Quit Bellyaching Over Peter Rabbit!

Yesterday, my husband who knows me well sent me a link to an intriguing article about some parents boycotting Peter Rabbit the movie on the premise that it encourages “allergy bullying”. In a nutshell, this was due to a scene depicting the annoying fictionalized  bunnies who slingshot some blackberries in to the mouth of the farmer, knowing very well that he was allergic to the berry. Then causing the farmer to go into anaphylactic reaction and collapse, but thankfully had an EpiPen with him to counter the effect. As a result of this boycott, Sony provided an apology to all the offended parents  for the insensitive material.

I’ll have to admit that it took me more than just a hot minute to ponder over this and come to terms with how I felt about the situation. I mean, I have 3 kids and as any loving parent would, I worry about bullying on a daily basis. Initially I would not have thought much about it, but then all this pondering opened up a floodgate of many other things I worry about and find quite concerning with this movie. Here’s the thing though… I’ve searched the web, and I’m not sure why other groups are not speaking up.

Why isn’t the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aspca)  boycotting due to what clearly is a depiction of animal cruelty as the farmer is always trying to trap/kill these rabbits?  Why isn’t the US Hunger Relief Organization boycotting due to the disregard for crops, when there are so many starving children in this nation? Why aren’t the Feminist groups boycotting the movie on the premise that the main character has a strong masculine name, Peter and his male sidekicks name is Benjamin while the females have names like Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, which denote weakness and appearance attribution? Why aren’t  Law Enforcement agencies  speaking up and issuing a warning on the movie due its glorification of gang-like behavior, as Peter Rabbit and his Gang shows outright disregard for the law as they consistently trespass the farmers property, STEAL his crops and even try to seek revenge?

I think I may be losing sleep worrying that these parents who are boycotting the movie solely on the bullying scene though are in effect helping society minimize all these other offenses that may mold and nurture our children toward a life of crime.

Between the gang, the stealing, and the bullying alone, I’d say this 1 hour and 40 minute movie is a recipe for disaster for all our children, undoing ALL the positive qualities we’ve been trying to instill in them since birth.

Are you sensing some interjected sarcasm? Maybe a little.

You see, sans the “allergy bullying” scene, I can say with confidence that prior to buying a ticket to this movie, I already knew that taking my kids to watch it would mean they’d be exposed to rabbit misfits, stealing, conniving, trespassing and battling with an adult. The fact is that we are provided with all that information in the long-winded trailers littering kid friendly television time slots, and hence probably why most kids jump at the chance to watch it. As parents, we too have seen the trailers, because, of course every responsible parent is fully aware of what their kids are exposed to on television. And every prepared parent logically researches the actual premise of a movie before exposing their innocent and vulnerable offspring to these larger than life influential images. And every intelligent parent knows well to never allow animation fool us in to believing that all is wholesome in the world of Hollywood. Take those cute anthropomorphic bunnies and replace them with actual human kids and BAM!, an off-limit flick. Or, forget human replacement. How about substituting these bunnies with cartoon characters the likes of the Simpson’s, and BAM!, still off-limits.

A piece of advice to parents that get offended by Hollywood’s portrayal of ANYTHING. Go big or go home. Don’t pick apart a movie just because YOUR kid suffers from allergies, then minimize or turn a blind eye to all the other probable worrisome faults of the same movie.  Food bullying? Sure, that’s definitely wrong. But then boycott the plethora of issues with the entire movie. If your expectation is that an entertainment corporation needs to be sensitive to YOUR plight, then make sure that you too are sensitive to everyone else’s plight. How else will you be able to teach your child to be inclusive? Or will your singular concern teach your child that only HIS issues are worth your time and voice?

Here are other pieces of advice. Research thoroughly the context of anything. Watch with clear eyes the trailers and information given on anything. Use those negative portrayals to teach our children valuable lessons. Let us also teach our children that the world cannot logically accommodate every one and every situation, but provide them with great tangible solutions on how to handle each. And last, let us all remember to put the responsibility on to ourselves as our kids main source of values and stop expecting Hollywood, or religion, or politicians or our neighborhood to do it for us.

At the end of the day, your kid will forget Peter Rabbit in a month and remember everything YOU taught them in all their years.

The Pretty Platform 

 

Just a Little Jealous of the Kids!

Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” comes to mind. I have an extra verse for her… Only child status without actually being an only child.

The story of my life given that my sister came 19 years before my appearance in to this world. My only sister, my only sibling lived outside of our home, already a parent to her own child by the time I was born. I surely couldn’t compete with her own offspring for attention. As a parent myself now, I know she couldn’t just drop being a mom to be a sister to a little girl. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want her to. Oh, how I yearned for the relationship some of my friends had with their own siblings, fights and all. I wanted to have a doubled wardrobe. I wanted to sit crossed legged in the dark with her talking about boys. I wanted shared secrets, and a secret language. Well, as we all know, we can go ahead and dream our lives differently, but that doesn’t change a thing. So you grow up, you acclimate and you move on.

Fast forward to my 40’s. I am now a parent to three boys, three brothers, three different types of personalities and hence three different types of relationships. But when I look at my two youngest boys, which are closer in age, I find myself fascinated with their dynamic. You may even say borderline jealous. No, no, not in a dysfunctional, weird mom kind of way. And no, I don’t have “sibling issues”. What I do have is a keen eye for the little meaningful things, the details, and that’s due to my endearing flaw of observing everything and everyone. That includes primarily my kids.

My two youngest, 8 and 5, will love each other to annoyance. I am constantly yelling at them to shut it, to be nice, to give it back, to stop the name calling, to stop tattling, to stop blaming, and to not hit each other. Sounds dreadful? Not really, since more than that are the moments I catch them chatting about “kid” topics, having shared interests, playing Nerf tag or air hockey. The eight year old helping the 5-year-old get through a video game level. The 5-year-old reminding me he needs to give his brothers a goodnight kiss before going to bed. I watch the two of them laying together in bed laughing about nonsense. They build forts together. They even share the same neighborhood best friend, for now at least.

 

I pride myself in having instilled in them the importance for closeness, the need to be there for each other, to share themselves, to defend each other against the world and to be “brothers” in both flesh and spirit. So yes, when I encapsulate the beauty of these two boys, I am an itty-bitty, teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy jealous. Deep down wishing I had this same type of relationship with my own sis. Imagining what it would have been like had we been close in age, growing up together, experiencing things within the same household, driving our poor mother crazy. I would guess it would be somewhat similar (female version of course).

Hey, if you’re a parent and you take stock of your kids beautiful life and have gotten just a little green, don’t be so hard on yourself, albeit of course lovingly, functionally and sanely. I certainly don’t feel bad about it. We are giving them more than what we had. We are providing them with opportunities we may not have had ourselves. We are teaching and guiding in a way more suitable to them. And isn’t that what every parent wants for their kids? More opportunities, more love, more laughter, more fun, more adventure and more growth? Absolutely!!!

I’ll leave you to the rest of your day, since now I’ve got to go investigate what that sound of breaking glass was. I’m sure those boys will blame each other. Ah!, brotherly love.

— The Pretty Platform

I was a Jehovah’s Witness – No Blood Transfusion My Ass

What would you do to save your child’s life? Anything? Everything? As parents, it is not only our job to protect our young, but love moves us to do so innately. Would you sacrifice your child like the biblical Abraham was willing to do? Would you sacrifice your son for strangers like the Christian god did for the masses? Are you willing to do that right now if asked to do so? Where do you draw the line in the name of religion?

Please listen to my testimony and let me know what you would have done.

My Name is NOT Mommy!

A weekend conversation between myself and my seven year old son. A conversation every parent should have with their child.

**********************************

Mom! Mama! Mommy! Mother! Ma!

ENOUGH!!!

Darling…my sweet little boy…I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. But all day you’ve been asking me for stuff. Stuff that YOU want. Stuff that YOU like. And I know that for most of it, you need my help to either get it or achieve it. You’re too young to cook, I made breakfast and lunch. You needed permission for a snack after breakfast AND lunch, I served you a reasonable portion. You wanted to watch that movie on cable,  I entered the password. You requested time to go play outside, I granted it. You reminded me about that book, I read you a chapter filled with the fun voice effects you enjoy so much. You asked me to come see that gross video of that dog licking the screen for the twentieth time, I conceded with a smile. But really? You want juice? It’s in the bottom draw. You can get it yourself. No more. Not…for the next…two…hours.

But, mama….

No… Do you remember what my name is?

Elke?

Yes, Elke. My name is Elke. And do you know why I ask?

No.

I ask because THAT is who I am. I am Elke. Not mommy, not mom. When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream of growing up to be “mommy”. That is what YOU call me out of respect. And it’s a job I do willingly because I love you. But it’s NOT who I am. Do you know WHO I am?

Elke?

Yes, and I love my name and I love who I am. But did you notice that all day today was about what YOU liked to do and what made YOU happy? And it makes me happy to make you happy. But it also makes me happy to make ME happy. Do you think it’s fair for me to be happy by doing the many things that make ME happy too?

Yes.

And what things do I love to do? I know you know.

Read and write? Draw and paint?

Yes, you are correct again. Those are all things I love to do. But I need time to do them. What happens to all the stuff I love to do if I’m spending all my time helping you do all the things you love to do?

You can’t do the things you love to do?

Bingo. And do you think that’s fair when there are many things you can do for yourself and there is no need to constantly interrupt me? Is that fair?

No.

Great! So what’s the lesson to be learned with this conversation?

You need time to be you. And I should go do some things by myself?

Oh boy, I knew I raised you right. I love you so very much. And if there is something really important you need from me, you can find me in the home office. You know I never ever lock the door.

I love you too, Mommy…Elke.

Ha! Ha! Very funny.

 

— The Pretty Platform (a.k.a. Elke…. a.k.a. Mom! Mama! Mommy! Mother! Ma!)

Do You Remember Picture Day?

Picture Day!!!

Do you remember that day as a kid or only now as a parent? What is it about this day that gets a person all out of sorts.

I remember the days leading up to picture day as a kid in elementary school. Picking out the right outfit while trying to convince my mother that my opinion on the ideal outfit was better than her opinion on what I should wear for that day. My hair was always another issue. Growing up with a ‘beautician’ had both its benefits and drawbacks. The drawback? She thought she knew best when it came to styling MY hair. Any other day I’d give in to her whims, but this was MY day, MY picture, MY moment to shine. And then there was practicing the smile in the mirror. Teeth or no teeth. Serious and mysterious, or happy and lively.

The day was here and you would walk in to class that morning hoping your choices held up to those of your classmates. Lisa wore a dress too. Good, I wasn’t the only one. Thelma wore dangling earrings, I wish my mom allowed me to wear those. Is Trisha wearing a bit of makeup? Never in a thousand years would that fly in my home.

Now you find yourself in front of the photographer on a cold metal stool propped in from of a humdrum backdrop. A stranger that questions his career choice every time he has to deal with over 100 kids in one morning. A stranger that doesn’t care if you blinked. A stranger that doesn’t care if your collar wasn’t straight, or if you had a hair out-of-place. “Sit up straight, face the lens and smile”. A bright light, you blink and it’s over. “Next!”

Let us not forget the class picture. Row positioning was of great importance. You created an entire outfit around this moment in hopes that it could be displayed front and center. Tall kids second row, the rest of us shuffled between sitting in the front row or having to stand on a bench behind everyone else. Front row, third seat in. Score!

And just like that, the day is over.

Your stress now enters the next phase…WAITING. The weeks go by. Then one day, after everyone has settled in to their seat, the teacher asks you to come up and grab your long-awaited envelope as she calls your name for attendance. A little portion of my spirit dies in that moment. We are given about 30 minutes to mingle and show our classmates our picture. For some it’s a moment to “show-off”. I do not fall in to that category. I hesitantly open my envelope, I glance in and let out a sigh of relief. I’m happy with it. My hair, my outfit, even my smile holds up to my expectations. We all laugh, admire one another and even comfort others.

Fast forward about 35 years. Today was my son’s picture day. Last night I filled out the form highlighting MY choice of backdrop. Blue. I picked out his outfit, nothing dressy and nothing stuffy. A nice tailored grey t-shirt, long pants. He’s been wearing shorts to school so far since technically it’s still summer. This morning, I present him with the chosen outfit and have to go in to some diatribe about the long pants. We compromised with a pair of shorts in his backpack if he wants to change afterwards. He holds still while I gel up his hair just the way HE likes it. And then we take literally 30 seconds to practice his smile and he stresses out about his two missing front teeth. He’s relieved when I tell him that’ll be the best part of this picture.

I have now entered the next phase as a parent….WAITING…. but this time I’m not stressed. Because no matter what, I know I’m going to just love having my son’s 2nd grade school picture. I just hope he showed off his missing front teeth and his one dimple.

I love picture day!

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Back To School – You’ve Been Warned

In the spirit of back to school season, I wanted to quickly send out my sympathy and empathy to all the Moms and Dads out there worldwide that will be receiving the torturous, tedious, and distressing task of… HOMEWORK. (cue the dramatic sound effect). 

This comes in the guise of little Timmy’s homework (insert your child’s name here), quietly nestled in his take-home folder which Timmy so excitedly chose himself during your back-to-school shopping outing together. But don’t be fooled!!! This is actually a long-established custom, proven to test each household adult claiming responsibility over little Timmy (note that I don’t have any kids named Timmy).

It innocently begins with all the handouts that ONLY the parents or guardians are to fill out and sign that first week of school.

  • They are assessing our sense of urgency by how quickly we send them back with Timmy.
  • They are sizing us up by how accurately and detailed we fill out each emergency contact section.
  • They are scrutinizing the short cuts we may take by abbreviating or writing in “same” for each parent or siblings address we need to list out.
  • My husband lovingly describes me as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m sure they have Graphologists on site to analyze our handwriting patterns to psychologically identify us and evaluate our possible personality characteristics.

Continue reading “Back To School – You’ve Been Warned”

My Son’s Open-Heart Surgical Scar Reminds Me Of…

Would you say that you are one of the many people today that lean heavily on the statement… “everything happens for a reason”, especially after an emotional event? Attaching a meaning to a traumatic moment seems to help many cope with the shock that trickles in quickly thereafter. Although I could empathize with this very “protective” behavior, I do not believe the mainstream superstition behind this claim. But I will admit that I have an ability to work out a lesson nonetheless; a “what’s the moral to this story” from almost anything that has occurred in my life. We can all thank our favorite childhood fables like The Boy that Cried Wolf or Little Red Riding Hood for instilling that useful habit. After each relationship, I’ve learned how to make better partner options. After each uncomfortable call with a debt collector, I’ve learned better budgeting skills. After each medical scare I’ve learned how to take better care of myself. Even after burning toast a few times, I get to “know the settings” of each new toaster allowing me to achieve a perfectly golden brown slice. Aside from the toast, these experiences have provided very valuable lessons that have changed my life … although my oldest toast-lovin’ son will beg to differ on the latter. He says I make the best buttered toast. Now there’s an accolade you don’t often come across.

I’m very comforted by the fact that I personally bear the control to draw out the lesson (or lessons) from all that happens, and NOT that every event was set, destined or allowed to happen to provide me with a lesson or test.

Think about that for a minute. Imagine IF for just one second I was wrong.

My youngest son who is to turn 4 in a few months comes to mind. Some know my experience with him, but I’ll fill you in. When I was about 6 months pregnant, my munchkin was diagnosed with TGA (Transposition of the Great Arteries). In a nutshell, a fluke in his arteries. They were flipped from their normal position. Simply put… he could survive “normally” inside of me since I was breathing for him, but he would not survive in the real world without having to undergo open heart surgery for an arterial switch immediately after being born.  We had already gone through 2 rounds of IVF to create him, now we had to keep him alive.

When I look back at the moment I shared the medical news with others, an outpouring of emotional suggestions came with it. Pray to god was the most popular. Pray to Jehovah for strength and comfort. Some even went as far to assure me that “everything will be alright”. There were other reminders sent my way… “Jehovah doesn’t abandon those that serve him” and “God does not test us beyond what we can handle”.

We set out for the best surgeon for this procedure. We carried on until the memorable day that my son came in to this world. I couldn’t even touch his newborn skin since they had to rush him away to get him hooked up to a breathing tube and stabilize him. I saw him for only 2 seconds then I was left in that room, alone, to contemplate all that had happened to lead up to this moment and to meditate on all that we would about to experience.

Fast forward … my son survived it, and so did we. So, does that mean that everyone was right? Everything WAS going to be alright? God did not abandon us? He gave us the strength needed?

What lessons did I make sure to pull from this experience?

  1. If what others or what the bible teaches is correct, I would have to rest on the fact that God had tested us. He tested us with the life of an unborn child. An innocent baby. A human life. Sure, it wasn’t beyond what I could handle, but it does not minimize the lack of moral standing of testing someone with the life of another.
  2. I gained strength in the love I had for my son. I gained strength as all parents do when it means having to protect their young. We had insisted on creating him, no way we were giving up now.
  3. Prayer did not help save my son. A cardiologist that detected the condition early on did. A team of doctors that came together. A surgeon did. His skill and experience in this procedure gave my son a chance of survival. And a blood transfusion is what sealed that deal. Even though the surgery itself was a success, a child that small and new could not generate enough blood on his own to bring up his levels. And according to the religious organization I once belonged to, that action in itself is going against god, so obviously, god did not save my son, nor was god with us.
  4. That morality and a sense to do good and what’s right comes from within and from logical thought. Not through the hundreds of different teachings and beliefs in the world.

Seeing my son’s scar is a constant reminder to live, to explore, to learn and to grow. And saving my son’s life was the moral thing to do, the right thing to do, the human and loving thing to do. And how dare anyone try to tell me or guilt me in to thinking otherwise.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Fear Life… Not GOD

When we’re kids, the norm is to be taught by our parents with regards to what’s right and wrong. Along with that, teachers seem to also have a hand in how our psyche evolves toward these two elements given how much time we spend under their influence. I’m no doctor, but I was definitely a kid, and as kids, we are vulnerable and modifiable to the standards by which we are raised.

Right or wrong. Yes or no. Stop or go. If you’re a kid, you hear these CONSTANTLY. As an adult, you hand these out like hotcakes to your own kids.

And with these standards come the dreaded consequences. A smack to the hand, a timeout, no gadget time, parental disappointment. Temporary stings that adults hope will be enough to teach these little people cause and effect.

What happens though when you’re all grown up?

In most cases knowing the difference between right and wrong can be simple. It can be logical, so as long as the adult, for argument sake is of sane mind and emotion. As for the scenarios where the line between the two get a little fuzzy, for the most part, it’s an ethical stand that begins to trump logic. But the logical aspect of even those blurred moments still hold the foundation of the argument in question. “Sure, it’s still wrong to (kill, cheat, steal)… although (A, B or C, fill in the blank with self-defense, true love, poverty)“.

And what is our punishment as adults for these infractions? Again, logic comes in to play here. If the offense is one against a set governmental law then we get court time to be then handed our sentence accordingly. Not difficult folks. Depending what that judge and jury dishes out, the “sting” can be either temporary or fatal.

Cause and effect.

Now take the two; childhood and adulthood and add the FEAR OF GOD to the equation. What happens then? Does it change anything? Does it change people? Without thinking it through, you may instantly say that it does, but I can tell you with all certainty that it does NOT change a thing. Don’t be too quick to get offended. My statement is not one of blasphemous or critical nature. That’s just reality.

Growing up, as many other kids, I was initially taught about a heaven and hell. An eternal hell-fire that waits for anyone, man or child if disobedient to god. A place of torture as the ramifications of going against his written rules. Other religions do not teach about this place of torture, but it does provide eternal death as the consequence. Long term punishment. From a higher being. Your creator gives you life and he can easily take it away or make you pay forever.

Cause and effect.

What I have noticed is that the knowledge of someone more powerful than yourself does NOT deter someone from taking a certain path. Knowing the possible consequence of a Hell or eternal death is not enough. Even those that are “god fearing” do not take this as their foundation of determination. I was raised in two different religious organizations, and although they are filled with some very spiritually righteous people, they are also filled with the spiritual inversion of that. Sure, you find that everywhere in the world, but my point though is that being closer to god, or neck-deep in religious activities, or truly believing in a god does not change your desire to act differently. People don’t truly fear god. If they did, they wouldn’t  “serve” god and sleep with someone before being married. If they truly feared god, they wouldn’t smoke. If they truly feared god, they wouldn’t gamble, or swear, or get inebriated or secretly celebrate events that are against their organization. They wouldn’t consult psychics, masturbate or watch porn. They wouldn’t allow women to teach (I understand your reaction to this last one, but hey, it’s actually in the bible). They wouldn’t try to justify their actions with their “imperfect” ideas. They wouldn’t minimize their god’s standards with human reasoning. They just don’t fear god.

What have I seen though? That many of these very same people (myself included) do actually fear, but it’s life and the consequence their actions have in ‘learned’ effects that they (we) fear. Smoking can equal cancer and other ugly and painful health issues. Constant inebriation can lead to alcoholism, blackouts, cheating. Sleeping around can lead to diminished dignity, disease, unplanned pregnancy. Cheating will most likely lead to a broken family, lost trust, and in many cases violence (a partner scorned is a dangerous thing). Drugs can lead to brain, heart and organ damage along with crime, violence and even death. The smaller stuff like swearing like a truck driver is usually perceived as unprofessional (although I occasionally curse too).

As a kid, I watched my nephew, who I adored make some very bad decisions in life. And with those decisions came a life that I definitely did NOT want anything to do with. So with each of his actions, I did the complete opposite. We used to joke around how he paved the path for me and my “better” life. He used to claim all the credit as to why I avoided the “expected” life of a young Hispanic girl being raised by a single mom in the hood. We joked about it… but it was entirely true. His life became unnecessarily difficult, lonely and dangerous. I FEARED his life although I was taught to fear god.

More kids today need to be exposed to this unwanted life, to the reality of a decisions outcome within their lifetime. Kids and teens alike need to understand, up front, in their face what can happen to people when they make the wrong decisions. Not through a TV screened commercial. Not through a FB article on their phone. Not through a YouTube video. And certainly not through a supposed “on paper” teaching of a torturous flamed destination.

Will this help with everyone? No, but it will up your chances as a parent to avoid heartache if your child feared real consequences. If they truly learn and grasp other people’s suffered consequences. If they see where they can land in life, and talk to the people best suited to tell them the truth. As a parent you can find the best way to do this for your child, but take it from this chick…. without that type of exposure, I’m not sure how much I would have truly feared.

And for THAT, although saddened for my nephew (who has passed away), I am still grateful for having SEEN his truth.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

WTF! A Deeper Look

I receive a late night text from a friend with a link to an article she wanted me to read along with the following message:

“This article left me with my mouth wide open. I think someone needs to write their views on motherhood and what it means to be on maternity leave.  😝”

I bet you a weekend with all three of my kids that you already know what she’s referring to without even peeking at the link included below. If you guessed the Me-ternity debacle, then get ready because my kids are a handful.

I didn’t get to read or even glance that link until about two days after she sent it. Once I did, my reaction can be classified as…let’s see…WTF!!! along with some laughter, a shake of the head and a smack of my hand to the forehead (my forehead, not hers, but you probably figured that out already. Although it would have been more satisfying the other way). I was ready to give my counter article to what I thought was an absurd notion. As I began to spew thoughts on to paper, I remembered my motto to never write something when I’m emotional about it. I took a step away from the laptop and gave myself a “time away” to stop even caring about this woman’s skewed perspective toward maternity. I didn’t even know her. Her words would affect me in no better or worse way. And even if this woman caused many women out there, child-free women, to believe the same way, it would still not affect a mother’s right to maternity. And then I thought about the future of many of these women… “Ah! One day they will know the truth! They will be enlightened and VINDICATION will be supreme!!!”

That was back on April 29th. Today is May 13th. Between work, kids, home, life and a few glasses of wine, I’ve done some extra research online. No, no, not about maternity leave. I’ve got that one down pat after bringing in three boys in to this world (please refer back to my last post Stop Claiming That Women Are Weak. That one’s a doozy).  I’ve actually been reading about other people’s point of view on what Ms. Meghann Foye has openly and courageously admitted, out loud, with her face plastered everywhere, with a grin. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t speaking out of line or just regurgitating what hundreds of women have already expressed, especially since I’m a bit late to the Me-ternity-slam bash. Here’s what I’m bringing to the table.

Jealousy

From all the articles I’ve read, Meghann Foye had expressed jealousy or envy toward fellow coworkers that received maternity leave after giving birth. Sure, these emotions can convey some type of malice or resentment. But can any of us, without truly knowing this woman, really discern her feelings every time she witnessed another coworker happily grow the size of their family? Just stop and think about it. A 31-year-old woman at the time, who seemed to have it all and yet SHE was the envious one. Her hard work, for 10 years was getting her all the perks of her dreams, and all she was concerned about was the fact that other’s clocked out earlier than she did?  She said and quote, I loved my career. As an editor at a popular magazine, I got to work on big stories, attend cool events, and meet famous celebs all the time.” Yet this woman could not appreciate at the time ANY of it. This speaks volumes to the fact that this was HER empty issues, not any one else’s.

Confusion

She implies that once her fellow “mommy” coworkers clocked out at 6pm each day, Meghann had to pick up THEIR slack. Why? Were these coworkers not competent to finish their mandated work for the day? Were they not coming in the next morning to continue what was on their desks? What kind of company did she work for that would not be aware that all these moms were not completing their work?  I’m a bit confused. Is Meghann Foye complaining about the work picked up while a parent was on Maternity Leave, or the “slack” picked up when a parent left for the END of the work day?

I will have to agree with one thing….there are people in the workplace that clock out at the end of the day leaving urgent matters undone. People that don’t know how to manage their time in the day correctly. People that work overtime on a consistent basis because they spend valuable work hours socializing more than working. People who go on vacations or take personal days or go on a sabbatical without as much as tying up loose ends or completing their projects before they take off. PEOPLE…. with or without kids. Working 13 years in a company I’ve seen people like this come and then eventually GO! Because a responsible company, a successful company will not tolerate this type of behavior for that long.

Mistaken Identity

This author’s biggest mistake was (or was it?) thinking or claiming that maternity leave was a beneficial perk.

“I want all the perks of maternity leave without having any kids. A sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.” 

Apparently she didn’t do her research to understand that in many states, the states where her book would hopefully fly off the shelves of, maternity leave is aptly classified as being on “disability”. Sure, it’s a personal decision. But that’s like saying that someone who chooses to play sports, an athlete, and then becomes injured due to their personal decision, is now reaping the benefits of their injury. Is that disability time a perk for them? Is this handicap a perk? Is getting a handicap parking tag to be closer to the mall one of those “perks”?

Fake Friends

Her so-called “friends” took a leave and she made an assumption on why certain changes in their lives occurred.

“And as I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries. From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.”

It seems, sadly, those weren’t truly her friends. If they were, she would have visited, or been invited to their homes as they “grappled” with their new lives and emotions with this unknown little being. She would have known what her friends were feeling during this getaway. That becoming a mom, at least during these first few weeks makes a parent more UNSURE of themselves as they get used to their new roles in life. It’s sad that not one of these women were comfortable enough to share their true lives or feelings with Meghann. Did Meghann know that her friends weren’t sleeping enough? Did she reach out to them to give a helping hand? Did she know they were in pain? I mean, heck, she could have still done some research, but she did make the disclaimer that this is just how it “seemed” to her, from “the outside”. True friends are on the inside. They show an interest and confide in one another. No one seemed to be confiding in Meghann. Meghann was on the outside.

Comparability; “of equal value”.

“As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own. I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world. And I grieved the loss of my dad, who had just died after a long illness.”

This is a three-parter….

  • She gave notice to take a “MEternity”. Fine, for argument sake, I’ll say that’s comparable. I gave notice of my upcoming MAternity leave as well. That’s where the comparison STOPS! She took a YEAR AND A HALF leave. Maternity leave is at most 3 months. I really wish I could have done that, but unfortunately, the U.S. gives UNPAID maternity leave. Hey, she may have gone unpaid as well. If that’s the case, then that too is comparable. But she only had to support HERSELF! Parents on the other hand, cannot stay away from the workforce that long without the security of both a paycheck and health insurance for this new human being.
  • She made a note about how burnout syndrome is “well documented”, how self-doubt is something SHE suffered from. Can she claim that she educated herself equally to the burnout and self-doubt parents feel during maternity leave? Or the burnout parent’s feel because they have a SECOND job at home that they don’t get to clock out from? Self-doubt is something every parent suffers from. Am I doing this right? Am I a good parent? Was this the right choice? Will my actions send my child to future therapy? And many moms SUFFER a serious and uncontrollable case of this, it’s called Postpartum Depression. What if I hurt the baby? Why doesn’t it stop crying? Can I truly do this? Please, if you’re going to make a comparable claim of need, make sure it’s… well… COMPARABLE.
  • It’s a very emotional burden to take care of a deteriorating parent and then lose them in death. I know. Many of us know. And I will not be insensitive to her feelings on that, I will be realistic though. I am happy that she was able to get away for that long to truly grieve him. To deal with the feelings of loss and loneliness. Most of the U.S. only get a 3 day bereavement window. Again, not even closely comparable. But I’m sure she knew that already.

Finding Oneself…AND FAME

“My first novel, “Meternity,” was just released, and is about a woman who fakes a pregnancy and discovers some hard truths about what it’s really like to “have it all.” “Ultimately, what I learned from my own “meternity” leave is that any pressure I felt to stay late at the office wasn’t coming from the parents on staff. It was coming from myself. Coming back to a new position, I realized I didn’t need an “excuse” to leave on time. And that’s what I would love the take-away for my book to be: Work-life balance is tough for everyone, and it happens most when parents and nonparents support and don’t judge each other. I want kids in the future, and I might still take a traditional maternity leave. I might not. But either way, I’m happy my “meternity” taught me to live on my own terms and advocate what works for me.”

Maybe Meghann should have led with this statement first, accepting that her initial perception was a making of her own mind and not a reality of life….

OR maybe, just maybe everyone needs to understand that THIS….ALL OF THIS was a marketing ploy. She didn’t have to do much research to know that mothers are a power to be reckoned with, a group of women worldwide that will fight to the death for their rights and position in this world as people who truly are doing their best to DO it all and give it their all. She worked with moms. She saw how hectic their lives were. She observed them like primates at a zoo and an idea illuminated. She took a sabbatical to not only “find herself”, but to find her first novel. Yes, it takes that long to write a book. She knew that. And why are people really upset anyway? Does anything this woman say really matter? It’s a fictional character. And EVEN if Meghann herself did believe all that she wrote, that TOO is fictional in the real world. Mothers know that. Why do we need to convince HER? Don’t worry about it. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, one day she will have kids, she will feel the pain, both physically and emotionally. And watch, she’ll write ANOTHER book and continue to remain relevant.

— The Pretty Platform

Meghann Foye’s NY Post 

http://nypost.com/2016/04/28/i-want-all-the-perks-of-maternity-leave-without-having-any-kids/

For your viewing pleasure… You need to follow this blogger. 

http://thatsinappropriate.com/index.php/2016/04/29/no-maternity-meghann-foye/

Or you can view the video on her FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/thatsinappropriateblog/videos/1205394882834707/

 

 

 

Things I Wish I’d Done Differently in HS

When asked what age they’d like to go back to, I have found that most folks, if given the chance, would sprint right back to their high school years. This group of people would most definitely NOT include me. Why? Well, for starters you’re expected to behave like an adult without any of the freedoms or perks of adulthood. In opposing response, you behave like a child and then are labeled an immature trouble-making brat. It’s like being stuck in Limbo. None of the perks of Heaven but you can’t party in Hell either. You get to watch in confusion, trying to make the best of what you have and what you’re allowed. It’s a trap. Therapists, Psychologists, Teachers and Parents try to soften the blow by insisting that it’s your “training” to becoming an adult. “It’ll be the best years of your life” is the scholarly catchphrase. When YOU are the one in “training” this is just pure horse manure nonsense. Fast forward to many years later, as you simmer in your forever state of adulthood, you get to reevaluate what you could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done. Damned hindsight is always 20/20.

Here is MY “hindsight” list. Feel free to share yours…

1. I would have joined an extracurricular club. Most kids do. This would have allowed me time away from home and more time to bond with fellow trainees. I always went straight home after school, to sit in a 5th floor, pre-war one bedroom apartment. Fun!

2. I would’ve been nicer to the guys that showed physical interest in me. I’m guessing I was either in culture shock since I drew absolutely no attention in Junior High or my strict religious upbringing condemned my thoughts before I could even act on them. Some say this was a blessing. I say ‘Shut! Up!”

3. I would have accepted a “Hookie” party invitation. If for nothing else to have the memory of what went on in one of them. Or to know what apartment was holding all these kids during school hours. It’s still such a mystery to me. (disclaimer for those that knew me in HS and may call me out on this: yes, I did play hookie or cut class, just never had the cojones to go to one of the parties).

4. I should have gone to all the school dances. Okay, at least to some of them. But we were both poor and religious. No money for a new outfit befitting the fashion of an 80’s dance party, plus according to my mother it was the breeding ground for sin, especially the prom. I’m telling you, no Heaven or Hell for me.  Just the bland grayness of Limbo.

5. I would have taken a Physics and Calculus class. Before you write me off as crazy on this one, let me help you understand my madness. It comes in the form of a husband. More precisely, my husband. Who’s a physics and mathematical genius. Seriously, having some knowledge on these subjects would be the equivalent to a romantic evening out and whispering to him across the table that I have gone commando under my slinkiest dress. “Can we PLEASE get the check?”

6. I would have spent more time in the College Bound office researching a career more catered to what I loved to do. Instead, I allowed my mother to choose what I was going to study after high school based on her religious beliefs. The outcome? I’m now 45 years old and although I proudly paid off my school loans, and make a good living, I am no where close to working in my studied field. I know that many people through the ages have experienced this outcome. In my case though it was due to a lack of initial action.

7. Refer back to # 2 for this next one. I could’ve had my first kiss in HS. As a kid! As everyone should. Instead, my first kiss came in conjunction with an I Do (note to reader: that was to my ex husband. Not to the genius mentioned in #5).

I know most lists are in neat numbers of 5’s or 10’s, but seven is what I’ve come up with. Plus I’m starting to develop some pain in my medial temporal lobe trying to recall details this long ago.  I do have some good high school memories, but imagine how much more awesome my memories or stories would be if I’d taken a bigger leap, or spoken up a bit more for the things I wanted to enjoy, should have enjoyed. Adults need to listen to their teens more and teach them that it’s okay to communicate with us on THEIR level, not on ours or how we expect them to be. Remember, they are no longer babies, but they are not yet fully grown. Don’t treat them like children, and don’t rush them to be adults. Just let them be, and maybe they can live “the best years of their lives”.

— The Pretty Platform

I Don’t Want to Play with the Kids Today.

I’m not your typical mom. At least I don’t think I am.

Although I love reading about other bloggers discuss the issues and nuances we all share as moms, I personally don’t feel compelled to always write about my kids. It bores me… or maybe I think it bores other people… or maybe it’s a little of both. I also feel I’m being redundant to whatever you may have read somewhere else. I don’t think my experiences as a mother differ all that much from my sisterhood of mothers worldwide. Maybe with a different twist at some point, but we can all relate to poop conversations, a messy home, tantrums, clothing dilemmas, homework battles, opposite sex drama, to mention only a few. Plus some of the mommy/daddy bloggers I follow have such a wonderful ability to write about poop and keep me wanting more. How can I possibly compete with that?

But, every so often I come across a situation that makes me feel like I need to vent and well, since this is MY platform to do just that, here I am.

As I stated in the beginning, I’m not your typical mom. At least I don’t think I am. I love my children, and don’t get angry at what I’m about to say, but they are not my world. They just play a part in it. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?

Let me explain as I take you back a few years. Well, many years considering that I’m no spring chicken anymore. I was about 9 years old. Raised by a single mother. She made many mistakes, but was still overall a very loving and nurturing parent. She was doing the best she could. I’m not going to get into all that she did or didn’t do. I want to focus on one aspect that can help you understand where I’m coming from before you start to feel sorry for my kids. To keep this story as short as my chatty self can make possible, my mother caught the eye of a very nice gentleman. They had a lot in common and shared the same standards in life. In essence, he would’ve been awesome for her. One day, my mother asked me, a 9-year-old child, if I would like her to ever get married one day. Without understanding fully the future repercussions of what I was about to say, and without knowing the progression of their relationship, I told her what most kids being raised by a single parent would say. I wanted it to be ONLY her and myself together forever.  Yes, at 9 years old, kids still believe they will be living with their parents forever under the best relationship scenario they know. Her response? “Okay. I will never get married for you.” Gave me a hug and we went about our day as usual. And my mother based her entire future on that one statement. She allowed me to become her world.

Do you know what that does to a child growing up? I never forgot that moment. As I got older I started to develop feelings for the opposite sex and BINGO…. that one statement started to haunt me. The understanding of what I did to her came full circle. I didn’t want to be my mother’s world anymore. I wanted her to have a life outside of me. The guilt became burdensome. I felt obligated toward her. She missed out on a beautiful relationship because I was her beautiful relationship. I became whatever my mother wanted me to become. Sure, that may sound like the ultimate recipe for a good kid. And yes, I was a “good” kid. But I felt trapped. Lovingly trapped, but still trapped nonetheless. And she was trapped as well. We had a very dependent relationship to the day she passed.

Fast forward to today. I have seen many parents other than my own mother live their lives mainly for their children. Everything they do is centered around their children. Their hobbies become their children. Their conversations are only about their kids. Their vacations are always with Junior in mind. Where they go out to eat, or what movies they watch, even what clothes they wear. They forget what it’s like to be an individual and their identity becomes Mom or Dad. I’ve seen couples transition out of Honey and Sweetheart and even start calling each other Mom and Dad.

I have seen empty-nesters fall in to deep depression because they no longer know what to do when they get home and the kids aren’t there. I have seen couples have nothing to talk about because they no longer KNOW each other without the kids around to be their buffer. I had one mother once tell me after her daughter grew up and left home, “I don’t know who I am anymore. I was a mother. What am I now?” My heart aches for her. I told her she now had the opportunity to get to know herself again. What an adventure that would be. Unfortunately nothing worked.

I adore my children. I love helping them. I enjoy watching them grow up. I’m happy to provide them with new experiences. I take pictures and videos of every moment (Heck, I have to buy another back up drive since I don’t trust only “The Cloud” to hold all my memories). I celebrate anything and everything with them (nothing is too trivial to buy cupcakes for). But….and this is a huge but (no jokes please)….I look forward to one day coming home and not worry about homework, or meal preparation for the tykes, or washing clothes for 3 growing boys, or school events, or the dozen of classmate birthdays or having to watch another episode of the Thunderman’s. I look forward to not doing any of this anymore because I make sure to fit in myself through all of this. I look forward to spending time with myself and my husband more. I love to write and want to do more of it. I want to read more and join a book club. Painting is one of my most loved hobbies and I want more time for it. I love comedy clubs. I love eating out, a lot. I love bookstore visits. I love listening to the ocean and watching the waves. I love sipping wine and eating cheese. I want to go visit Jazz clubs more often. I want to go to museums more and contemplate art in silence. I want to volunteer more. I want to go to weekly yoga classes. I need to do more cardio. I have an entire bucket list of things I need to complete.

I look forward to an empty nest on a daily basis. Sure, I’ll invite the kids to come and visit on weekends and holidays. And after quite some time, the grand-kids will come and I’ll do the Abuela thing and I’ll do a kick-ass job at it. But I’m proud to say that my kids can be independent from me and feel like its okay that Mom and Dad are on their own now and that we too will survive. That their Mom and Dad will do more than just survive, that we will live life to the fullest. I’m happy to know that I didn’t create a burden on them for my personal happiness and self-worth. And I’m relieved to be aware that I’m doing ME now so I don’t forget later who I was to begin with.

Disclaimer: This is not criticizing other parenting methods, just what works for me and based on my past experience with my own mother. I love you Mom!

— The Pretty Platform

 

Hero Brian Took My Son’s F-Bomb Virginity

Parenting is capital “D” difficult. Can I get an “Aaa-men!”. Restraint is difficult. Showing restraint as a parent is an elevated level of difficult. (I’m feeling every parent reader nodding enthusiastically in camaraderie agreement). So, when I hear and read about how evil video games are or how children shouldn’t watch television, I retaliate with a Blah! Blah! Blah! and a roll of the eyes. I’ve been a parent a few times over for 17 long, long years. Without either of these things, parenting and restraint would have been even more difficult, not to mention down right dangerous. In moderation and yes, with supervision, both are just fine and desperately needed in our abode.  But just as life would have it, we slipped a bit in the supervision department. Well, more like full on, greased up, slip-n-slide. Not the first time though. It happened once before when our oldest was only 13; it was such a traumatic experience… for me! We forgot to activate the parental restrictions on our cable boxes after moving in to a new place. No biggie, what would my 13-year-old angel do with that anyway? Well, I’ve been sworn to non-bloggable secrecy on the details of that evening. But it did end with a stiff drink and lots of ugly crying…again, from me. Nonetheless we thought we learned our lesson.

cristian

Fast forward to our now 5-year-old, our sweet innocent kindergartener. Our bushy-tailed, inquisitive baby. Thanks to early onset peer pressure he was introduced and captivated very quickly by Minecraft. Sounds innocent enough. Just wait! We researched the game and it was actually rated as a beneficial, thought-provoking, building skilled game for kids. Great! Pat ourselves on the back for careful parenting. Yeah, just wait, it’s coming! Sitting at the dining table one evening last month, family time with the kids, we allowed each to play their respective games as we passed the time. A sudden BOOM, I’m displaced. The light goes dim and I’m feeling faint. My ears are bleeding in pain and horror as an F-bomb, AN F-BOMB, gets launched from across the table. (No laughing matter, I’m not overreacting here).

f-bomb logo

The small  perpetrator, standing on the chair hunched over with his hands planted on the table on each side of his tablet, stared at me like a deer in headlights after hearing the gasp that apparently escaped my mouth. This boy, my angel, who had no idea what this word meant surely understood WHEN to use it. He got angry and out it spewed. My brain begins to race. A thousand thoughts in a split second. I had to react, but what was the best reaction? If I get angry he’ll have this as his future secret weapon to spear through my motherly heart. Note to self: Don’t get angry. If I laugh or shrug it off, soon he’ll join forces with the two-year old to F-bomb the house to oblivion. Do. Not. Laugh. So with a deep stern, controlled voice I ask who did he hear that word from. I’m ready for him to quickly throw a classmate under the bus. I’m ready to take that information and march up to this troublemaker of a kid, this menace and give him the needed direction that apparently he hasn’t learned in his own home.

minecraft-xbox-one-edition

Hero Brian.

What? Who?

Hero Brian.

Did you just say Hero Brian? Who’s Hero Brian?

My fawn in headlights does his best to enlighten me as to who’s tainted him.  This jeopardizing mischief-maker was no kid. Bambi here points to his tablet. What? There’s cursing in Minecraft? How did we miss that? How did YOU miss that as I turn to the Stag sitting next to me and accuse him of missing this very important detail in his research. This so-called Hero Brian is actually called Herobrine but my five-year old understood it as Hero Brian. This grown man is a voice in various YouTube Minecraft tutorials, which my son has been following. Wait…you were approved to play the game, not to follow some grown potty-mouthed man hiding behind a kid’s game to create a cooler world for himself.

Who told you about YouTube tutorials? You can’t even spell complete words, how did you find a Minecraft tutorial? And he took every one of my concerns, every one of my questions and answered them in the most simplistic honest way only a five-year old can. Part of me was amazed how such a small person handled this with the grace that he did, as opposed to…well…me. I was not seduced by his cuteness though, I stayed focused, I kept my glare. Ok, fine, we didn’t punish him.

cristian in a mask

He got ONE and only one free pass, but with a long-winded and boring explanation as to why it is absolutely inappropriate and unacceptable to use that word, under ALL circumstances. We’re not idiots, we know that fear will last only until his teen years absorb his entire being. But for now, no more tutorials unless they are viewed in our presence, which is no easy task for….ME. Those voices in the background explaining every feature of the Minecraft world as they play is right up there with listening to nails dragging along a chalkboard or the constant nag of a drippy faucet.

I know what you’re saying thinking judging; just ban the tutorials. Here’s the thing; as a concept they are quite educational for the game task at hand. They provide ideas to later use themselves. Now, he is most definitely banned from listening to what he calls Hero Brian, which interestingly enough turned out to be a unisex tag team by the names of Pat and Jen of PopularMMO’s. I don’t like to pre-judge based on the words of a rookie potty mouthed 5-year-old. So I put aside some time, took one for the team, strapped on my headphones and hit play on one of their videos. Did I already mention the nails dragging on a chalkboard? For you parents out there, because if you are childless why else would you have seen these, but did you have to sit through and endure Spy Kids 3D or Cat & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore? I’m sure these are part of some secret approved list to be used for horrifying Ludivico treatment sessions for some of the worst criminals in the world.

thediamondminecart

Moving on, I finally come across one tutorial that is definitely child friendly plus he has this awesome British accent which helps sooth me as a secondary listener. His name is Dan from TheDiamondMineCart. Score! As for Hero Brian, this name will forever be imbedded in to the core of my memory as the person, thing, character that helped my 5-year-old F-bomb his innocence to smithereens. Hopefully this will be my last slip up, but I’m not going to place any bets on that. I’m safe with cable restrictions,  but now my two-year old is just starting to talk. Oh F%#*$@¥!.

cristian and preston

— Elke