Monday, June 16, 2014

Yes, it's been a long time since I have posted here, but for Father's Day, I just really need to adress the Father's Day imbalance. 

Online, around Mother's Day, and frankly, any day, I see a ton of posts, memes and news articles critical of mothers. They had their baby on their wedding dress. They are breastfeeding in public. They put their kid in the car seat wrong. They took a sexy selfie with their kid in the background. I see postings criticizing moms for "keeping their kids away from the dads" for "introducing kids to their boyfriends" for doing this or that or having their kids around whatever. It's almost 100% about the moms. 

On the other hand, I see all posts with pictures of dads with their kids as "look at what a great dad". The guy is just holding a kid or doing her hair or feeding a kid and he's a great dad. As a dad, if you show up to a park with your kid one time, you are a "great" dad. 

This is terrible. We are doing a HUGE disservice to not only moms, but to the truly great dads. Because frankly, there really are some truly great dads out there. But they are getting lumped into the same category with some pretty shitty dads. 

I know great dads. I live with one and he's a step-dad. I work with a couple who I wish I was half the parent they are. These great dads take time off work to give comfort to sick kids. They deal with the day-to-day of healthy eating, snot, poop, tears, and blood. They worry about their kids having what they need, making friends, being sad. They teach their kids morals, how to ride a bike, how to shoot the paper off the straw. They take their kids on vacations to remember forever and spend time just cuddling them on the couch. They listen to their kids' feelings, thoughts, and dreams. They teach them skills. They help with homework. They play silly games. They let the kids win sometimes and don't other times. They love their kids for who those kids are. 

Not all dads are like this. And those dads that are great deserve special recognition.

Some dads do the minimum. They spend time with their kids because they have to, because they don't want the kids to spend more time with the mom, because they don't have the money to have someone else take care of them, or sometimes because they do actually want to spend time with them. They give them some macaroni and cheese and sit them down in front of the TV. Their kids are impediments to the things they want to do. These dads live their lives when they don't have their kids around. They may or may not use a car seat right. They don't particularly worry about their kids' emotional development, teaching their kids' morals or life lessons. They don't wonder about the "quality" of the time they spend with their kids. It's more about the fact that they spend time with them at all. And these dads absolutely know they are great dads because when they take their kids to the park after having avoided seeing them for months, you tell them what a great dad they are. 

There are dads who do less than the minimum. They don't put money or time toward their kids. They complain for everyone to hear about how the mom is "keeping" the kids from them. When in reality, the mom would give anything for a little break. She's broke, exhausted, and would love an afternoon to just take a break. She has tried to get him to spend time with his kids. She has begged, pleaded, and offered to pay for his gas. But he's "busy" or doesn't have any place to take them. And she is painfully frustrated and hurt when you post on line or tell her friends that she is an awful mom for keeping the kids from this great dad. 

There truly are dads who are wonderful and are kept from their children. I know one of them. I know he is a wonderful dad because I know his current wife and kids. He is a wonderful father to them. I don't know how he was with his kids from his first marriage, but I am his friend and I support him. He still tries to spend time with his children from his first marriage. But he is not the "norm". And he is not all dads. 

When we put all dads in the same category, we devalue fatherhood. Fatherhood is incredibly important to our children. Dads who disappear, refuse to help, take the kids to the park occasionally, or act like the kids get in the way of their life are not "great" dads. And when we call them great, we teach our children that being a dad is not much of a job and not much of something to be respected. This is wrong. Being a dad is one of the greatest, hardest, amazing jobs there is. We should teach our children that it is hard and fun and exactly what it means. Children should be in awe of the great dads. We all should. 

And we should stop teaching children that moms are just expected to get everything right. It's just their job. We are currently teaching children and each other that moms are supposed to give their kids healthy food, take care of the owies, always use the car seat right, always do their hair, always spend their money the right way, never take the wrong photo, never put a baby anywhere questionable, never make a mistake. And for all that care, diligence, and pressure, we won't thank them or think they are great. We will just expect it and wait for them to mess up. 

Fathers, on the other hand, we expect nothing. When they do happen to feed the child well, or take them to the park, we will call them "great". 

Frankly, I know a lot of great parents. Truly great parents. They are doing it right. Both moms and dads. They make mistakes. It happens. They feel horrible about the mistakes. But I know they are great parents, so I am going to support them when they make a mistake, And I am going to let them know that they are great parents. I know they are great parents because I know some that aren't great. And there is a difference and the difference is not gender. 

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Monday, June 16, 2014
Category: Motherhood
Monday, August 12, 2013

It's been a long time since I have written on here. Not surprising. It's Summer. Vacations. Birthdays. Etc. 

Those delays seem to be the definition of motherhood. When I talk to my other mom friends, we tell each other we will call again soon, but months go by before we do. And making plans to go out? Forget it. As a mom, a close friend is someone you have gone out with even once in the time since your children were born. It's worse for single moms. Since we pack our kids with us, a close single mom friend is someone I have ever finished a sentence with. (It takes real dedication.)

Every mom I know has a list of un-sent thank you cards, uncompleted Pinterest projects, un-run errands.

A successful day is a day when I only put off half of my plans. 

Oddly, some of the things that get delayed seem downright stupid. Going to the bathroom shouldn't get delayed. Eating shouldn't get delayed. But they do! It doesn't matter what is on the schedule when one of my kids says they need to poop. Or cries because they're hurt. I drop everything and take care of that. And kids get hurt a lot. 

Outings get delayed or cancelled because sometimes that's the only way for the world to impose penalties on screaming, throwing things, or hitting. Some things get delayed because I just can't get back up off the couch once I sit down. 

I wish I could get everything done in a day, but days are just so short! So forgive me if I forget to call when I said I would. Please forgive me for the thank you card that's 2 years late. Please understand that I'm thinking about you. But I have a kid on the potty and I really need to go myself. 

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Great project by CNN. They are addressing women's issues by asking women what they would say to girls around the world. 

Here's a link to America Ferrera in a letter to girls.

"When one girl in the world suffers for being born female, every girl in the world is made vulnerable."

I will be following this project. 

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just finished the book The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis. Great book. Admittedly, the changing perspective can be confusing and it becomes a bit of a slog in a couple of spots, but otherwise it is great. 

The characters include Nicolo Machiavelli and Leonardo DaVinci. And the book traces a story that purports to outline the development of Machiavelli's beliefs in The Prince. For a serious part of the book, I was thinking that this is not the Machiavelli I know. But the book outlines his transformation in understanding. It is compelling and the story is great. It really draws you in. 

I wish the author had done more with the female lead character. I got the impression he was floundering in how to fill that character's understanding of the world out. But she had a good story that he could have worked with more. 

It was interesting to read the notes at the end and see where things had come from in the story. I love a well-researched story. I recommend this book.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Here is a list of a few things I want to know right now: 

1. Why does the dog sleep across the top of the stairs every night? I would think getting your face stepped on would be a deterrent, but clearly not. Is that spot on the tile really that much more comfortable than the carpet? 

2. Why is the dryer so excited? When the load is done, the dryer sings a little happy tune. It goes on for a while and it's the most chipper thing I have ever heard. I like to make up words to the song. 

On good days, the song goes something like, "I'm done drying your laundry. Your laundry. Your laundry. Your whites are really fluffy. They smell good too." 

On bad days, it's more like, "Go on and stick your head in. Or the kitten..." You know, I'll just keep that to myself.

3. What is up with my son and buttons? It doesn't even seem to matter what the button does. It's 90 degrees in here? The fireplace has a button! Now, we are in the firey pit of Hell. Why can't he have a button on him that just puts him to sleep? He could push it all day long and we would both be happy. 

4. Who thought it was a good idea to domesticate cats? Some Egyptian sitting around thinking, "I don't much like sleeping. I'd like something around that is awake at night to make noise and wake me up at 2 AM biting my toes. That'd be awesome."

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On the radio program, The Take Away, they were discussing outdated gadgets we still own. People talked about smartphones, game systems, Walkmans. And I wondered when I became so old.

I still used a rotary dial phone until just a few years ago. I remember when I got my first cordless phone. I would stand next to the base to talk on it, to the endless amusement of my friends. What's sad is that, at the time, I was a computer programmer. 

I suppose I solidly walk in the new and the old when it comes to technology. I have a huge, new, "smart" TV. But, I also have an old, 27" box TV that is heavier than the giant screen. We use them both. And we probably use them both the same amount. I am equally confused as to why we would get rid of the old one when it still works as I am about why I would want to use Facebook on the new one. 

When I use my shiny, tiny laptop at work, I sit next to a machine that looks like it is out of the 1950's. The technology used in modern medicine often looks like it is out of the technological stone age. Especially in specialty areas where equipment is not mass produced, the boxy equipment can give people who walk in with their more powerful smartphones pause. But the equipment does the job, so we hang on to it. 

I recently caught flack for being the only person at a meeting taking notes with a pen and paper. And I admit that sometimes I take photos of my notes and organize them electronically. But taking notes with a pen allows me a flexibility I can't comfortably find on my laptop. 

In 2001 (a virtual lifetime ago), the author Marc Prensky coined the terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant." Those raised with the modern technologies and those who were not. But I think we have missed a large group. 

I believe I'm a digital bi-lingual. A Tech-Luddite. Like a Latino-American who is raised in one culture and language with family and friends and another in the state and country where they live. I can communicate on a tech and non-tech level. I suspect a lot of people are the same way. 

And I think there is an advantage. I don't get itchy if I step away from my smartphone to enjoy a sunset, but I still get a kick out of watching a show in 3D on that giant TV screen.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

I have been looking for a good alternative to the sticker chart for the kids' chores and today, I found a link to a good one. It meets all my criteria:

It doesn't use stickers or markers.

It lets me use my laminator (something I always look forward to).

It lets me change the chores at will.

And I can be a bit creative.

Here's the link to the great idea.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013
Category: Nursing

Hi. I'm Shelly and this is Isis, my introduction to the world of parenting. I'm not claiming to be a Parenting Expert. In fact, I'm mostly laying claim to my parenting failures. Failure is what happens when you try to do everything RIGHT as a parent. Yet, somehow, she is turning out to be a fairly cool little person....who throws crayons.

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