Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Say NO....on Prop 8

Campaign ads in California regarding Prop 8 reveal two startling different ideas. When people are confronted with two opposing viewpoints, how are they able to make an informed decision?

About a month ago, an ad paid for by those in support of Proposition 8 started airing on TV which used the images of several young children without their parents' permission. Jen Press whose daughter, Lucy, is prominently featured in the political ad had this to say:
To turn around and distort images of our children is outrageous. We’re opposed to Prop 8, but irrespective of our position, it’s wrong to use any image of children without their parents’ permission. And we think every parent in California would agree with us.
I'd go a step further and say that every parent in the United States would agree, and probably those from all over the world. Any organization who would use children to manipulate voters and distort information should not be supported by parents, or anyone who cares about children, regardless of the religious or political beliefs one holds.

Proposition 8 is not about children and what exactly does it have to do with protecting marriage? Currently, marriage is "in jeopardy" with the rising divorce rates that do affect children.

One woman, a 82-year-old political blogger and grandmother, Helen, could not have explained this money-wasting proposition any better:
I really don’t know why gay people want to get married. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Harold. But I guess if one consenting adult wants to declare their love for another, why would anyone have an issue? I do know one gay couple. Margaret’s nephew and his friend have been together for several years. They are a lovely couple and make me laugh and feel special every time I see them. A couple of years ago Texas passed one of these constitutional amendments. The place where Harold and I go to vote is actually an elementary school in the neighborhood. On that particular election day I was appalled to see all the signs that said “Marriage Should Be Between a Man and Woman Only”. As Harold drove us into the parking lot to vote, I looked out the window at those signs and realized that many parents had driven their kids to school that morning driving past those very signs. I wonder if any of them had the same reaction I did - those signs reminded me of the little signs we used to have back in the day that said “Whites Only”. Think about it.
I don't have to think about. Already I know that eliminating fundamental rights to anyone goes against the beliefs that this country was founded upon.

Nothing is more powerful than two people promising their loyalty and devotion to one another, no matter what gender they may be. Teaching children that love and commitment between same sex couples is not the same (or as important) as it is between those of the opposite sex is sending a message that is unfair and wrong. It is discrimination that we should not tolerate.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sexy Halloween Costumes

Looking for Halloween costumes for myself only reminded me of how sexual our culture really is. Women are depicted on an average day as objects to be desired. October 31st is certainly no exception.

Women who are otherwise covered up can be found wearing provocative clothing on Halloween night, revealing their cleavage or sporting skirts that are dangerously short. For some, this is a costume-required holiday that is a chance for them to wear as little as possible.

Halloween night is definitely going to be a "treat" for anyone heading out on the town for this adult version of dress-up. This annual event is used as an excuse for certain people to get drunk and to be obnoxious. It's only once a year - or at least that's what their excuse will be if - or when - things get out of control.

Sexy Halloween costumes seem to be the norm these days - for women - and as a parent, I can't help but wonder what sort of messages are being sent to children who not only see these outfits displayed in ads and on websites but that are being marketed to younger girls each year.

Children are wearing costumes these days that my parents would never let me leave the house in. Many costumes, like the image below of Anna Rexia (as in Anorexia), are offensive and inappropriate on so many levels.

How do you feel about sexy Halloween costumes? How long will it be before kids start picking out ensembles that you would only expect to see on a responsible adult? At what age do children stop getting dressed up and knock on doors to get candy? And how old is too old for trick-or-treating?

I'm going downtown tomorrow night and will celebrate Halloween (costume and all) for the first time in my adult life. I feel somewhat foolish and somewhat excited to let loose and pretend to be someone else for a few hours. Is Halloween about fun and games or is it turning into an event for those who want to live out their the fantasies on center stage? I feel as though adults are taking over and children are no longer allowed to be children. What's your opinion?

Other parents agree:
Sexy Halloween costumes spook parents
Parents agree costumes are too sexy
Sexy Halloween costumes...for little girls?
Sexy little devils? Policing kids’ costumes
Girls' Costumes Gone Wild

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Read All About It!

It's the end of October and the start of a holiday season that begins with the 2008 Presidential Election. Whether you're looking for ways to explain the election process to a child, or want to learn more about the candidates' positions from a non-partisan source, ePals will have the answers you need. You can also use this resource as a way to connect children with a PenPal from another country and introduce them to another culture or community.

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting is pleased to share with you an opportunity for growth and possibility for the New Year. 2009 is right around the corner and I want to thank you for being so supportive of one another and yourselves as a parent, business owner, or whatever role you choose to define yourself with.

Our community has grown over the last year, allowing me to evolve into the new technology of this new email program. This will allow me to better serve you and will provide you with the opportunity to customize the information you receive from me.

Please take a moment to manage your preferences or unsubscribe if you should no longer wish to receive correspondence from me. I do hope you prefer to continue to receive blog posts, Parenting News and event announcements directly to your Inbox each and every week.

In the next few weeks I will be sending out a Holiday Gift Guide as well as an invitation to an annual Happy Healthy Hip Holiday Party which I hope you will each be able to support by either attending or sponsoring.

If you attended the Parenting Party in May then you'll know that these events are a great way to meet and mingle with other parents, along with the chance to walk away with some great prizes. It would be great to have a sell-out event which would send a message to San Diego that the parents in our community work together and play together! Tickets will go on sale soon.

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween weekend and let me know what I can do to support you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catching the Bouquet

Before I was married, I used to dread that part of the wedding reception when the single women would be called up to try to catch the bride's bouquet. I'd hesitate before standing up and slowly make my way to the back of the line.

Suddenly, now that I'm single (again) and older, I'm ready. I want it to be known that I'm single and ready to find Mr. Right.

I've been to two weddings in the last few weeks and made a point of being one of the first women to make her way up to the dance floor. I've even pushed my way to the front and reminded the brides to throw it my way.

Apparently, being open to catching a bouquet is not enough. I bawled my eyes out at the last wedding I attended. My best friend from high school got married and it was so amazing to see her up there among friends and family that I've known through her.

I met my best friend during our Freshman year of high school. She was shy. I was assigned to work with her on a class project and we've been friends ever since. Knowing her for over half of our lives allowed us both the privilege of being there to witness each other's ups and downs and in on each other's secrets and details of our past relationships.

During one of my (many) states of depression, she came to San Diego to spend the week with me. We did nothing but lay on the beach, party and sleep. It was amazing and it just proved to me that my friend would be there for me, whenever I needed her.

But where was she this past weekend? I don't think she understood the psychological elements involved in my desire to catch the bouquet. It was devastating enough that I was a "party of one" for both weddings and I now, I have nothing to show for it, no souvenirs to prove that I made it through yet another wedding without someone asking me when it'd be my turn.

Since I don't have any other weddings to look forward to, I need to think of what else I can do to ensure my luck in love and relationships. Perhaps I should go and have my palm read, or do a seance that will clear my home of any negative energy that might be left behind from my ex-husband.

Yes, many people are astonished by the fact that I still live in the same home that I shared with my husband. In fact, our house is still in his name (and mine). Perhaps it's time for a little emotional cleansing...and a change of paint color.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Position of the Day

Newsletters show up in my inbox every minute of the day and, oftentimes, it's the subject line that will determine whether or not the email will be read, ever. This morning was no exception.

The daily iVillage Love edition was my wake up call this morning, alerting me that my sex life is in need of an upgrade with the subject line: How to make anal sex more pleasurable (for YOU).

Anal sex was always a dirty word (ok, two words) but apparently, it's the new 69...or something. The article provides six tips to make this position more pleasurable, and more fun, for women (key word here being more).

If this position isn't up your alley (no pun intended), these other articles might suit your feminine needs (and desires):

Sexual Positions Women Enjoy
Perfect Position Selector
Sex Position Ideas for Every Type of Couple
4 Must Try Sex Positions
Position Secrets for a Faster Orgasm Every Time
6 Woman-Friendly Sex Positions

Alright. Now go have fun, and be safe.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Man of the Year

Before I share this guest post from Brett, of The Art of Manliness, I just have to put in my two cents. For those of us who aren't married, you can surely think of someone (like your dad, or brother, maybe) that might be worthy of Man of the Year?

Ladies, have you ever wanted to let the whole world know how amazing your husband is? Well, now you can. The Art of Manliness has teamed up with Old Spice to find The Art of Manliness Man of the Year. Most magazines and websites seem to pick celebrities and sports stars as the man of the year, and fail to recognize the regular Joe who’s doing his best to be the best husband, father, and man he can be. The Art of Manliness wants to change that.

Our goal is to find a man who represents what’s best in men and give him $2,000 in cold hard cash. From October 20, 2008 until November 9, 2008, Art of Manliness will be accepting nominations for Man of the Year.

This is your chance to brag about your man and give him the chance to win $2,000 (which of course he’ll share with you). To nominate, go to this online form and fill out. You’ll need to write a short essay about why you think your man should be The Art of Manliness Man of the Year. Tell us about how your husband is great with kids, how he can cook a killer dinner, and how he helps out those in need. Your husband doesn’t have to be some Superman who’s cured AIDS to be considered for Man of the Year. If you think your husband possess the traits of honorable manliness, we want to hear about him.

We’ll then select 10 finalists out of all the nominees. On November 24, 2008 we’ll open voting to the public on the 10 finalists. Whoever has the most votes by December 13, 2008 will be crowned The Art of Manliness Man of the Year 2008 and win the $2,000.

If you want your husband to even have a chance at being named Man of the Year, you have to nominate him. And remember, there's $2,000 up for grabs! Don’t just stand by your man, brag about him. Send in your nomination today!

Online Dating Profile Pics: What NOT to Wear

Alright, I realize that this is going to come off as me being petty and will most likely offend some of you, especially those who have a profile online, but I have to share.

This isn't about me making fun of anyone in particular (alright, it is), but after ignoring my eHarmony profile for over a week, I finally went over there to check out my latest matches and guess what?

There were over 210 matches waiting for me...and not one single profile caught my attention, except for the fact that I suddenly started talking to the people (by name) in the photos and actually taking notes (yes, taking notes).

Here is what I have learned from the profile pictures that came up on my screen and here's what I would suggest to everyone (male or female) who plans on putting their pictures online (or who has done so already).
  1. Don't upload a mirror shot: You know what they look like. You can actually SEE the camera and sometimes a flash...Get someone to take your photo. Anyone. A neighbor, your mom, the guy at the pharmacy who thinks he's taking your passport photo. Better yet, go in one of those photo booths that gives you four chances to get it right.
  2. Don't include a picture from last Halloween: A potential date is not interested in how you look in disguise. She or he wants to see what YOU look like. On a normal day.
  3. Don't include pictures from the bar: You know the one. You have a beer in your hand and you look laid-back and appear to be someone who knows how to have a good time. What this says to people is, "I like taking photos when I'm under the influence. Wait 'til you see what I look like when I'm WASTED!" Not a good message to be sending...
  4. Please, please, please don't include your children (or anyone else's) in your main profile pic: I have a child and I love kids, but the first impression you give when you include children in your main photo is "I'm looking for a new Mom (or Dad) for these adorable kids." Usually, the kids are the first thing people see, not you.
  5. Please put a shirt on: I really can't comprehend why people include photos where they're not wearing a shirt. Usually, when that happens, it's not flattering. No one wants to see you with your shirt off unless you're at the beach, and you're a Chippendale dancer.
  6. Please remove your hat - and your sunglasses: Again, please refer to #2. A potential partner wants to see what you look like - eyes, hair - or whether you have any underneath the cap.
  7. Don't upload a work photo: I can't even tell you how many doctors I've seen in their scrubs, firefighters I've seen with fires blazing in the background and military men in their uniforms. This all leads back to wanting to see what a potential date looks like outside the office (or place of employment).
  8. Please include a photo where you actually look happy to be alive: I've seen way too many photos of people who can't seem to crack a smile. Pretend you like yourself. Then maybe other people will.
  9. Don't include photos that look like they're 'still shots' from your sex tapes: You know the one - the shirtless, awkward angle and expression on the person's face = CREEPY.
  10. Please don't include major close ups: They're never attractive and typically look like the WANTED posters from the nightly news.
  11. If you're in the military, don't upload photos of you in your camo: You look like every other guy in camo...potential partners want to see what YOU look like, not what you look like when you're ready to head into battle...Unless you approach dating defensively, then I suppose it's OK.
  12. Please do not post photos of yourself EATING (Yes, I did come across this one): Photos of you with your mouth full. Not going to earn any points with the women I know (let's face it, women would NEVER post a photo of themselves eating).
  13. College students / military men - Please don't include your photos that showcase the nudey pictures on the wall behind you: The women who view these photos will not see you, but the pics behind you. And that's probably not going to get you a date. But, then again, you never know.
  14. Please don't include photos of you and your friends: Petty, I realize, but if I see a photo with a bunch of guys, I'm checking out the hottest one of the group, and chances are, it's not the one who's looking for a date.
  15. Don't include photos where you're in full scuba gear: So you like to go diving. Great. Why do I want to see a photo of you underwater, with a full wet suit on and a mask covering your ENTIRE face? I want to see what you look like. This photo only tells me what you like to DO.
  16. Last, but certainly not least, please don't submit your profile to an online dating site WITHOUT a picture. I realize that the above "suggestions" might cause someone to want to pursue the online dating thing with just their personality to get them by. It WON'T happen. We all want to SEE what we're getting into and - as long as the above suggestions are applied - you may have some dating success (of course there are no guarantees).
Good luck. And if you see my profile on line, don't worry. The photos of me wearing a hat and glasses, alongside my son and in our Halloween costumes will be removed soon. I pinkie swear.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All About You

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you! And you're absolutely right! In order to discover your true desire, your life's purpose, your strengths - and weaknesses - take the time to answer some questions that will have you looking at yourself in a whole new way.

The following questions are just a sample of those that can be found on the site of Life Success Coach (and my dear friend) Cathy Northcutt.

Who Are You?

What Are Your Visions?

What's Your Passion?

What's Draining You?

You - as a Mother or Father

You - as a Professional

You - as a Leader

You - as a Salesperson

Cathy has helped me gain insight on my career, my relationships and my value as a parent educator / coach, friend and mother. She supports those who are open to her suggestions, advice and warm, honest opinions that not only encourage you to be the best you can be, but inspire you reach out and support those around you.

I owe much of my success to many wonderful women in my life. Cathy is just one of them. You'll hear more from her and about her in the months to come.

Join Cathy tonight for her monthly Nurturning Mother Telegathering, at 9pm (PST). Email Cathy directly to RSVP for tonight's call.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seeking Balance

As working parents (we're all working parents) we're always seeking balance, between our role as Mom or Dad, jobs that pay our bills and of course, time with ourselves or our partners. Let's not even talk about our house (which tends to be the last on my list of priorities).

Many mommy bloggers have written about seeking this balance and the guilt one feels when taking time for herself or any time away from her children. The women's movement was intended to move us all forward, but instead, I feel as though it's instilled in each of us the idea that we need to be - or at least strive to be - SuperMom, WonderWife and Woman of the Year. Talk about pressure.

I spend quality time with my son, I work hard and take time for myself and enjoy those special moments with other adults. Do I feel guilty? I used to. These days, I find myself being more relaxed, less stressed and overall, more fulfilled when I don't let the guilt take over. It's there on some occasions but I simply remind myself that I'm a much better mom when I've taken that time for myself, whether it's exercising, reading, or spending the weekend with friends.

Head on over to read what one mom (a.k.a. PhD in Parenting) has done to create more balance in her life and please, share with me what you do to keep yourself centered.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Parents Without Partners

Once again, my mom provided me with a great resource for single parents.

Parents Without Partners was founded in 1957 by two single parents.

Parents Without Partners provides single parents and their children with an opportunity for enhancing personal growth, self-confidence and sensitivity towards others by offering an environment for support, friendship and the exchange of parenting techniques. For the minor children of single parents, it offers them the opportunity to meet peers living within the same family structure and thriving.

Parents Without Partners, Inc. is now the largest international, nonprofit membership organization devoted to the welfare and interests of single parents and their children. Single parents may join one of the many chapter around the US and Canada; they may be male or female, custodial or non-custodial, separated, divorced, widowed or never married. Search for a chapter in your area.

They also introduced me to many online resources for single parents:

Check out the articles for single parents as well, with subjects like relationships, emotions, travel, dealing with divorce, and blended families.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Everyone's talking about Joe the Plumber these days, but here's what I think of when I hear the word Plummer:

Camizon Twin Bed

Waimea Bay Oahu Hawaii Graphic

Duxbury Entertainment Wall

Stellar Round Lounge Sofa

CEO 3-Piece Desk

Clement Bar

Tao Round Dining Table

Visit the Plummers website or stores for the quality contemporary designed furniture that is both functional and affordable.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bonus Families

My son keeps asking me when I'm going to have another baby. He wants a sibling and he's not alone. I have baby cravings all the time, especially after spending time with my sister's new baby - or looking at the pictures of him that are on my fridge or kitchen table. Basically, several times a day!

Bonus Families is a website and a wonderful term for the step-families of my generation. I'd like to inherit a bonus family someday, but I'm not in any hurry. I'm still enjoying the time I have with my son and getting to know myself as a single mom and individual who is trying to get some goals reached before inviting another adult (and child) into our world.

I spent some time getting to know someone recently whom I met through eHarmony. We decided, after learning more about each other, that we are not looking for the same things right now. He is looking for a serious, long-term relationship, whereas, I am searching for someone who I can finally be myself with. I think I've found him and even though there is quite some distance between us, and baggage from our past relationships, I have faith that with time, things will become less stressful and we can begin to share more of each other more often.

When my husband and I first separated and he moved out, there was a long span of time before our divorce was finalized. Nearly two entire years went by before the court declared us no longer married to one another. Clearly, our marriage was over long before my ex-husband ever filed for divorce.

Saying that I'm involved with a married man would not be accurate. Telling people that the man I'm dating is currently separated would be more precise. His marriage has ended and despite the fact that they tried to make things work for their children's benefit, they have finally made peace with the fact that there is nothing left to hold onto.

In my adult life, I have met many people from different backgrounds with diverse pasts that they've overcome. Along the way, I have made both good and bad decisions, as we all have, but I have faith that the path before me will lead to happiness and true love.

Where will your path lead? You can think positively and hope for a happy ending, or you can make the choice to let the negative thoughts take over. I choose to believe that good things come to those who wait and I have been patient and cautious and continue to take one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Michelle Obama

It's no secret that I'm voting for Barack Obama this year but I haven't been very vocal about my opinion of his wife, our future First Lady.

As with every election, the spouse of our Presidential (and Vice-Presidential) nominees are just as scrutinized and judged as the nominee him/herself.

Michelle Obama will have an important role in The White House and I know, from seeing her on TV and reading her blog, that she will live up to that esteemed position and Americans will (and do) look up to her, just as they do the future President, and her husband, Barack Obama.

I received my ballot in the mail today (I'm an absentee voter) and I have never been so excited, so proud and so emotional about an election as I am this year. I will take my time in placing my vote, making sure to follow the instructions to the letter (so my vote doesn't get dismissed) and I will proudly - and impatiently - wait until the ballots are counted, until our country has made their final decision and our new President takes office.

I'm proud to be an American and I'm even more proud that our country generates the type of leaders and representatives that stand up for our rights, uphold our personal freedoms and stand by the words found in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Orgasmic Birth

With a provocative title and in a city that boasts the highest percentage of births attended by a doula, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a birthing assistant-turned-filmmaker, released Orgasmic Birth to an audience of over 500 people recently in Minneapolis.

Most of us associate childbirth with pain and discomfort. Debra's goal is to put a positive spin on the process of labor and hopefully, transform women's experience of it as well.

So what exactly does birth have to do with sex, other than the obvious fact that one follows from the other?

"The same hormone that we release in lovemaking is also released in childbirth and in breastfeeding — oxytocin," said doula Gail Tully. "It's a hormone that gives us a heightened perception, and it can take the edge off of pain."

Research suggests oxytocin is released when a woman feels safe and secure, when lights are dim, when there are few disturbances and there is quiet and privacy — not exactly the conditions in most hospitals.

In other words, the same conditions that are necessary for making love are necessary for having a baby.

The point of the film, says Pascali-Bonaro, is to show women, especially young women who have not yet given birth, an empowering image of birth that may certainly include pain but isn't about suffering.

Stephanie Johnson and her husband Andre Fischer of Minneapolis were at the screening.

"All I've been thinking of is that day of labor. I liked what someone said in the film, that pain of a contraction isn't a warning sign, something to get over. It's squeezing and embracing the baby."

Her husband, Andre Fischer, who has children from a previous relationship, was also moved by the film.

"I cried, because not all the other births of my children were like these," he said. "It was very emotional for me."

DVDs of Orgasmic Birth go on sale tomorrow, October 15th.

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Depression Screening Day

Depression hits people in different ways. Although there are several symptoms that most of us are aware of, it's difficult to see the impact when we're the ones suffering from an emotional or psychological disorder.

I've had a long history of depression and fought it for many years, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, which only made things worse, of course.

Never was my depression so apparent then when I was dealing with the new stresses and pressures of being a new mom, trying to balance a full-time job with a newborn and having my family (my ultimate support system) so far away.

I was always the type of person who was afraid to ask for help, never wanting to admit that I couldn't do something completely on my own. I think many women feel this way, especially in regards to motherhood. After all we're built to be moms, right?

Did you know that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men? And, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in six Latina teens has seriously considered suicide (I was one of them).

Visit Mental Health Screening for a quick psychological checkup and don't be afraid to speak to your doctor if you feel you may be suffering from any of the following signs of depression:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: A bleak outlook, thinking that nothing will ever get better and there's nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities: No interest in or ability to enjoy former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex.
  • Appetite or weight changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain - a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes: Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation: Either feeling "keyed up" and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down.
  • Loss of energy: Feeling fatigued and physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting or taking longer.
  • Self-loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Harsh criticism of perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Concentration problems: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Having read these symptoms just now, I was reminded of the occasions when my husband (at the time) berated me for being lazy and not helping him around the house (because working full-time, breast-feeding and taking care of our infant son wasn't enough).

I, of course, was suffering from postpartum depression (without either of us realizing it) but it was his statements and anger towards me that provided the fuel for those feelings of inadequacy to take over. Quickly, the state of self-loathing became the guiding force behind my motivation, or lack thereof.

It was the beginning of a downward cycle that led to concentration problems, and a combination of insomnia and hypersomnia (which I attributed to "catching up on my sleep").

As a society, we're always quick to blame outside circumstances for our emotional state when clearly, there's evidence that our internal chemistry truly has a greater effect on our psychological well-being more than anything. I should know this. I studied psychology in school and got the highest grade in my college career in my course on psychopharmacology.

And yet, I continued to ignore the symptoms and did not seek the help I truly needed. It finally took my husband leaving me to realize that I needed to do something, quickly, or my son might have eventually been taken away from me. There's nothing like the threat of losing your child to put things into perspective.

I am not shy about my past and I don't blame others for my actions, or my current situation. I hold myself responsible for letting the symptoms of depression control me and from keeping me from being the best mom and wife I could be.

Looking back, I have to say that my husband made the best decision he could, under the circumstances. I was forced to stand on my own two feet in every way, and I am a much stronger, emotionally balanced and content individual for getting through it. But I'm far from past it. It's following close behind, like a shadow that can never escape from the sun.

My heart goes out to anyone who has ever suffered from depression or has witnessed someone they love going through this emotional roller coaster that takes over every aspect of their life.

I cannot stress enough the importance for women - especially after giving birth - to reach out for emotional support, write about your thoughts and feelings and to not be afraid to ask for help.

It is equally important for all of you husbands and fathers to be aware of the emotional needs of your wife or the mother of your child and allow her the freedom and opportunity to share her thoughts and complaints (without you feeling the need to step in and fix things), and to allow her the opportunity to get out of the house and encourage her to do so, alone, and often.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

San Diego Parenting Examiner

My mom sends me links to some great websites that I might otherwise not have the chance to discover. Just last week, she asked me if I had ever been to The Examiner website. I hadn't.

She sent me the link to the San Diego network of sites there and right away, I was intrigued. How could I write for them? My blog's RSS feed is pulled into sites like Wellsphere and Intent, but I would love the opportunity to have my writing appear on sites that are local, and relevant to what I teach and practice as a Certified Parent Educator.

The same session where I first entered The San Diego Examiner site brought me to the page where I was able to apply to be a writer for them. I'm not shy about my abilities and experience, so I felt pretty confident about the possibility of writing for them, but I had no idea that they'd respond as quickly as they did.

I received a phone call from them the very next day. In the message that was left for me (and one that I listened to more than once), they mentioned that they had a chance to see my writing (here) and wanted to "bring me on board." Seriously. I was just as shocked as you are right now!

My first post went live today! I leave tomorrow for an out-of-town wedding but I'll be writing from this point forward for both sites - mine and theirs - and I hope you visit both sites and continue to leave wonderful comments that keep the discussion moving forward.

I wouldn't have made it this far in my writing career if it weren't for the readers who stop by here and who are also (in most cases) bloggers who inspire me, entertain me, make me smile and laugh out loud as well as put up with my own comments on their sites.

Thank you for continuing to read my lengthy posts, for commenting without judging and for asking me questions or making statements that encourage me to think outside the box and explore other perspectives and possibilities.

If you're just discovering my site or have ended up here by chance, welcome! Take a look around and let me know what you'd like to read more of, either on this site or over at my page on The Examiner.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Save the Males

I came across a blog post which caused me to think about feminism in a different way and how it has affected men in our society.

I found myself in complete agreement with most of the issues raised by Kathleen Peterson, blogger over at The Intellectual Insurgent.
In her discussion, Kathleen mentions several books, including Save the Males: Why Men Matter Why Women Should Care, by Kathleen Parker. Parker discusses how the feminist movement in America has created enemies out of the opposite sex instead of its original intent to create equality.

Other books she mentions include Unprotected, by Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist at UCLA Student Psychological Services and advocate for youth and urging others in her field (as well as parents and educators) to empower young men and women by speaking truthfully about sexuality and gender roles (and stereotypes) instead of talking to them in politically correct ways that don't benefit them as patients or respect them as individuals.

She also refers to Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!), a book by Carol Platt Libeau.

I encourage you to head over to Kathleen's blog for more, but I do want to point out something that she said that completely held true, in my opinion:
Our cultural assumption that men only want sex has been as damaging to them as to the women they target. Here is how a recent graduate summed it up to me: “Hooking up is great, but at some point you get tired of everything meaning nothing.”

Ultimately, what our oversexualized, pornified culture reveals is that we think very little of our male family members. Undergirding the culture that feminism has helped to craft is a presumption that men are without honor and integrity. What we offer men is cheap, dirty, sleazy, manipulative sensation. What we expect from them is boorish, simian behavior that ratifies the anti-male sentiment that runs through the culture.
Being the mother of a young boy has made me realize how important it is for us as parents to educate our children (male or female) about respect, equality and once and for all, getting rid of the stereotypes that surround us as individuals.

If you're looking for a way to introduce the idea of equality to young people and allowing children at a young age to understand the concept of respect, admiration, and how truly attractive these qualities are, I highly recommend that you read Singing to the Sun, by Vivian French.

A modern twist to a classic fairy tale, this picture book uses the Princess Bride concept and allows for the lead characters (one male, the other female) to evolve and provide readers of all ages the opportunity to seek the same.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Community Members

I celebrated the one year anniversary of this blog not that long ago and I'm amazed at how quickly things have evolved for me and how many wonderful people I have met along over the last twelve months.

People often ask me how I find the time to write and how I find the content to include. I read articles about parenting, blog posts about children, and I receive newsletters that inspire me as well as discovering people through our connections on line, whether it be through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or from reading the comments left on the blogs that I read and simply clicking through and making new friends in the process.

There are several people I have met that I'd like to introduce my community members to. One, in particular, is a woman named Cathy Northcutt who I spent yesterday afternoon with. She's a wonderful example of Passionate Parenting and has inspired me to take my company in new directions and I applaud her efforts of using her experience as a Life Coach and mother of two to inspire others to explore their opportunities through insight and support.

Cathy and I met through our connection with the RCB Team of Certified Parent Educators here in San Diego. She too, taught at the RCB conference and sat in on my class about The Birds & the Bees.

She does many wonderful things which I will highlight in future posts, such as her journal entitled Who Am I? (which I'll be reviewing soon), but the one thing I can't wait to share is her weekly Telegathering which is held every Tuesday night.

Join in the Passionate Parent Coaching Call which is free (other than the long-distance phone call to dial in). During the first half of the sixty-minute session, Cathy will discuss a specific parenting issue, such as teaching self-control, handling sibling rivalry, or balancing work & family. The second half of the session will be open for questions.

I plan on being there this, and every, Tuesday night so I encourage you to visit Cathy's website, learn more about her, whether or not you're ready for a Life Coach, or get to know yourself better by answering the questions she provides.

Be sure to RSVP for the Tuesday night Coaching Call and please let Cathy know that you heard about her here.
Once you confirm that you'll be calling in, she'll provide you with the phone number and access code. I'll see you on the call Tuesday, October 7th at 8:30pm (PST).

To learn more about her services and retreats by visiting her site:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tattooed Moms

I got my first tattoo when I was in high school. My best friend pulled out some Indian ink and a safety pin to permanently mark me up as I lay on the bathroom floor at her mother's house. It's hidden below my bikini line so not many people get a chance to see it.

Years - and several more tattoos - later, she's still my best friend (she's getting married in a few weeks) but the tattoo I'm most proud of is the one that lies on my chest. LaSara Firefox has a tattoo on hers as well and when I mentioned this coincidence, she asked about mine.

LaSara's tattoo

People comment or ask me about this particular tattoo all the time (when it's not covered up by clothing) and I enjoy sharing the story behind it.

Permanent reminders are often painful and this one is no exception. While the process of getting the tattoo was not painful, it does bring up a past experience that was and has brought me to the place I am today.

I found out that I was pregnant (unexpectedly) during my Senior year of college. I was dating a guy one year younger than me and I was working part-time and attending school full-time to try and finish my college career in exactly four years.

While the news of my pregnancy was not something that I was truly ready to embrace, I decided, after several sleepless nights and many emotionally-charged debates with my then-boyfriend, to keep the baby. As pro-choice as I am and have always been, not having the baby was never the choice for me.

I grew fond of the idea of being a mother very quickly, almost instantly. In a matter of weeks, I was a proud, pregnant woman who was ready to graduate from college and embark on the amazing journey of motherhood. My boyfriend would be joining me on the adventure.

Family, friends, classmates, and professors were made aware of the pregnancy and of my plans to get my degree and raise my child with the father. I was ecstatic and ready and yet so unprepared for what was to come.

I experienced a miscarriage in the third month which is not unusual at all. Everyone knows that the first twelve weeks are the most critical and my announcement very early on in the pregnancy only led to greater heartache when it was time to share my loss with everyone who was still getting around to congratulate us.

Without realizing it at the time, that was the beginning of a great state of depression for me. I ended up running away - or at least trying to - by moving across the country to San Diego (after dropping out of school).

I started my life over in a new place where no one knew me or my story but I still longed for a way to keep the memory of this experience with me as a reminder of the change and evolution that pregnancy brought about within me.

My then-boyfriend and I had been creating a tattoo together in honor of our unborn child. With the design in hand, I marched into a tattoo parlor on the date she would've been due (October 18, 1999) and sat down to have the symbol permanently placed on my chest, the place where my hand always went whenever I talked about the pregnancy and miscarriage, or thought about my unborn child.

I think about how old she would be now. I think about what type of relationship I would have with her. I wonder if she knows how much she means to me.

She is very real to me and when I see other nine-year-old girls, I struggle to picture a face that I will never be able to see.

My life started over that day, the day I had the symbolic tattoo placed next to my heart. I began a new life then, a fresh start on the adventure that has led me here: I'm Mom to a nearly five-year-old boy. I have a wonderful career, great friends and enjoy single life in San Diego and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

I've always loved the quote that states, "That which does not kill us only makes us stronger," and I know that I am a much better parent for having grown and evolved from the person I was before that first pregnancy.

Living without regrets is my ultimate goal in this life. Every moment moves us forward on this great journey that has been mapped out for us.

My son and I, 2004

I am still friends with the father of my unborn child. We share pictures of our children and exchange stories and I know from the sparkle in his eye when he talks about his role as a father and husband, that our daughter was put in our life for a reason. She has taught us to let go, enabled us to evolve and inspire us to love without expecting anything in return.

And yes, when you see me talk about my tattoo, you will see that same sparkle in my eye and perhaps a tear or two that fall, not in mourning for a child who will never age, but for the hope that she will never be forgotten.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interview with Yoga Mama

Yesterday afternoon, I was interviewed by Yoga Mama for her podcast which is recorded live each Friday (12:30pm PST). Yoga Mama is also known as LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, a master practitioner and trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), life coach, educator, and professional speaker.

LaSara helps her clients to find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values. She is also a mother of two, a successful author (Sexy Witch, nonfiction/self-help, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2005), and founder and CEO of the Ecstatic Presence Project and Global Family Awakening: an educational, peace and humanitarian family adventure club. She teaches and coaches internationally.

LaSara recently wrote an article entitled Seven Steps to Healthy Communication With Your Kids.
  1. Honor your kid's questions with answers.
  2. Own your feelings.
  3. What isn't said speaks more loudly that what IS.
  4. Own your boundaries.
  5. Respect your child's boundaries.
  6. Respectful, loving touch fosters connection. Stay embodied.
  7. The model is the message.
Read more about these seven steps or download other articles on LaSara's website and join her every Friday for the Yoga Mama Satsangha weekly podcast.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Child Abandonment

I wasn't surprised to read about the Nebraska father who had dropped off his nine children, - abandoning them - at a local hospital due to overwhelming stress and his inability to care for them any longer. What parent wouldn't be stressed with nine kids, let alone a man who was somehow trying to do it on his own, after the death of his wife. Talk about emotional overload.

What did shock me, however, was the "backlash" that officials have now created with their insistence that now the laws in that state must be changed. In other words, or what I'm hearing at least, is that older children who are being raised by parents who are so stressed that they are actually contemplating walking away, must remain in that abusive situation.

I know, there is no abuse that we know of being brought up here in these recent cases, but wouldn't that be the next step? If a parent has less last-minute options, what are the choices he or she would feel that would be left? Leaving these children in a neglectful situation?

I'm not sure what's worse, sending out a message to these parents - and children who are old enough to read and hear the news - that just because a parent no longer wants to be a parent, means that no one else should have to pick up the slack, or the helpless feeling of needing to walk away in the first place?

Changing the state laws would be very irresponsible, in my opinion. What I would have liked to hear officials say is that there are resources available to parents to help reduce the stress in their lives and offer a list of these services and support groups and community resources that are out there.

I'm a Certified Parent Educator who works with parents that have kids ranging in age from newborn (or even parents who are expecting) to teens. There are Certified Parent Educators across the country - and in many countries outside of the U.S. - wanting to help parents and families and helping them to to avoid these last minute impulses to abandon their children.

Learn how you can become an advocate for children by becoming an instructor yourself.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Missing My Ex-Husband

No, this post is not about me missing my ex-husband, it's about my son missing his father and how difficult it is to be a single parent - for at least these last 9 days when dad's been away.

My ex-husband and I travel throughout the year - separately - for each of our businesses. I travel quite a bit more than he does, usually for five days at a time once a month (from February - July) and then on occasion the rest of the year. Dad takes two trips a year, although his are considerably longer - usually 10 - 14 days each.

My son has a hard time when either one of us are away since he's used to the routine of seeing Mom and Dad on a 2-3-2 custody schedule. The routine is great for all of us. Mom and Dad get their adult and alone time when our son is with the other parent, and we each have the opportunity to bond with our son and devote our time to him when it's "our time" with him.

You might say we're each a bit spoiled, and it's never more apparent then when one of us is left "in charge" for more than 72 hours at a time. Yesterday, my ex-husband was supposed to return from Central America but due to bad weather, his flight was postponed until today which means he won't be able to pick up our son from school as originally planned, and as I had been explaining to my son all week.

My son has had a rough time at bedtime, in particular, during these times. Just this week, he's tried to talk me into becoming nocturnal and refuses to wake up "at daytime" and also wants to go back to being a baby. Luckily, this usually only lasts a l-o-n-g thirty minutes which, to me, feels like an eternity.

Our morning routines are not much better. He's been refusing to get dressed, brush his teeth or get in the car to head to school unless I promise him that his dad will be picking him up. Of course, I never make a promise I can't keep (he'll hold me to it) so it's been especially challenging for me to "convince him" to cooperate and help me out.

I've been late this week a record number of times. His teachers probably wouldn't even recognize me if I showed up before school officially started.
As odd as it may sound, I'm looking forward to seeing my ex-husband tonight.

But that's because my son truly misses him and will explode with emotion when he finally gets to see his dad. It makes me melt to see how happy he is with his father and I love the fact that he's the exact same way when he sees me after one of my trips.

I'm leaving on a trip next week, actually. It's hard to be away, but as most parents will agree, it's difficult to be a good parent when you don't get a chance to breathe, have adult-only interactions and get a good night's rest. I encourage all parents to take a night off for themselves. Have a sleepover at a friend's home or hotel down the street and get away. Your children will thank you for it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Healing Stories

Have you ever wished that you could find just the right book for a child? Maybe a child in your life is anticipating a big change, such as having a new brother or sister, starting school for the first time, or moving to a new house. Maybe something difficult and painful has happened, such as a divorce, a serious illness, or a death. Or maybe you just know a child who is fearful at bedtime, or worries about growing up, or has a bad day occasionally. You know how important it is to read to children, and it has occurred to you that sharing a story could help the child in your life manage the situation that she or he is going through. But how will you find the right book?

Healing Stories: Picture Books for the Big and Small Changes in a Child's Life puts at your fingertips a list of more than 500 picture books that was prepared just for this purpose. Stories and other children's books have been carefully selected by a psychologist who works extensively with children. Each chapter includes an annotated list of picture books relevant to a specific concern that children may have, empowering you to select the books that best match the child and the situation you're concerned about. This book also includes a helpful introduction that discusses ways to use books with children who are experiencing life changes or stress.