Archive for April 2012

Me & Liz

April 30, 2012
Elizabeth Warren is running for senate against Scott Brown in Massachusetts. I support Eilzabeth Warren because she is pro-family, pro-woman and pro-99 percent. She stands up against corporate america for the common person. Elizabeth Warren will do what's best for working families and women in the commonwealth of massachusetts. She did chores as a kid and worked at jobs starting at age 9.

Meeting Elizabeth Warren at a campaign event in Harvard, Mass. on Sunday, April 30. She is articulate, dedicated and savvy.

We parents need to think “big picture” about what we want our children to become, and what kind of country we want them to live in. Elizabeth Warren, candidate for U.S. Senate, is a good role model for our kids. I heard Elizabeth speak to about 100 people yesterday in Harvard, Mass.

Elizabeth talked about when her father had to quit work because of a heart attack when she was 12, and how the most common cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is debt for health care expenses. Elizabeth Warren’s first  paid job was babysitting at age 9, and waiting tables at age 13. Her mother went to work answering phones at Sears after her father’s health problems. They gave up the family car and almost lost their house.

What most impressed me was her story as chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Everyone in D.C. told her the agency was necessary to prevent another economic collapse because of corporate greed. Next, everyone in D.C. told her she couldn’t beat the banking lobby and to give up. Elizabeth rallied grassroots support, and demanded Congress take a vote on the issue, instead of approving it anonymously [I don’t totally understand machinations of Congress]. She  won — and TIME magazine called her the “New Sheriff of Wall  Street.”

Elizabeth said the next war America fights should NOT be put on credit for our kids to pay off.

I want this kind of representative in Congress, who cares about families, children an education; will challenge big business lobbyists (who own Congress); and who supports health care reform. She is a state university graduate and will keep public education affordable. My four kids are UMass graduates, and I graduated from a state university.

Set an example for your kids — VOTE. Talk about politics and world affairs at the dinner table as soon as your kids can comprehend it. Take them to the polls when you vote. Encourage them to register to vote as soon as they’re 18, and to make voting a habit. Voting is like a hobby in Massachusetts because it happens so often. Remember to vote for Elizabeth Warren in November, and spread the word.

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Kids resiliency will surprise us

April 23, 2012
kids learn resiliency from all kinds of situations, even in divorce, single parents, single mom, single mothers. children of all ages will survive whatever their childhood delivers

Learning how to get along on the playground is fundamental to resiliency.

I know a 10-year-old only child of estranged parents constantly in court over who gets to see the child when.One parent always wants more time, rigidity and control, and drags the other parent and pricey lawyers to court. It’s a sad difficult situation. I can’t wait to see what this develops in the child, alias “Morgan,” who is surrounded by doting adults — mother, father, step-father, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Daily, Morgan gets to wrangle with adults who deliver conflicting, true, false, tempting and misleading information. In ten years, Morgan has been exposed to a plethora of people, situations and family constellations.

I predict Morgan will develop discernment and powerful instincts for people, truth and trustworthiness. Morgan may become a psychologist, lawyer, or CEO with leadership skills because s/he will know how to get people to do what s/he wants — which is the art of management and leadership.

In short, no matter what we do to our kids, they are resilient and something positive may emerge from our mistakes and difficult situations.

I know a young person who grew up living in public housing with one parent hooked on drugs. This person has sworn to never be without money as an adult. That experience created a powerful motivation, work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.

No matter how we mess up our kids, and it’s guaranteed that we will mess up because there are no perfect parents, most of them survive and thrive. Moms and dads have a propensity towards worry and guilt, which is good. We should worry about what we do and constantly improve how we manage and nurture our kids. Worry and guilt are triple if your child is adopted, has a learning disability or some other handicap, or if you’re a single parent. All of these obstacles are learning opportunities.

When they leave home and find their own path, it’s amazing to see how seeds and weeds planted during childhood grow beautiful sometimes unexpected flowers.

‘You’re fine just the way you are’ & other gifts from Mom

April 16, 2012
on mother's day, the best thing a mother can do for a daughter is to accept her, as she is, without offering improvements and criticism about body image. Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders affect tweens, teens, children, teenagers and adolescents.

The four girls in 1961. Do you like the bobbles on my hat?

One of the most precious gifts my mother gave me and my three sisters was this simple statement: “You’re fine just how you are.” She shopped with me for size 11-and-a-half shoes, 36DD bras, and shirts with extra long sleeves to fit my generous frame. NEVER did she comment or show any negative body language towards my solid foundation, curves and useful long arms.

When my three sisters or I complained about a less-than-perfect body part, Mom shrugged it off, emphasized good posture, Stomach in, head up, shoulder back, and of course, looked us straight in the eye and said in a kind sincere voice, “You’re just fine the way you are.” She convinced me that I am indeed, just fine the way I am.

body image and anorexia, bulimia and other body-issues plague girls and women today. mothers on Mother's Day can do well to say, YOu're just fine the way you are. MOther-daughter relationships can be built on a solid foundation of acceptance. we are not barbie dolls

Mom with her four daughters. I'm the youngest, bottom right.

I still feel fine, and found a man named Bob who thinks my extra-large curves, feet and arms are just fine. After carrying three 10-pound babies, (and one 8 pounds 11 ounces) stretch marks covered my belly. Bob calls those marks of motherhood fire because they emanate from my pubis and resemble a fire, the fire of life. Bob’s and Mom’s total acceptance of me bring tears to my eyes.Apparently, I’m lucky. My son Ian and other young people warn me, “Most young women have body issues.” He’s right. Eating disorders are epidemic among girls, teens and young adults.

Contrast the total acceptance Mom gave us with the blog post below about a Brazilian woman’s experience about her body image copied from Bullying Stories on wordpress.

[This is the second in a series of Mother’s Day blogs because mothers deserve a month’s worth of posting.]

I am 30 years old. Born and raised in Brazil, I lived there for 24 years. Growing up in a house with 3 sisters and being the only “chubby” one, it’s not so hard to imagine the “verbal” bullying I had to endure. … It came from adults for the most part and it was targeted, recurrent and persistent. …According to them, I was chubby, short, my forehead was too big, my face was too round, my hair was too thin, my breasts were too big, etc…In addition, I’d have them compare me and my so-called “flaws” to my sisters/relatives. That was extremely unfair since we’re all very different both physically and personality wise. Needless to say, such comparisons always ended with them determining or hinting my “disadvantaged” position. When I would go buy clothes, I’d always have what they said in mind: “you can’t wear this, you have to wear that.”
 
Years went by and I took extreme/unhealthy measures to lose weight (think throwing up and drinking hot water and soap). I got thinner indeed but the bullying never stopped completely. It was extremely detrimental to my emotional development and well-being. It affected the way I conducted all my personal interactions. For a long time, I even forced myself to avoid any possibility of having real relationships with boys. I’ve met a few and even though they were nice to me I simply could not believe that we could have a normal, healthy relationship. I would always question myself: ” why would they want to date me? That can’t be serious.”
~Luzia

See her whole post at Bullying Stories on wordpress.

The writing on this poster made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women reads, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Mattel sued The Body Shop and forced them to stop selling this poster.
The writing on this poster  made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women,  “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do ” incited Mattel to sue The Body Shop to stop selling this poster.
 

Recovered martyred mothers

April 9, 2012

Becoming a mother at age 22 forever changed my life. The biggest shock was to think about someone else’s needs besides and before my own needs. Until then, it was pretty much all about me, me, me.

three kids in three and a half years requires zone defense and matryed mothers. putting yourself FIRST is key to successful motherhood. parenting is about good mothering and taking time for yourself. mother's day is about doing something for YOu. honoring mother on mother's day is about taking  care of yourself.

Here we are in 1984 with three children born in 37 months. People often said to me, “You have your hands full.” Duh!

When this beautiful reflection of perfection showed up in my life, it seemed natural to make room in my self-centered agenda. She was an easy baby who still allowed me some me-time. When her brother arrived 25 months later, I managed to find “me time” while staying home with them, I either traded childcare with friends, hired babysitters or hubby watched them while I went out for fun.

Our third child came along 17 months later and we went from one-on-one defense to zone defense. It became difficult for one or both parents to meet their needs. As long as a I surrendered, everything was fine. However, that meant I couldn’t:

  • go to the toilet alone,
  • have a phone conversation longer than 30 seconds,
  • put something to my lips without a group asking, “Where’s mine?”
  • sleep for more than three hours in a row, or
  • leave the house spontaneously.

One Sunday afternoon I prepared to go play soccer and realized “It’s not worth it.” A new era of self-sacrifice began — to the extreme. Like many mothers, I began to put myself last.

The kids had new shoes, doctor’s visits and play dates. I wore old shoes, procrastinated going to the doctor, and rarely saw my friends, except other moms at play dates. This era lasted for more than a decade until I woke up and became a recovered martyred mother.

It’s a common syndrome. Last week a friend who has three teenagers and a bad back said, “I have nowhere comfortable to sit at home.” I told her about my relax-the-back chair that cost more than some of our used cars that I never would have bought during my martyrdom.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for years. Now I don’t make much money,” she said apologetically.

My mother’s wisdom, from her grave, sounded loudly in my mind. “That’s what your money is for!” and “If one of the kids needed that chair, you’d buy it without question.”

I suggested to my friend, “Start a cookie jar to save for it. Make it known that you want cash gifts for special occasions to save for the chair. Put ‘found’ money there.”

After my descent into the valley of self-sacrifice for the kids, I re-learnedI am worth it. When mom is happy, everybody is happy. I began spending money on myself. I took piano lessons. It’s reasonable when there’s extra money to spend some on you. If you have less money, figure out frugal and free thrills. Budget some amount of money and free time each month for me-me-me time. It’s a worthwhile investment.

Whatever you do, remember, too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart — William Butler Yeats.

This is the first of a series of Mother’s Day posts.