple things - like mom, stop acting as if you are in a constant state of dieting.  Replace unhealthy obsessions of diet and exercise-  with healthy ones.  For example, mom, try not to go to the gym every single day to get your exercise - get outside with your kids - that counts as exercise!  Run with them in a stroller, play soccer with them, ride a bicycles together, do mommy and me yoga.  Doing more moderate and varied forms of exercise will actually teach your child that as long as your body is moving - you are healthy!

I do belong to a gym.  I want full disclosure here.  But I'm definitely not a religious, gym goer.  Maybe 3 times a week.  I crave blood pumping hard core exercise - just as much as  I crave a nice nature walk with my kids - or a swim in a local pool.

Read the above article - you'll be glad you did.  It was an eye opener to me as a parent who's trying to buck the body image bullshit bestowed upon our girls.

The last reason that I'm writing this blog post is my own insecurities.  I was not an insecure child or teenager like my sister.  But I was an insecure young adult.  I started obsessing about my weight when I graduated from college and started working in a professional setting.  I worked in TV - so naturally, I was surrounded by images of beauty constantly.

In my young twenties, I had to get laparoscopic surgery for Endometriosis.  It left five scars on my stomach.  All of which keloided.  Keloid scars - grow out, not in.  I tried everything to get rid of them - Mederma, scar make up and cortisone shots.  I hated wearing bikinis because of those scars.  I dodged sex with my husband because I was afraid he'd touch them and get grossed out.  Those scars plagued me.  It was exhausting trying to find ways to make them less noticeable, or cover them up completely.

Then came pregnancy.  I cringed every weigh in.  And why the fuck would anyone do that - when they are FUUCCCKKINNGGG pregnant?! Healthy women are supposed to gain healthy amounts of weight while they are growing a human being inside of them.  But I couldn't help it.  As I packed on the pregnancy pounds, I kept thinking about how utterly fat I looked.

Two c-sections later, the large scar across my abdomen also keloided.

So basically, my stomach looks like a butcher cut it up.

The cherry on top - was the diastasis recti (your abdominal muscles permanently separate from pregnancy  - and never go back) I developed.  Pilates and core work are great - and I do these exercises.  But you'd never be able to tell.  You'd never be able to see the hard work that goes into my sit ups.

I'll never achieve lower visible abdominal muscles.

Inevitably, I will always look 4 months pregnant in the wrong clothes.  Or 6 months if you catch me on my period.

Basically, me in a bikini sucks balls.  Me in form fitting dresses will never happen.  Me in shorts is uncomfortable.

I will struggle every day with my own body issues.  That's for sure.  It's hard to undo what the 80's and 90's Super Model Craze did to all of our psyches.

But I won't put that on my girls.  They may think princesses are pretty, and Barbie is beautiful.  Which is okay - in extremely small doses.   And I imagine I'll have about 10 Barbies in my house until they are tweens.  And my little one will have 20 princess dresses at her disposal.

But, I'm on a quest to build a body image beyond Barbie for my girls.  We eat when we're hungry.  We eat healthy foods to grow strong brains and muscles.  We exercise to build strong brains and muscles.  If that means blasting Katy Perry and dancing around the house for 15 minutes, or a 2 mile run - either one- so be it.

We go out for ice cream.

We won't spend a million hours on Facebook comparing our selfies to anyone else's selfie.  If you wanna hear about the fucked up things selfies are doing to children's perception of body image - read the BBC article entitled " 'Selfie' Body Image Warning Issued."

My kids will never hear me say, "I'm fat."  They'll never hear me call anyone else fat.

They will continue to see me celebrate and compliment men and women - of all different colors, shapes and sizes.

I will never comment on which child has thin legs, or chubby cheeks.

I will let a trained, professional doctor tell them and instruct them - if there is ever a medical concern about their weight.

And I will always be exposing them to the beauty beyond the bullshit - the kind of beauty that comes from being confident in whatever skin you're given, being healthy and being kind.

**This blog is dedicated to my sister, who is an amazing best friend, has the best stripper boobs I've ever seen and will be the most beautiful bride.

Have Our Kids Lost Summer ? It ain't Like it Yoostaa Be.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just imagine, kids gathering by the local swimming hole.  It's 1963, 90 some odd degrees, and kids were told by their parents, "Come back at supper time."

Until then, kids were left to make up their own play.  And this is how they did it.


Jumping, splashing, fishing.

When I was growing up in the 80's there was some shred of those times still left.  Except for the TV factor.  I mean, TV was my life as a tween and teenager.

But as a youngster, me and my sister were encouraged to go off with the neighborhood kids, and find our own fun.  Sometimes it was walking a trail to find a creek, or sometimes it was ruined building - that we'd pretend was our fortress.  Or sometimes, it was as simple as lying down on the grass, looking up at the clouds - and calling out what each cloud looked like.  A rabbit, a bear - a unicorn!

Other days, it was caterpillar collecting.

I have a very vivid memory of running through a summer rain at my grandmother's house, with all of my cousins, plucking dandelions out of the grass and making flower crowns.

So it's no surprise that the nostalgia is what draws me to Upstate New York every year.  Annnnddd, it's just too fucking hot in the South.

But when you become a parent in millennium, you see that "finding your own fun" doesn't really work.

I mean with Band Camp, Art Camp, Religious Camp, Dance Camp, Wizards and Warrior Camp, Young (very young) Business Camp (I shit you not), Sleep Away/Traditional Camp, etc.

And i-pads, i-touches, tv, texting, sexting, g-chatting, tweeting and insta-gramming.....

How can you compete with modern life? Modern summer?  Modern technology?

You immediately, feel like, oh my fucking GAAWWDDD, I forgot to sign up my kid for this shit -and now they're going to be utterly bored, and drive me fucking nuts.
Pleeaassee get me on the waiting list.  I know I didn't sign up by the deadline, but I just realized that my kids are going to go crazy without structured activities every day.

Likeeee---OMGIIIfuccckkkeeedddupppannndddmyyykiidddssswillllbeeeeTHEEEEonlykidsNOTatcammpppthisssummeerrr!!

Instead of just fucking playing - whatever that means in 2014, summer is now about how much your kid can be doing.  How many activities they can be involved in.  How many camps they can attend.  How many hours they'll be busy.

Excuse me if I sound like I'm 80 years old.  Lamenting of times passed - but I will dammit.  Because attention is owed to the fact that, we parents, are saying SAYANORA to summer.

Have we, as a society, completely lost summer?

I know everyone is super engaged in the all consuming internet.  But, I swear, I fear we've lost summer.

By summer, I mean free time, free play, FFREEEDDOOMMMMM.  Freedom filled with running, jumping, swimming and fucking up shit.

Lemme tell ya folks - I can't let go of summer.  Because I just had theeee most outstanding summer of my whole entire life this summer.  I decided that I wasn't going to give in to all the bullshit camps and classes for my kids - that are entirely over-priced anyway.  I was going to pave a new way.  The old school way - get back to my roots.

Now, I understand I am speaking from the standpoint of someone that does NOT have a 9 to 5 job.  I have to put that out there.  I have an extremely flexible professional life.

Which is why I took full advantage of it this summer.

The first half of the summer was filled with the typical summer camp activities - swim camp, gymnastics camp, art classes, etc.  Pretty structured.  But nothing over the top.

The second half is where we, as a family unit, truly and wholly reconnected through exploration and recreation.

I roadtripped it up to Upstate New York, and stayed with my family.  I stopped twice along the way - once to see my in-laws - the other time in po-dunk Virginia because I was traveling by myself with two kids - and I was fucking exhausted.

When we got to New York - there was a bit of planning.  I don't live in that much of a clusterfuck, rainbows and unicorns kinda life.

We planned excursions - camping, beach days, mini trips to nearby cities and Niagra Falls, etc.  And we had a great time during those "planned" fun days.  We were totally able to connect - and for the first time ever in my parent life -I felt, completely and utterly engaged.  And WANTED to be engaged.  Sharing great things - like picking sea shells, rocks, going for rides on my dad's jet ski, going on an impromptu zoo trip, and sharing the awe that is Niagra Falls.

Other "unplanned" days - consisted of days at nearby parks, picnics, chalk-drawing seshes on the driveway, pools, neighborhood walks - and skinny dips in the kiddie pool - located conveniently in my mother's back yard.  I'm talking 2 feet of water maybe.....with naked babies running in the yard.  That stupid pool made them happy for like 2 hours.

Just beeeeiiinggg with my kids.  Being in the moment.  Sadly, for the first time in a long time.  I mean, don't get me wrong - there are 5 minutes here, maybe 30 minutes to an hour there throughout the school year where we, as a family, connect.  But it's not consistent.  And I feel too often, I'm always saying to my kids, "Not now, mommy's busy."

Making phone calls.
Folding laundry.
Working.
Cooking dinner.
Paying bills.
Working.
Cleaning the house.
Grocery shopping.
Working.

Ettccc.....

And I always feel guilty.

I didn't feel one ounce of guilt this summer.  My kids had the most well-rounded summer - full of structured play, exploration, discovery and just plain 'ol fun.

I hope we never lose summer.  I hope we never lose sight of summer.  Summer is a time for recreation and connection.  Yes, not everyone is lucky enough to have as much recreation during the summer.  But taking time out for it - is a must.  We, as an i-attached society - still need to give our kids that non-camped, un-fussy, slightly unscheduled summer.

Free play is more valuable then you think.  Just because your kid isn't solving math problems and reading 10 novels- and learning leadership skills at business camp - doesn't mean he or she is not learning. They're nuturing a fundamental part of their brains and lives.  Just being.  In the moment - connecting with loved ones and nature.

"...And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday," - John Milton



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