Promote Kindness – A Mother’s Story!

Unfortunately there have been too many articles exposing the experience of women, of moms that have been encountering judgement and criticism from…. OTHER MOMS! This is truly disappointing given that we live in a time where we have more access to one another and hence having a wonderful opportunity to becoming part of a large support system no matter where in the world we are at. And yet, the opposite is happening. Moms are finding themselves more alone than ever. Moms are finding themselves more depressed than ever. They are hiding their true feelings for fear of further judgement even from those closest to them. So they go through life internalizing instead of finding the help and support that they need. Let’s promote kindness, let’s be each others listen ear and shoulder to cry on. Let’s allow others to vent and help them to exhale. I wanted to share with everyone here the story of a mother who has finally spoken out. She has broken her silence. Her situation may not be something you may understand or ever encountered in your own life. But that’s the point. Learn from each other. If you listen with an open mind and open heart, you might find out all the different obstacles out there confronting moms everywhere. She needs to connect with other moms out there that may be going through the same thing, but may be too scared because they too think they are the only one. I want you to welcome this new blogger with open arms. This has to be one of the most amazing, heart tugging stories I’ve heard about. Let her share her story with you. Reach out to her with the support you would want in return if you were in a needed situation.

Here’s to The Life Stand! Let’s all take a stand together.

— The Pretty Platform

Shunning is Abusive! End of Conversation!

If you are a parent, most surely you have used the “Time Out” method to discipline your child for unacceptable behavior. A moment for the child to “reflect”, if that’s even possible for a child to do on what he or she did wrong. The child is set aside, as the world around them either at home or school continues on. After about 5 minutes, a parent will lovingly kneel down next to their child, look at them straight in the face and ask them if they “learned” their lesson, give them a hug and kiss as the child promises to never commit their “horrific” transaction again. All is good in their world. But research has proven that neglecting, ignoring or rejecting a child leaves them without the proper resources to cope with difficult times. If they receive little to no affection or attention from their inner circle, they become open to anyone outside ready to cause them harm. They also develop depression, stress, social anxieties and personality issues.

Have you ever asked why a prisoner experiences solitary confinement? He most likely acted against prison rules/standards/laws and the idea is to punish them by depriving him/her from normal human interaction for a few days, in hopes to rehabilitate the prisoners behavior.  Here’s where it’s very different from a loving time out though. Regardless of where in the world, prison officials have been guilty of isolating prisoners for months or even years at a time. After countless research, professionals have found that this type of segregation has contributed to increased mental health problems, including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations and depression.

Interestingly, some religions similarly practice shunning as a “loving” method to discipline congregational members for either committing a biblical sin, not meeting an organizational standard, or even just questioning certain religious ideas. This practice of shunning is in essence solitary confinement for the sinner or wrong-doer from all family and friends, by persistently ignoring, avoiding or rejecting the one targeted. And as with the two examples prior, depriving a person from NORMAL human interaction, in this case from their loved ones, will in fact have a negative effect. In religion though, just as long as the one being shunned turns BACK to the organization, then all has been validated, without assessing the psychological and emotional damage already done.

Take a closer look to what you truly consider as loving disciplinary methods and research the facts. I hope my experience gives you the strength to say “no more”.

— The Pretty Platform


I freed my mind.
I made myself strong.
A decision many feel is wrong.
Electing my own path.
Despite the daggers and wrath.
All because I did the math.

Wrong with what though?
Not putting their leaders on a throne,
or not feeling they’ve been bestowed?
To not serve your way or not regret?
Or to be an Independent Thinker lest not forget.

So I’m shunned despite being a good mom and loving wife.
A hard worker and loyal friend is how I live my life.
Guiding my children to love and respect,
Because I believe differently; then my worth is stamped REJECT!

I’m told that I’m loved and missed.
That I’m in their hearts and thoughts.
But my address hasn’t changed.
My phone remains same.
I reason I’m the same person,
But to deaf ears my words are lost.

I didn’t lie to a leader, extort from a loved one, or betray a marriage oath.
I didn’t harm a soul.
I didn’t turn my back on a friend.
No justice to me, Whatever they say goes.
Even though they surround themselves with an excess of this,
magnified on overload.

“All of this is pardoned” they profess,
“So as long as you confess”;
“The rule of forgiving up to 77 times”.
But I myself committed NO crime.
Yet you bow your head as you walk by
and can’t look at me in the eye.

So I stand firm despite your opinion on “my kind”.
I set an example to my children that loving kindness has no confines.
It doesn’t start and end with those of like mind,
elitists’ are self-assigned.
We are all of human-kind, which means that in MY book…
No man or woman are left behind.
Extending a simple word or smile on to others is how I like to shine.

My exposed thoughts are never meant to offend.
These words are meant to help others comprehend.
I’ve promised to be open and honest from the start.
That I will no longer pretend.
My worth as a person and woman will no longer be pulled apart.
I advise all to take heart,
and be smart…
There is no shame in an open mind,
and that’s all I have to impart.

— The Pretty Platform

I Don’t Care if she’s a Feminist! Don’t Forget to be a Gentleman!

True Story –

I’m 26 years old, 8 months pregnant expecting my first child. I’m commuting back and forth to Manhattan via the A train from Queens. At this stage of my pregnancy I’m getting out of work just a tad earlier to avoid the evening rush back home. The August heat makes waiting on the platform almost unbearable. Train is approaching and the anticipation of an air-conditioned car AND a seat made me feel like a teenager waiting for the last few seconds before that dismissal bell. I step in, feeling my skin cool down. I look both ways scanning for a seat, of which all are occupied. This train in particular was of the older model which means that it’s perimeter bench seating allowed everyone to sit facing to the center of the car. With just myself and a handful of commuters standing, there’s a clear view from one end of the car to the other. Do you know what else was in clear view? My huge belly protruding from my thin frame making it an unmistakable assumption that I was truly with child. I was young, humble, not expecting much from anyone, so there I remained standing, stop after stop without a whimper or complaint. What made this ride interesting and memorable? Everyone in that car was a man. I remember that clearly because I felt somewhat bad standing with my belly right in front of any of the seated passengers. First seated passenger, poor guy kept trying to veer his eyes to any direction but forward. I move over to provide HIM some relief. Next seated passenger quickly closed his eyes in a poor attempt to seem asleep. Now I was just amused. I move again. Next seated passenger moved his newspaper so close to his face I’m sure he got smudge marks on his nose. Pitiful. I thought about any man I knew and made a mental note to remind them to never behave this way if they were in this situation.

Just then a voice, “Miss! Miss! Over here. Please come sit”. I get knocked out of my thoughts, quickly look over to the right, and at the end of the car, in the corner space was a woman. An older woman; gesturing me over to her. I smile, waddle my way over to her, not with the intention of taking her seat but to at least find some camaraderie.  I would never take a seat from an older person. I was still younger and stronger (subliminal message). I kindly rejected her persistence but thanked her dearly for her chivalry. Well, that set her off. Oh, the exhilaration of speaking ones mind. She loudly directed herself to that testosterone filled car, “You should all be ashamed of yourselves that an old woman was more of a gentleman than all of you put together. Your mothers, your daughters, your sisters and aunts would all be ashamed of you. Shame on you”. I smiled again. She got off the next stop. I took her seat and enjoyed the next 35 minutes in cool bliss.

Why would this lack of chivalrous behavior be acceptable to some and not to others? I have repeated this story throughout the years to many of male friends, acquaintances and coworkers. And one after another, year after year I heard, “I would NEVER have behaved that way. Not me. I would’ve given up my seat. I was raised differently than that”.  And yet I continue to scratch my head because I am sure the moms of those seated passengers would take offense to that comment, having spent years doing their darndest to mold them in to perfect gentlemen.

Now, think about it. When we, male or female were being raised by our very own “Best Mom Ever”, did she tell you that we could forego those well-mannered attributes toward others if you had, let’s say; a paid ride, or were waiting on-line for a while, or if you were living/working in the city, if you were tired or maybe if your boss pissed you off? Think hard. Think! Think! Can’t recall that? No? Of course not!

Just recently, on an hour bus ride back home, a middle-aged man who didn’t give up his seat to the only standing woman spoke his mind directly to her. Although she never requested to sit, he felt the need to exclaim, “I pay for a seat. You didn’t need to get on. If you wanted to sit you could have waited for the next bus”. This man felt the need to excuse outwardly what he knew would not gain him any brownie points back home. Just for the record, after about 30 minutes in, he made a 180 and insisted she take his seat. He then proceeded to say, “My daughter would kill (he actually emphasized this word) me if she knew I didn’t offer my seat up to a woman. I was only trying to make a point”. A point to whom? To this woman or to himself? Did his hibernated chivalrous right shoulder conscious finally wake up? Does he get a brownie point now?

Now, what about the counter debate that things are how they are because women insisted on equality throughout the years and THIS has become the deteriorated repercussion of it all?

Bull!!! Hogwash!!! Balderdash!!! (Fill in the blank with your own).

Look, lost in today’s society is good old fashion chivalry. Opening a door, allowing passage, picking up a dropped item, pulling out a chair and giving up a seat. Yes, women wanted equality, of course; to vote, in work, in salary, to education, to have a voice. But that should never, ever have reduced a man’s ability to be kind to women, or to other men, and even to the older generation. If men believed in years past that they were of superior quality, then shouldn’t they have raised a woman’s bar to be equally kind to men as well as to other women. Why did men allow their idea of Feminism diminish their attributes, instead of holding women up to theirs? Or is the idea of mistreating others, being unkind just appeal to them more? Does it self-gratify some deep rooted anger issue or superiority complex?

Stop using Feminism. Stop throwing around this word as an excuse and a crutch to let the monster out. Every human being needs to go back to basics and learn how to treat one another. Keep mental inventory of how your mom would expect you to behave. Refer back to the Emily Post Guide for good manners if you have to (or to my cheat sheet below). And for goodness sake, stop playing the victim and step up to every opportune moment. If you don’t, just know that some dude that mirrors your own actions will treat your daughter the same way. And then you can recount the time to her, that her “best ever” and perfect daddy (or mommy) behaved just as poorly. Good luck with that!

– Elke

When in doubt, refer to the below:
20 Way to be a Gentleman
20 Way to be a Gentleman