You’re welcome for that little ear worm…
I might be opening up a can of worms with this one, but it’s something that’s been bugging me a while. So a while back I ran across this gossip article featuring a handful of stars discussing when they lost their virginity – because frankly I’ll follow nearly any link on Twitter – I once got totally derailed for an entire afternoon looking at celebrity tattoos, something I’m not really that interested in (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog). Okay so I found this blog bothersome. Not only is it disturbing for me to think of my own kids losing their virginity at the tender ages of 11 or 12, but I had to wonder if it wasn’t completely irresponsible for these stars to proclaim their ages.
My main concern is that these people are often looked up to, especially by our impressionable youth. So let’s say your son really digs Matthew Fox cause you know he was awesome in We Are Marshall, but your boy comes across the article where Matthew proclaims that he lost his v-card at 11. What is your son to think? I’m also bothered because why do we need to know these intimate personal details of movie stars. Granted I’m a total hollywood gossip junkie, I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t check People.com. Still some details seem too personal.
Perhaps I’m sensitive about some of this because of my girls’ pasts. I remember one day in particular while we were waiting outside of family court for one of the hearings regarding the parental rights – there were two other women sitting next to me on the bench and they were talking about their kids. They were on the other side of the court system (parents fighting to get their kids out of foster-care) and at some point one of them says that she had six kids and that she actually found out she was pregnant with her first when she was 11. I was heartbroken, for her, for her children. So I guess in part, I’m coming to this discussion from that angle.
In any case, my question for y’all is two-fold, do you think it’s irresponsible for famous people to declare such things to the media knowing that a child could take it to heart? Also, how early is too early? Both to lose your virginity and when to talk about such things to your children?
Dear mom I saw at the grocery store:
I saw you there in the cold section, I was picking up yogurt for my family and you were there with your three kids – 2 in the cart and one walking beside you. Your little ones were what people affectionately call chubby, but I want you to know that cute chubbiness is going to change and what happens from there will shape your children’s lives. Your little girl, walking beside the cart, I’m guessing she was 7 or 8 and I’m sure everyone still teases her about her “baby fat” but those eating habits she has right now, they’re only going to get worse.
You see, I was that little girl the one with the baby fat. But once you hit Jr. High, no one calls it baby fat anymore. But then it’s just fat and people will still comment on it. There will be that boy who somehow gets a hold of her yearbook and writes in it cruelly, “save the whales, harpoon the fat chicks.” And there will be that girl who points and tells her that fat girls shouldn’t wear mini skirts. There will be the boy she has a crush on, the one who never looks her way and she’ll go home sad and only get sadder. And bigger.
Mom, know now that you are the one capable of changing her eating habits, of teaching her about healthy choices, fruits and vegetable and no, that doesn’t include french fries. Know that every time you offer her a candy bar or an ice cream cone when she’s sad, that only teaches her to continue to reach for those when she needs some comfort. Know that if you don’t fix it, she will have to, someday when she’s ready, if she’s ready, but that the burden of those extra pounds will cause her health problems and emotional damage that she’ll live with forever.
Mom, I know you love those kids, I could see it on your face, but I glanced in your grocery cart and honestly I don’t mean to judge, but please be careful with those choices for your babies. I know they’re kids, I know they should be able to eat fun “kid food” chips and cookies and every sugary thing in between. But they’re kids and they’ll love fruit if you give it to them, it’s sweet and natural and yes, it can be more expensive, but there is always some fruit in season or there’s frozen fruit. There are ways to do it. And you can do it!
Your window of opportunity is small, eventually this blame will leave you and fall to her. It will be her choices, those things she puts in her mouth. But right now, while she’s still little, you can help shape her view of food and her body and her health. Right now, you still have time…
That’s what I want to tell them, every time I see moms with “chubby” kids. It hurts me. I ache for those children because I know, first hand, how horribly cruel kids can be and it only gets worse as you grow up. I hope that letter doesn’t make it sound like I blame my own mom because I most certainly do not. Things were different when I was growing up, no one knew much about nutrition in the way that we all know now. Convenience was king and still is to some degree, but we’re having a bit of a renaissance where people are getting back to growing their own food and infusing their daily food intake with more whole foods, grains, veggies and the like. We know more now. And for right now while we prepare our kids food, it is our responsibility to teach them about healthy eating. Of course that doesn’t take into consideration the picky eaters…but that is for another blog.
So do y’all ever pass someone you don’t know and want to say something to them – whether good or bad? I mean sometimes I see that frazzled mom at the store and I just want to go up to her and tell her she’s doing a great job. What do you think about the epidemic facing our kids today with the unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles?
Pretty much everyone I know has a smart phone. I mean even my parents have iPhones (though granted they don’t utilize them for much more than phones). And I’m always on the lookout for a great app that can entertain me, organize me or make things more functional. So without further ado, here are my current five favorite apps (in no specific order).
1. Fitbit – I love that I can check my steps no matter where I am and that I can check in with my fitbit buddies because I do have that competitive nature. I also love that I can use the app to set silent alarms to remind me to get up and move around.
2. MapMyWalk – While were already talking fitness related apps, this is my most recent app love. I’ve been using it since January and it’s so nice. It maps my walk (duh!), syncs to Facebook and even lets me listen to my jams while I walk. There are some features that I haven’t used yet so it’ll be interesting to see what other goodies I discover.
3. Pinterest – I know I’ve mentioned on here (probably more than once) how much I adore Pinterest. It’s totally my favorite social media outlet. I collect research for my books here, recipes for my family and things that make
me chuckle. And being able to poke around on Pinterest while I’m out and about is so convenient if I’m at the store and I get a hankering to try a new recipe.
4. IMDB – I mean really, this is like the most useful website/app ever! Well, for me anyways. Maybe no one else is interested in weird movie trivia or when you have to prove to your husband you were right when he asked “Where have I seen that actor before?” and you tell him some obscure episode of CSI.
5. Kindle – I can’t have a favorite app list without my kindle on it. If I don’t have my actual kindle with me, no problem, I still have all my books right at my fingertips. Can’t beat that!
So how about you? What are your favorite apps?
You’ve probably heard of the Myers-Brigg personality assessment. If you’re a writer, I know you have. In any case there are 16 types and you can take a test, there are a slew of online ones and they tell you about your personality type. It’s just components, certainly not all inclusive. Now I say as a writer I know you’ve heard about it because us writers are pros when it comes to personality tests and we’re on a first-name basis with all our baggage. For example, I know I’m a total control-freak (also very common among writers, well and moms), I’m reluctant to try new things because I’m not sure I’ll be able to do them right (AKA perfectionist), I have serious body-image issues, and I’m bossy as hell (is that the same thing as being a control freak?)
One of the other things I know about myself, and to bring us back to the subject matter and the Myers-Brigg assessment is that I am an introvert. Now I don’t know if there are levels of introverts, but if there are, I’d think I was a Class 4 (on a scale from 1-5), nearly as introverted as one can get. This doesn’t mean I can’t function socially, but I do need my space. Which brings us to the problem with being an introverted mom. Okay so there’s probably not just one problem, but there is a significant one.
There are days when I wake up and though I might not recognize it immediately, it is a day when I need to be alone. Not simply because I need to recharge, but because if I’m around other people I tend to get snippy. I’m not in the mood to talk. At all. I just want to be inside my head and have quiet. These are the days when I’m the worst sort of mom. Most of the time I won’t even notice it until mid-afternoon and I realize I’ve been grumpy with my girls all day. I’ll try to stop and reassess the situation, think of ways I can either (a) be more patient or (b) occupy them without having to engage too much. It’s not that I want to ignore them, but as an introvert, I crave, I need, alone, quiet time in order to function properly. And sleeping doesn’t count. I need awake time to be quiet and alone.
It’s not so much that I don’t like people (though there are days…) it really just has to do with my energy level. The stuff I need to be the best me, that stuff only gets refilled during those alone moments. They’re few and far between these days. And this week, which marks the third year we’ve had our girls, I’m so thankful for my children and the family we’ve become. But I also believing knowing this about myself and taking action to make sure they aren’t the butt of my grumps, makes me a better mom.
So how about you? Do you know where you are on the spectrum? Do you think your personality brings challenges to your parenting or to any of your other relationships?
In the writing world we all know that “the call” is when an editor calls you and offers to buy your book. Getting that first call is exhilarating and scary and a myriad of other emotions. For many of us it’s a long time coming. For me, personally, I waited 7 years and in those years wrote 5 manuscripts before that first book sold (Courting Claudia) In any case it’s about as exciting a phone call as you can ever receive. But I’ve received a different kind of phone call. It was nearly 4 years ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately as I’m preparing to speak to a group of moms soon about my experience with foster-care adoption.
The Professor and I had been through classes and all the licensing rigamarole you must go through in order to be approved as foster-to-adopt parents. Our social worker (for lack of a better thing to call her) had been in touch with me several times, presenting kiddo options. We’d said no to a few due to some issues we felt we weren’t prepared to handle and some we said yes to. Basically when you say yes they submit your home study and then a handful of people read through that and make a decision based on that. But back to the story…so our social worker called me to tell me about these two little girls and did I want to submit our home study. Well, The Professor was actually in class, but I didn’t need to consult with him, it seemed a reasonable enough situation to say yes to.
And then the waiting began. I knew we would be working on a fast time line because the girls’ social worker wanted them placed like two weeks later. So we waited for what seemed like FOREVER and then we got THE CALL. Selling a book was damn exciting, but getting this call was way cooler. We were picked to be the girls’ parents. Of course we had some issues to deal with over the ensuing months (that’s another blog) but they would be ours. And we had exactly 7 days to get ready. Now most of you get a good 9 months to plan and prep for a baby. We had to plan and prep for a baby and a toddler in just a week. I didn’t get a shower, but plenty of my friends gave me gifts and hand-me-downs to help get me set-up (including my fellow Jaunty sisters!) Much shopping ensued and we were ready when they got here. Okay, let me rephrase that, their room was ready, there was really no readiness (emotionally speaking) for us (but again, that’s another blog).
Tell me, how did you plan for your little ones? I’ll pick two commenters to win my first book, Courting Claudia. You can pick whether you get a ebook or paperback.