February 14, 2011


Life For A Child Button 2

Join me, Candy Hearts and a handful of other vendors in support of *Life for a Child*!!

For more information about Life For A Child and to see how you can help..... by simply supporting the products and vendors {like me, Gigi and Lula } in this campaign to raise $1OO,OOO.OO,visit Candy Hearts Blog!


With HOPE,


February 7, 2011

Don't be offended this is all my opinion, ain't nothing that I'm saying law.....

Hey all! Thanks for your comments on the review for Peggy Orenstein's newst book! It seems that many of us agree and children's play should be diverse. I really did not want to debate the topic again. I allow princess play and we do have a few Disney dresses. But we also have trucks and blocks and a sandbox. We have a large aray of toys and games and use our imaginations to be and do LOTS of things... and YES that sometimes means we pretend to be princesses.

I did not post this review to sway anyone to "my" side and it seems {though I haven't read it yet} that Peggy doesn't try to sway anyone either. I just thought maybe some of the mommies and daddies who might share my concern and are taking steps to diversify our daughters play might like to know that we are not alone. While it seems {to me} that there is an army of princesses out there and I may well be out numbered. My concerns are valid and it's okay to do what I feel is right for my daughters. Just as it is okay for any other parent to allow their daughter to spend her childhood in nothing but princess gowns waiting for her prince charming. If that is what they feel is right for their daughter, that is their right as a parent. I don't judge I am too wrapped up in trying to make good choices for my family and trying to teach my girls how to make good choices for themselves. Just like I am sure you all are too.
This is simply a different perspective on the whole play time topic/debate and children. There are studies out there that talk about gender toys and gender neutral toys and I find it all very interesting.  I know that in my childhood home I was outside in the dirt building tree-forts with my father and having crab-apple fights with the boys next door and my younger brother was inside cooking, cleaning and having tea-parties with my mother.
The truth is this simple. I find the whole psychology behind all of this interesting. I beleive that a girl who spends all day everyday in princess dresses and pretending that she is locked in a tower waiting to be rescued CAN grow up to be come a Fortune 500 CEO. In my home I just prefer to embrace the idea that boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks.  I would like for my daughters to never say or think "That's a boys/girls job". So I choose to limit this princess exposure and to steer the pretend princess play into stories where our cat is the prince and he needs to be rescued from the dragon. And I like slaying dragons. I don't want to sit on the sidelines and watch the boys have all the fun. I want to wrestle gators and climb Mt. Everest and explore the jungles of the world. And IF Gigi and Lula want to make mud pies in princess dresses THAT would be fine with me!
So, I have to leave you all with this.... This has been my Gigi and Lula anthem since the girls were born. I am a left thinking liberal women and I have LOVED this song since it was first released {*ahem* back when I was in high school  *yikes*} my favorite verse...
Am I less of a lady if I don't wear pantyhose?
My mama said a lady ain't what she wears but, what she knows
But, I've drawn a conclusion, it's all an illusion, confusion's the name of the game
A misconception, a vast deception
Something's gotta change
But, Don't be offended this is all my opinion
ain't nothing that I'm sayin law
This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in where you fit in go on and shine
Clear your mind, now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
'Cuz everything's gonna be all right
~India Arie {Video}



February 6, 2011

"Cinderella Ate My Daughter"

I know what you're thinking... "Oh No! She's at it again! That Nazi mom is going to spout off about the evils of Princesses....." Well, this time, it's not me!  {Oh and by the way Pheew!} I was thrilled by the positive response from my ill-fated post a few months back, since dubbed Princess-gate. I am even more thrilled to learn that more and more psychological studies are coming out and backing my concern, but I especially loved seeing this title Cinderella Ate My Daughter! I have been dying to get this book and suck all the marrow out of it since I saw it reviewed a few weeks back in Parenting Magazine. Since then it has been everywhere! I have been emailed reviews, and told "You MUST read this book!!" by friends. I've seen it on TV and in a few other magazines.... It's been slapping me upside the head with it's existence, so I pledge to read this book next week. 

Why put it off a week? Because I will be back east with my parents and my brothers. There will be people to entertain Gigi and Lula and give me some time to read something other than The Cat in the Hat or Olivia. {Not that I don't adore Dr. Seuss and Olivia, because Olivia is my Gigi ....and Dr Seuss is the reason I'm a tree-hugger!!}

This is the first review of Cinderella Ate My Daughter that included Peggy Orenstein's motivation in her own words and it was like listening to  myself!  In the spirit of full disclosure, one review I read said that Peggy Orenstien's book offers peace of mind to us left-thinking mothers that the Princess epidemic is, in fact a problem; and backs up our fears and concerns with hard, statistical data. However, while the book serves to validate our issues with this princess possessed society it does little to sway the other side.  I suppose that is a shame, but since I am only able to affect my girls' development, self image and future, I will happily glean every ounce of knowledge on this precarious subject that Peggy has to offer!

Here is one journalists review and interview.......

Why I REALLY hope my daughter doesn't get obsessed with princesses

by Erin Zammett Ruddy

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’m not a huge fan of the color pink. And, much to my mother’s chagrin, I try to avoid putting my daughter in anything that screams girly girl/princess/Paris Hilton. It’s just not my style and, to be honest, it kind of freaks me out. From the second I found out I was having a girl, I started stressing about how I was going to protect her from becoming one of those oversexualized, belly-baring tweens (or, um, seven year olds) I see in the news/on TV/at the mall/everywhere these days. Which is why when I got an advanced copy of Peggy Orenstein’s new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture I devoured it in one sitting. I couldn’t stop talking about the book to anyone who would listen. And everyone wanted to listen because it’s fascinating—and, yes, a little frightening. Peggy began researching the book after noticing her then-three year old could recite every Disney princess by name and corresponding gown color, a trick she’d picked up at pre-school. Peggy immediately began investigating what this ultra-feminine trend was telling young girls about who they are—and who they should be.

I always assumed that because I was a well-rounded girl (i.e., I grew up knowing how to shoot a gun, bait a hook and play with Barbies) that my daughter would be the same simply by osmosis. But, as they say, times have changed. And as mothers to daughters we need to be aware of how those changes can affect our kids. I recently had the opportunity to interview Peggy, and it was probably one of the most enlightening conversations I’ve had as a journalist—and a mother. Here are some snippets:

Was there a pivotal moment that made you realize you had to write this book? 

I took my daughter, Daisy, to have her teeth cleaned and the dentist said, “Do you want to get on my princess chair and I’ll sparkle your teeth?” I thought, really? Are you kidding me? What is this? I wanted to look into the princess phenomenon not because I thought it was bad or good but because I was curious about why it had become so ubiquitous and what it meant for our girls.

Some moms would say, what’s the big deal? It’s just a princess! Why does the “girlie girl” culture drive you so nuts?

I get into this argument a lot. I’m not against girls playing princess but that that has become the only thing they’ll play and the definition of girlhood is troublesome. Since 2000 when Disney first branded its Princess line, sales have reached four billion. But these movies are not about the character or morality of princesses, they’re about having the most stuff. And finding the guy. Ariel gives up her voice for a man! A lot of the girl culture that seems benign or protective is actually putting girls on a path to see femininity as sexualized, as narcissistic, as commercial. I’m not saying wearing a Cinderella dress at three is going to lead to texting nude shots of yourself to random boys, but the emphasis on the external as opposed to the internal is a connecting thread there.

What surprised you most in your research?

I discovered that there is a pink boutique edition of monopoly. The game claims to be all about the things girls love: “buy boutiques and malls, go on a shopping spree, pay your cell phone bill and get text and instant messages.” And instead of hotels and houses you buy shops and malls. You have to start wondering when this stuff is so ubiquitous, what girls are learning about who they’re supposed to be.

Apart from becoming Amish, is there an antidote to this girlie-girl culture?

I wish! It’s an ongoing discussion you need to get on top of earlier than you think. You can start asking them questions about the movies they watch: “Why do you think this woman is portrayed this way?” “Why do you think they always have the women wearing teeny tiny clothing?” They need to know that you don’t think it’s OK. If you understand what this stuff is, what the trajectory is, what the research says about girls and body and sexuality and beauty, then you’ll think more smartly about what you let in when you have a choice and how you’ll talk about it with your kids. But it won’t be easy.

Your daughter, Daisy, is seven now. Any princess stuff in your house?

She had two princess dresses, but neither was Disney. If kids are basing their play on existing characters that they’ve seen on television 400 times they tend to act out the script. Psychologists all say that fantasy play is so important for a child’s development but it doesn’t work when they’re playing a character that has a script. If she’s wearing a Cinderella dress she’ll only do Cinderella. That’s a problem about what girls learn about girls, but it’s also a problem with how kids today play in general, both girls and boys.

How has the information you uncovered changed you as a mom?

Well, it’s tough convincing your daughter that you’re offering her more choices by telling her no all the time. And I still blow it a lot. I had a meltdown in Target over a Barbie and both Daisy and I wound up in tears and my husband ended up fuming. But we’ve found so many wonderful alternatives—they’re not the first things you’re going to come across and they won’t be in Toys R Us but they’re out there. We watch Miyazaki’s animated cartoons that are girl-positive in the most casual, non-didactic way. We read bible stories about women and Greek myths and legends. And Daisy dresses up and plays all kinds of fantastical castle games. She really has a sense of herself both as female and as powerful because she’s had the opportunity to see femininity as being an internal idea rather than something you buy.

So, what do you guys think? Do any of you with girls ever worry about this stuff? Any thoughts for how to keep the girly-girl culture in check? The kids and I were playing the other day and Alex said he was going to be a superman and Nora and I could be princesses. I said, "I don't want to be a princess, can I be something else?" He said, "Sure mom, you can be Batman. And Nora can be Darth Vader." Baby steps....


February 1, 2011

Reason # 287 why I blog...

In a word.... Community.

Last night I had a full on meltdown. Not just a "Mommy Tantrum" but a moment when I was aware that I was throwing a fit, an overblown, getting me nowhere, useless fit.... but I couldn't stop myself.  I was almost witnessing the atrocious screaming mess as a horrified onlooker and not so much as an active participant. Well actually, I was the only participant, the girls were blinking, dumbfounded and no longer misbehaving. I am sure they were wondering What happened to Mommy? And who this monster standing in front of them was. It is that, right there, knowing that they were so shocked at my behavior that they stopped. Stopped what I had been asking them repeatedly to stop and sat...blinking..... It is a scene that will haunt me forever.

The details of what, why and my fit are not important. The fact that my Hubby stopped working and calmly took over and asked me to take a break is important. The fact that while it took getting so close to the end of my rope that I was dangling, kicking and screaming like a desperate lunatic; my DH did notice me there, no longer able to hang on. That is important. How he handled the situation... He didn't storm in and bark at the children for making mommy act like a raving mental patient. Nor did he burst in screaming at me for acting in such an appalling, frightful way. How he dealt with the moment, is important. 

Having a community of moms and dads, strangers and friends to say "It's been a; curled up in a ball, sobbing on the shower floor while hubby bathes and puts the kids to bed kind of a night....." to and then be able to disclose that I was at a breaking point and I was NOT a good Mommy.... Then to have this community put their arms around me and say....

I've been there.

It's not easy.

You are doing the best you can.

It's okay.....

Tomorrow is always fresh, with not mistakes in it....yet.

That is why I blog.

I blog because I am horrified at my behavior.  I need a place to vent and breathe and contemplate and get it out there, off my chest, off my shoulders and hopefully make some sense of it all.  Sense of how; after 15 days parenting the kids alone. A handful of those days dealing with croup and ear infections; and late night runs to Urgent Care; and cleaning vomit off my poor child and out of my car. After managing the kids and the daily grind, breakfast to bedtime and all the nightmares and monsters in the closet and everything else in between, on my own, for 15 days....How I possibly have a meltdown on a night when my husband was home, sitting in his office and able to step in.

I hate that I held it together through a sh*tty and long two week stretch and lost it on a random Monday night; with an extra set of hands at my disposal.  I hate that I carry it, and bury it and pack it all on until I cannot handle it anymore. I hate that instead of calmly walking downstairs and begging for help, admitting that I was about to lose it. Pleading for a much needed break I silently bear the weight of it all until I can no longer and I snap....

I am supposed to blog so that I can get out from under the sometimes crushing weight of it all. Say what I feel and what I mean and maybe even what I need.... and at least feel the relief of having said 'it', whatever 'it' is; even if who I said it to is not who I need to hear it. I am supposed to blog so that when all the little things happen I laugh, or cry or snort about them so that they don't become 'a crushing weight'.

I hate that I know when it's too much. I hate that I smile and say "Oh, I'm fine" when I am raging and screaming and drowning inside.  I have no one to blame but myself..... But I am grateful that there is someone here to help out. Even if it's not all the time.... I am not truly a single parent, all alone, with no one to help, ever. I am grateful that I can have a "curled up in a ball, sobbing moment" and there is someone here to help and someone here to listen and someone here to knock on the shower door and ask "Are you okay?" I know that I do not say "Thank You" near enough for what I do have. I know maybe if I could be openly grateful for the help I get as often and I feel grateful I would have help more often. I am a work in progress......... I will add that to the list of things I need to work on.... Above all else in times like theses, I am grateful for a community of people, out there in the dark to say.... It will be alright, you are not alone.

I blog because it can be dark, and lonely. I blog because this whole parenting thing is hard and it helps to know that I am not the only one who struggles to get it right.  I blog because the glow of my computer screen makes it a little less dark, and a little less lonely and that..... well that is something.

From the bottom of my heart, to those of you who sent messages and tweets last night checking in and offering words of encouragement. I am fine..... and I mean that honestly. I had a good scream {okay well a "bad scream"} and a good cry and a moment away and I feel better, once again composed, just a bit lighter of spirit and mind and quite a bit more ready to take on the day and the night and the week ahead....

Thank You for being my Community!

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