Archive for the ‘family’ Category
Poor Rachel Canning didn’t like the rules at her parents house. So she moved out. Now she’s suing them for her college tuition to be paid in full. You know, because she’s a spoiled ass American Princess! [source]
I don’t even know where to begin…
Let’s start with the idea that parents owe their children a college education. This is patently false. And if you, as a parent, are putting yourself and your family in jeopardy putting anyone other than yourself through college, you are making a grave mistake. Your financial future is more important than your child’s education. They can earn the money, take out student loans, or figure out an alternate career. Yes, student loans are devil spawn, but they are better than you mortgaging your future for a someone else’s college degree.
Canning moved in with her best friend, whose father happens to be an attorney. I am assuming he influenced her in some way, since he is paying her legal bills. Does he need money so badly? Does he truly think that an adult child suing her parents for an education sets a good precedent?
Canning has exhibited nothing but sheer immaturity. It might seem like a grown up thing to sue someone, but it’s not. It’s a cowardly thing to do unless someone has been gravely injured. Frivolous lawsuits are why lawyer jokes are told. Frivolous lawsuits are why the courts are backlogged leaving real cases to molder.
This case demonstrates the inability of children to even grow up these days. No matter what the reasons (I blame parenting, by the way) kids no longer look at the age of 18 as the time to leave the nest and start their adult lives. They look at 18 when they might go to college or might get a job. But they aren’t invested in leaving the house and getting an apartment, finding a spouse, and starting their own lives.
Parents, every single time you treat your high school junior and senior like a baby, you chip away at their autonomy. If you solve every problem that they encounter, why should they learn? I’m guilty of this myself. But I’m learning!
I’m worried about this case. What if the judge decides Canning is owed a college education? What if he decides parenting doesn’t end at the age of 18? What does that mean for all of us?
Frankly, I don’t want to be parenting my 40 year old because he doesn’t want to find a job and stop playing his XBox. Do you?
Update: Yesterday the judge ruled against Canning for high school tuition, monthly support, and legal fees. However, the parents must keep her on their health insurance policy and the subject of college tuition will be addressed again in April. [source]
Last week an article went around about a nine year old girl who was being bullied about her weight at school. Her peers would yell “how do you fit into pants?” and other charming things. The solution? She would post her before photos on a website and start dieting and working out to become worthy of their praise.
Another article reports an overweight high school student becoming the school’s “healthy project.” How? Everyone in the school is “encouraging” him to eat better and to exercise. Some think that the original bullying he suffered was a good thing because it has motivated him.
Stop right there.
Every single fat person you talk to who was fat as a child was bullied. We all suffered similar taunts as we walked the halls of our schools, played on the playground, and lived with our families. For me, it was walking through my high school every single day with the boys yelling, “Sue-ey” every damn time. I learned at an early age that complaining accomplished nothing because…well, I dared to be fat. No one should have to live like that.
Listen, Mom, the problem isn’t with your fat child. The problem isn’t with your parenting.
As a mother, I know how guilt-wracking parenting is. We stress 24-hours a day about doing it right, doing it as good as the lady down the street, and creating children who will amount to something. Every single thing our children do reflects on us. Unfortunately, in our modern times, being fat is the worst thing you can be. And some of you are feeling the guilt of having a fat child.
Stop right there.
I’m not going to repeat the research here. Go research Health At Every Size, and see the statistics on dieting, weight loss, and regaining. See how overweight people can still be healthy when they eat healthy and get exercise. Learn about eating disorders and how girls and boys are being treated for them at earlier ages than ever before. Learn about the $65 billion diet industry in our country.
But please understand that the problem is not you. The mean kids are the real problem here, the bullies themselves. They are the ones who need to change.
Who in the hell gave these little monsters the right to terrorize your kids at school or on the streets? Who made them better than your kid? Who made them decide to make your child’s life miserable because of they way they look?
I say their own bad parenting did it…and that’s what you have to remember.
Honestly, no one knows why your child is fat. There are so many reasons up for grabs. You can only control some of them. You can–up to a certain point–provide healthy food and encourage exercise. The rest is genetics, environment, economics…lots of things many of us don’t have as much control over as we would like.
What can be changed are the children who are bullying your child. They can learn to control their behavior and learn that bullying is not allowed. Ever. For anything. Their parents can feel the guilt of having raised children who are mean and ill-spirited.
Schools need to intervene for weight bullying as much as they do for other forms. However, from my experience, the bullying interventions at my sons’ schools has been hit and miss. I don’t have a lot of faith that there are consistent policies in place for any of our kids. That’s why parents need to be involved and in the school’s face. Also, the schools need to face their own stigmas against the overweight.
I know it’s difficult because of the stigma on being fat in America. If you take away nothing from the weight discussion, at least consider the research on yo-yo dieting that shows that while people might initially lose weight on a diet, the majority (around 95%!) inevitably gain it all back, plus some more! This happens every time you diet. Don’t let your child start dieting and stop the cycle in the beginning.
Ask yourself: Would you let your child be bullied for a lisp? For wearing glasses? For being handicapped? Of course not!
So be your child’s hero and step in. Fight the fight for them. Understand that letting kids be bullied–and putting the responsibility for this wrong on their shoulders–is misplaced. Your child has one body. Don’t make her hate it. Make her love it as much as you love her.
Give the bullies hell.
I got a snippy comment about the posts I make about race here and on Facebook.
The commenter wanted to know why I am so concerned about black people when I am white. First of all, I care about all people. I don’t need to be concerned about a person’s skin color to want them to be treated fairly. The same way I don’t care about religion or sexual preference or any other things people choose to do with their lives.
But I wonder if the commenter bothered to look at my pictures to see that all my kids are black?
See, when I adopted my kids, part of me became black.
I don’t even know if that’s politically correct to say or think. Maybe I am offending black people even writing this. But it’s how I felt and how I feel.
My kids have no color to me. They are my kids. I would do anything in the world for them. But I knew the minute they entered my home, my neighborhood, the school, the community, that they were different and people treated them differently than they treated white people. I made it my business and my primary job to never let it be in a negative manner.
I also made it my job to learn about what it’s like being black in America as much as I can by reading and learning. I try to teach my kids about their heritage. I instill pride in the people who made their lives what they are today.
Luckily, we don’t encounter much racism locally. The funny looks we attracted when we first moved to town have evolved into the comments any family gets: “They’ve all grown up!” “Remember when he was a little boy!”
But I see a lot of things in social media that disturb me. Off-color jokes. Assumptions made about a person’s character because of the color of their skin. Conclusions about parenting because of skin color. Welfare status because of skin color.
We have a long way to go. And I will continue posting about race until we get there.
Because I am a mom. I am not a color. And I am.
Last week I didn’t feel well and must have watched more television than usual because I tweeted about a lot of commercials. Mostly that I hated them. I even managed to get one changed. Well, I’m sure it was me and the other million people that also tweeted the company about the bad bad commercial. Still, I got a response tweet and I like that. Means they’re listening to their customers.
However, there’s a trend in commercials that alarms me. I didn’t tweet about any of these because the commercials themselves aren’t bad…
Why the hell are commercials encouraging children to be outrageously messy, while their parents and grandparents stand idly by beaming, waiting to clean up the mess?!
What world do these people live in?
Maybe I am the worst mom in the world, but I encourage my kids to be clean kids. I don’t want extra mess.
- You wipe your feet at the door. Take off your shoes.
- Put your plates and cups in the sink when you’re done eating.
- No eating anywhere but the kitchen.
My son never used his potty chair and then ran through the house sloshing his pee all over the floor…
My son never wore his beloved blanky outside, dragging it through the mud while Gramma shook her head lovingly. Gramma would have told him to leave the damn blanket in the house where it belonged because it was getting dirty.
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t always follow the rules. And there was a Facebook discussion over the weekend about things my boys have destroyed in the house. (Beds don’t last long in KlineLand!) But they were certainly not encouraged to destroy things!
My advice: turn off the television and don’t let your kids watch those commercials before they get any bad ideas! They don’t need someone planting the seeds of messiness in their young, impressionable minds! Stop the madness!
PS I really want to complain about the paper towel commercial with the female hockey player spilling on the counter tops, leaving her mom to wipe it up. But the twins destroyed my house–floor thresholds–with their discus and shotput practice indoors. Incredibly, spinning on said thresholds breaks them…maybe the laminate people want to do a commercial here…because the floors are lovely…
For me, some the hardest parts of Body Positive Parenting have been dealing with outside influences. At home, I can control lots of things. I can control the messages. I can control the food. I can set the mood. But once my kids walk out the door, everything is out of my control.
Unfortunately, not every person our children will encounter will foster the same Body Positive image/atmosphere we are. They will use diet terms, suggest diets, reward with food, and do their unintentional best to derail all the hard work we have done at home.
Don’t give up, though, because we can get through this! As long as we are consistent with our message at home, it will begin to sink in and will be there in the back of our sons’ and daughters’ minds when they hear something different. If nothing else, it will make them ask questions, which is always a good thing.
This is a time to pick your battles. When I hear that they are learning the calories in/calories out formula for weight loss in Health class, I spend time explaining how that doesn’t work because bodies aren’t combustion engines and everyone is different. It was a good conversation to have at home, but I didn’t feel the need to contact the teacher.
However, when a teacher said something about it being good that my son was trying to lose weight, I took the time to explain Health At Every Size. I don’t know if it changed her behavior but I hope it gave her another perspective.
Like anything else we teach our children at home, our kids will carry with them the messages they hear regularly and see practiced at home. If we continue using the Body Positive message for ourselves, our friends, our family, and our children, it will sink in eventually. This is something we want them to carry throughout life. It’s not a fad or a flash…it’s a lifestyle.
It’s one thing to tell yourself you’re going to be body positive, quite another not to fall back into your old patterns of policing your own and other peoples’ bodies. It’s not easy changing a life-time of behavior!
Especially as women, we’ve been programmed practically from birth to be hyper aware of how the women around us look and dress. Don’t believe me? What dominated the “news” Monday morning following the Grammy awards? Yup, all the discussion about best and worst dressed. Fashion flubs. Hair disasters. Watch and hear enough of these discussions and it’s easy to make the transition to your own life and to the people you see around you.
Parenting adds another layer of difficulty because we say the right things most of the time, but don’t always do them. Have you ever told your children not to swear, then let loose in traffic? I know I’m not the only one. Or lecture your kids about the importance of eating a healthy diet as they watch you drink a diet soda for breakfast every morning?
Children want to emulate their parents. We’re their models for how to be all grown up. So they “catch” our good actions and our bad actions.
Do you want your kids moaning every time they see themselves in the mirror? I’m so fat! I’m so ugly! I’m so old! When did this happen??
Do you want them tearing through the clothes in their closets, swearing nothing fits and they have nothing to wear?
Do you want them looking at a classmate and whispering, “No one over a size 2 should ever wear leggings?”
That’s where our self-policing comes into play. We need to be aware of the messages about body image that we are sending to our children through our own words and actions. Not only will it help their mental and physical health, but it will do us a world of good also.
Keep practicing being body positive. It isn’t something you do for three or four days and have mastered. There will be days you slip up. Forgive yourself and start back up. Find things to compliment in other people. Whether you do it to them personally or not, you’ll still instill a change away from the critic that’s been living within.
Compliment your children on their actions and behaviors, not on their appearance. It’s all to easy to fawn over pretty little girls, but should that be the only thing we notice? Aren’t pretty little girls also artistic, smart, athletic little girls? I use girls as reference because I don’t thing boys get the same reactions.
All of our children deserve to know that they are so much more than their looks. They are all incredible beings who have a lot to offer to society. Just like the people who are raising them. Let’s give everyone a break and appreciate what we have and what we are today…perfect just as we are.
Thinking about being body positive can be daunting after living your life being body negative. After all, hating our bodies is the way women bond with one another. It’s an unwritten rule from the sandbox on that girls don’t declare themselves fabulous without getting called names and developing a reputation for being bitchy or stuck up or…whatever. When the few girls do break from the pack and dare to be fabulous, the rest of us sit back and watch in awe. But we’re not inspired to follow along and be fabulous ourselves. No, we’re busy comparing ourselves to their fabulousness, finding ourselves different, and therefore nowhere near fabulous.
The first step toward being body positive is to grab a notebook and a pen. We’re going to be making some notes. Start by writing down all the things your body does each and every day. (For example, my body, laughs, loves, breathes, digests, talks, types, etc.) There’s no magic number; start writing until you can’t think of any more.
Already you have quite a list of wonderful things your body does. It’s an incredible efficient machine that takes food in to create energy to fuel your life. It feels emotions and shares them too.
But your problems with body image aren’t coming from bodily functions, but bodily appearance. The number one thing standing in the way of you loving your body is the media. There are endless articles and videos showing us how models are manipulated to fit the advertising world’s ideal image of Woman. It’s so drastic that many models are not recognizable on the street. If you’re so inspired, throw away the magazines and stop watching commercials.
Commercials are also notorious for promising the impossible. Yes, lipstick and makeup make us feel pretty. But they aren’t going to change our lives. And we aren’t obligated to wear it. The right shampoo or whiter teeth won’t automatically whisk Mr. or Miss Right into your life. That diet aid probably isn’t going to work.
Recently I saw an interview with Jeanette DePatie (aka The Fat Chick) who said everyone should spend part of the day naked. Yes! Whenever you feel comfortable–before or after your next shower or bath maybe–spend some time in your room sans clothes. Lay on your bed. Read a book. Stand in front of your mirror and look at yourself. Really look at yourself.
Personally, I can go days and days without actually seeing myself in the mirror. And this is after doing my hair and makeup! We become invisible to ourselves after time and we need to re-open our eyes. We need to see our wonderfulness!
Chances are you will be uncomfortable at first. That’s normal. But the more you do it, the easier it will become. So get naked every day! Look at yourself in the mirror. Check yourself out. Find a body part or two or three or more you really like. Give yourself a catcall. You deserve it.
We had a debate on Facebook Friday night about vaccinations. It was started when I posted something about Jenny McCarthy who has been the anti-vaccine queen, blaming her son’s autism on his vaccines for years. In fact, she has been so vocal in her belief that the vaccines caused autism that some have called her a public menace. Moms believe other moms and have taken her beliefs to heart, even when science hasn’t always supported her theories.
Then the discussion grew into an even broader one wondering why someone would take medical advice from an actress. What makes Jenny McCarthy an expert, other than the fact that she is a mother and she is famous? Is that all it takes for moms to be swayed?
Unfortunately, we are treated to hours and hours of reality television each week. Unfortunately, not everyone is like me and chooses not to partake in this cultural phenomenon. I’ve been reality tv free for years now. With the exception of true crime television, which is getting old because there are only so many sensational murders to reenact, but that’s another blog post.
Somehow the “stars” of these reality television shows have become big business, cultural icons, and role models for people in our country. We only need to consider the social war waged over Phil Richardson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch, at the end of last year. While unemployment benefits were being cut for our real life friends and neighbors, and retirement benefits were being cut for veterans, we were fighting about this man’s distasteful words. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I would wonder if this was a way to truly draw our attention away from the important things.
Every day I scour the news. I am appalled at what I find. I don’t care about Jennifer Aniston’s latest haircut. Or Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie that “accidentally” got leaked. Or who wore it best.
I do care that women are being taxed for being women and no one seems to care.
I care that we send young men and women off to war and then bring them home and can’t give them jobs and support them and their families.
I care that we have come up with a decent workable healthcare system and still, this morning, Mitch McConnell stood up and tried to hold unemployment benefits hostage trying to get it delayed yet again.
I care that we cut abortion, birth control, food stamps, and other support systems, while smiling and saying we’re profamily, prochild, Christian people.
I care that the rich people in our country buy legislation to suit their needs and their pocketbooks and no one stops them.
What I wonder is when other people are going to start caring? Does Uncle Si care? Justin Bieber Care? Kim Kardashian? Sarah Palin? No, no they don’t. They are concerned about their own pocketbooks and that is all. Their bottom lines are what they work for each and every day. Remember that the next time you ooh and aah over how wonderful Snooki is or any Real Housewife. They aren’t real.
The people around you are real. And they are getting screwed by your government each and every day. Except you aren’t paying attention…
Being Body Positive means embracing the body you have right now, Today, instead of waiting around for the body you dream about or might have Some Day. You know, Some Day after you diet or exercise or eat all the vegetables or all the reconstituted diet shakes and meals and attend all the meetings and count all the points. It is appreciating the body you spend all of your time with ToDay.
You might be thinking, “Why should I love this body? It’s fat/scarred/big/the wrong color/the wrong height/and on and on and on…” And you’re probably also thinking, “I can’t love my body because no one else loves theirs and people will think I’m weird and that there’s something wrong with me.”
Let’s talk about the second part first. The only reason why people hate themselves so much these days is because advertisers tell us we should. Do you watch television? Have you ever seen a commercial tell you that you’re wonderful just the way you are, stay home, and don’t use their product? Of course not! They have something they need to sell you! Somehow marketing people have decided that the best way to sell us things is by making us feeling lousy so that their product will make us feel better. It’s twisted, but that’s how our minds work.
We could turn off our televisions, throw out our magazines, ignore the side ads on our web browsers. Or we can tell ourselves that these people do not have our best interests at heart. They make their money making us feel bad. What would happen if people started loving themselves despite what the marketing world feeds us? Madness, I tell you! Madness!
Bottom line is we are all feeling bad about ourselves for artificial reasons. Those Victoria’s Secret models that make us all feel inadequate? Even they feel inadequate. It’s a mean vicious circle.
Now for the big one, Why should you love your body? Why the hell shouldn’t you love your body?! Are you reading this? Big score right there! Maybe you’re listening to this? Another score! Those are two major organs working for you. Breathing? Third organ! Hat trick!
Fingers that type? Legs that walk? Arms that hug? Lips that kiss? A mouth that tastes chocolate? A stomach that digests that chocolate? Or the carrots?
A great way to start being Body Positive is to start focusing on what your body does or is, rather than on what it isn’t. This won’t happen overnight. But with a little work, it can happen. In part two of this series, we’ll talk about actually getting more Body Positive with some concrete exercises.
I’ve been pondering the path of Motherhoot in the new year. I hear over and over again that blogs need a niche. But what is a niche but a hole…a boring hole where you do the same thing over and over again. I am a little too glittery to spend time in one hole, so I decided against a niche. I guess that means things are staying the same. I’ll continue being all over the place.
I want Motherhoot to be a place where you can come for information. You can find out about a good book, a new author, a really bad idea, a bad politician, a stupid television show, or something else that needs your attention.
I’ve never hidden the fact that I am a liberal Democrat. But I don’t want to scare away people of other political persuasions. Most importantly, I want to make sure that women and children get taken care of in our political arena. Frankly, that hasn’t been happening in recent years and that pisses me off. That’s where I will be very vocal and if you don’t agree with me, you aren’t going to be very happy.
I also will do what I can to ensure that our country remains religion-neutral. Because your religion is not my religion. And your god shouldn’t be the one guiding my politicians, influencing laws and policies, or anything of value in our country. No one should ever forget that our country was created on religious freedom. Our founding fathers fled religious persecution and meant for our citizens to never face that. Again, I’ll be pointing out when this is happening. Since it happens a lot, it will make you mad if you disagree.
I want equality for all people. No more them versus us. I’m tired of who someone loves being a reason to fight. I’m tired of our closed bedrooms being open arenas for nosy old men. I’m tired of separate rules for the politicians and the people they serve.
Even if you get mad and disagree, I hope you feel comfortable enough to tell me. Let’s have a dialog. We can be respectful. We can be polite. We can support each other even when we disagree.
Here’s to a grand 2014! Peace, love, and laughter!