Monday, August 21, 2017

Raising Sons


Image result for mother with two boysI remember being pregnant with my first child and knowing that I would find out the gender of the baby. Now some people like to wait, for the surprise they say, I for one wanted to know.  I also quickly found out after giving birth that there is no lack of surprise, for knowing the gender means you know almost nothing anyway once the baby comes.  I wanted to know because I wanted to prepare for the colors, not a big fan of mint green stuff and yellow that seems to be norm when you don't know, and I wanted to think of a name.   It was same with second child.


As a pregnant mom I thought it would be crucial that I take a baby class, I did not babysit and neither had my husband, my exposure to babies minimal and frankly I am not a baby person.  They smell good and can be super cute but I was never one to rush across a room to offer to hold a baby. In case you are wondering I did question my maternal instincts as I was a hormonal, pregnant mess but apparently and luckily for my boys they kicked in as needed.   I still do not rush across a room to hold a baby.

I was and am shocked at how many times I have been asked the most bizarre questions about being the mother of boys or been offered sympathy for they must be "a handful".   Aren't all children a handful?  Even when they are not misbehaving they are challenging because they are ....kid.  Not boy kids or girl kids but just kids.    I know my friends who have girls get the same unsolicited sympathy "ooh you have to be careful".   Don't we all have to be careful and teach our kids how to make good choices no matter if they are boys or girls.

I love my boys and the older they get the more I enjoy the way we interact.   I had fun when they were little with them, was amazed to see them develop and now am watching them evolve.  I had a long discussion with my oldest son the other day that went something like this.

Me "I am a feminist"
Him "No you are not"
"Umm yes I am why would you say I am not" sit up on couch, defiant tone in my voice evident even to me
"Because you know ... because those people hate men"
"Please stop right there you are talking about extreme people who may just also be feminists and I am talking about feminists.  Do you even know what a feminist is?' Tone calmed down since apparently there is nomenclature not sexism at play in son
"Yeah they don't like men "
"No baby they just want the same rights and opportunities as men.  I do not want to be a man, never have, I like being a woman and I like all those things that make me a woman but I just want not to be told I cannot do something because I am one and I want to be paid equally for whatever job I do that a man might be doing"
"You sure that's what a feminist is?"
Ends in hug ... long discussion ensued all good.

Raising sons for me includes teaching them to be kind, prepared for choices and fair.  Raising sons means teaching them about their physicality - that they are strong, that they can overpower or that they can use that strength to help when someone isn't strong enough.  It means teaching them that what they constantly say they love about their mom is that she is a feminist even though the word has taken on a negative connotation.   Amazing how media has made people asking for equal rights into some weird fringe element - shouldn't people who want to mistreat others based on appearance be the ones feeling like the deviants?

It means having hard conversations with them about the power of permission that has to be given to them when they are with a partner.   It means telling them to be careful with potential sexual predators.  It means teaching them that it is amazing to be a man, to be who they are, to understand that they should be proud of themselves, confident to pursue their dreams and that all of that comes with the help and support of others not at the expense of others.

It also means that I need to understand that they are different than I am, in reactions, in emotional intelligence and that I am here to help them grow into men not to make them into my image.  I think that might be a good parental lesson for raising kids and one, difficult but needed, to follow.

I think I am raising good kids, not perfect ones, good boys who will be great men and amazing people.  I still get the ridiculous "I bet you wished you had a girl" statement at times, but frankly no.  I did not wish to have girls or boys I wanted and got to have children who I admire for who they are - and I got that.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Money, money, money

There are two songs that come to mind when the word money comes up for me.  The first is ABBA's "Money, Money, Money" and the second is "How much is enough?".

I am pretty sure that is not unique to me but putting it to music might be.  Music is never far from my mind and it is background in my head for most of the things that mean something to me.  Before you wonder I do not mean I hear music and not understand that it is a conscious addition to the emotion I am feeling - meds not needed (yet).

Recently was texting with my friend who is reading a book about the relationship we have to and with money.   As a woman of 50, as a woman period, money and I have a relationship.  It has not always been a healthy one and yet it was also an empowering one as a woman.  It is now becoming a side note as a means to the end that it should be for me. 

I do not understand the whole "you don't need money" line.  Usually uttered by those who do not need money, because anyone who has ever struggled with it knows you do need it.  I am not sure how those "you don't need money" folks pay their bills, manage their basic needs without it, hence my sarcastic cynicism when I hear it.  They often "do not need it" because someone has always made sure they get it if they do.  

We revere it, we make it evil, we want it, we hate that others have it, we blame those who don't and on a personal level it makes multiple parts of our lives possible. 

Interestingly enough it is money, or your lifestyle as currency, that is often quoted as the root of all evil. That's some power we ascribe to it.  For me money is not the root of all evil, or evil.  It is power and money used in conjunction with small minded meanness that makes it from a means to ruthlessness.

As we get older we hope we have enough to not be a burden during the part of our lives where we no longer are working.  We wish to be independent, to be able to help our children as much as we can so they too learn to think about money without wondering how much is enough and switch to thinking how much do I want to be as (insert career choice here).

As a parent I have always taught my kids, so far, that money is not infinite, nor easily replaceable while also giving them not only things but experiences.  I spend my money when I can on vacations with them, I have not replaced expensive electronics because they lost or broke them until they could save up some contribution to the replacement or fix.  I want them to know that it may be only  $5 but that $5 is part of a bigger pot of money that we use to give them the things they have.    I am not sure yet how well I am doing since they are quite young.  

The harder part is something I needed to teach myself.  You cannot fill a void with money, you can pretty it up, you can cover it in lovely things but you cannot fill a void.  It is easier to do it with buying things but it is like the little boy holding the finger in the dam.  If something is not fulfilling I am now looking for what that is and then looking to see how I can appreciate myself enough to know I deserve that void filled.   

Money doesn't buy happiness but it does make things happier to not have to worry about how to pay your bills.  If we have extra maybe we pay it back to others without having to forgo our entire share. It is ok to want and have the higher end things in life but maybe we can take a page from the minimalists and stop before we have more of those things that we can ever use.   I want to have money to continue to travel, to eat at great places, to buy my artist supplies (and boy are they pricey), to write on the gadget of the future and yes to have some things I really do not need but just want.  I do not rely on money for the contentment that I will find enjoying a walk on the beach, time spent with those who care for me and I for them, laughter, passion and all those other experiences that I plan on keeping priorities. 

Money, money, money we can manage it but it should not manage us.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The art of censorship - for parents

For those of us who are liberal the idea of censorship is truly abhorrent, unless it is plans or outright calls to violence then we are probably our own worst enemies in the belief that we should uphold free speech.  Yet it is who we are and the notion is built on the belief that people are good, that they will try to see through the negative rhetoric.

However, as parents, us same folks who consider ourselves liberal are censors that would rival the Soviet era mail readers.    I love the quote from Judy Blume that I used for a pic, it applies to everything from books to games to whatever media is out there.  It is how I try and censor, not with only denial but also with discussion.

When my kids were really young this censorship thing was easy because no one questioned it, I had total control and most of all they were young,  really there was much less that tempted them to look at things they were not ready for.  It was easy to turn on Sprout or PBS or maybe even Nick Jr when they had TV time.  The shows were musical, colorful and had been scrubbed of the violence of my own cartoon viewing days.   I have to admit I did love my Tom and Jerry and Bugs when I was a kid, as did many of us, and no we did not believe that the violence could be replicated.  Besides where the hell where 1) any of us going to get an anvil 2) be able to carry it to drop on someone --- we understood fiction and fantasy.  

As my kids get older that line started to need to be drawn.  The games they have available today have great graphics.  Impressive what they can depict but the down side is they have great graphics.  Some have frankly bizarre story lines, like does any kid really need to know how to live like Grand Theft Auto???  I understand much like my Tom and Jerry, I get it's not real, they often cite the same thing.  You need to know your kid, if that kind of gore and violence stimulates their brain to the point where they are not the nice kid you usually live with it is not for them.

For me life is about ages and stages.  For me as well as for my kids.  It is not only the content, and the child's processing of it, but the age.  The brain goes through developmental stages so your 4 year old may be precocious but they are still not ready for Call of Duty.  

So I break out the invisible black marker with my own boys as they are tween and teen ages.  I love the guys in the GameStop by my house.  I not only read about a game the boys ask for, and often am appalled that they want something where a method of death is being eaten by rats -ewww or worse, but then I take them and let the "cool" gamer guys tell them what they think about it for their age.   So far my spidey sense on the appropriateness of a game has been in sync with these young men who work in the place because they love playing video games, withholding judgement on their ages and this obsession.

I censor through discussion mostly - the "I said so" worked well for their younger selves but I do not want to be the one that says no only I want them to understand that I say no and that they see why they aren't ready.

My father was appalled at the ripped out of magazine pictures on my bedroom wall of Vince Neil and the rest of Motley Crue, Ozzy in his full attire.  They were men who looked a cross between menacing, jailhouse material and weirdly full of make up and hairspray.  I loved them, their long hair and air of rebellion was exactly what this teenage girl's soul needed.  I liked their songs of angst and anger, of sexual undertones.  They were not singing about my life, they were singing of a life I had no access to in such excess.  What else is being a teenager about if not that?  The funny part was I always liked other music, found Dean Martin super sexy and no I did not wind up all those things my father told me I would if I liked those boys on my walls.  I still understood the difference between fantasy and reality - Tom and Jerry replaced by Vince and Axel.

I let my kids listen to music and I expose them to songs from all eras, they have an appreciation for Frank Sinatra, as they should, and others.  My 13 year old though, much like his peers, likes rap.  The rap they listen to though often is so bad, not because I do not like the genre because I do like a lot of rap songs, but because it is frankly crap.  There is no music in it, there are no statements, it is a contest to see how many times you can drop the f bomb, the getting your d&*k sucked and the number of women who are "ho"s who are just out for money.

So I do not ban it, because I know he can always find it, what I do instead is share some of my thoughts on it, ask him to alternate between that and some old school rap or even new artists that use rap with poetry to a beat it was meant to be.   I talk to him and make him wonder if a song really is worth listening to when the person performing it did not even bother to try and make a song but just cursed.  It does not eliminate it from his life but I do see that he can laugh with me at the ridiculousness of some of it and that in the end women are not to be spoken of and treated that way, that the f bomb is more effective when used more sparingly (cursing if I remember from my own days withers down but it is the ooh look what I just said among friends for a short teenage bit) and most of all that he should learn to censor his own stuff.

The same goes with movies, shows, graphic novels for both.  You cannot block out everything.  In the movie, amazing movie I should say, "Hidden Figures" the central character holds the black out to the light to see what she needs to solve a problem.  Our kids will do that too with whatever we say no to.

Same goes for their exposure to sexual content, it is not right at any age it is right for the right age.  There is nothing wrong with sex, actually it can be very right - say that in a Groucho Marx imitation, so I want them to be open with their questions, their thoughts but not open with their bodies or that of others until they are mature enough for it.

I do not know if I am right in my way but I do know my kids.  Maybe that's the best censor in all of us, knowing our kids and what limits they need.  It is not a one size fits all.  We all want them to be the best and for me that means teaching them to make good choices not because I said so but because that is what feels right.

Enjoy your day and remember our parents shuddered at our music and taste, their parents at theirs and somehow most of us learned to navigate life pretty well.  It is those who were overly repressed and become oppressors through extreme views who add the least to life.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Still crazy after all these years

I am going to be 50 tomorrow ... 50!!!  Man, I thought that was so ancient, at best middle aged, nah ancient when I was younger.  I mean 50 - wasn't that the time you retired and started to eat at like 430 or something?  Broke out the white shoes with the thick soles?  How wrong our perceptions of age are when we are younger - or maybe we keep busting those perceptions as we refuse to let the number dictate to us and we chose to write our own stories of aging.

The insanity of youth is that anything slightly older than it seems outdated, to be put out to pasture.   Yet as my friends and I, mostly my  high school classmate friends, started this year with a foot in the last year of our 40s and a weary eye at a cake with many candle, somehow 50 didn't seem old anymore.

We tell each other it is the new 40.  In the scheme of how much longer people live that isn't quite wrong, and at some point 40 was something those who are young did and do still think of as over the hill.  It is middle age no matter how you cut it.  So what ??  It means you still have a half or more to keep doing what you want.

Yet 50 - wow.  I am not one to be defined by milestone birthdays but this one, well this one has been quite different for me.  I have found out that it is for many, especially women.

My reflection on this birthday started about 2 years ago - what do I want to do, to be, to want, to get when I am 50.  I do not want to be "normal" or go without being slightly insane.  I want to be the woman who makes others wonder "what's she up to now?".

I am more confident than when I was younger, I made peace with my imperfect body though we still have an adversarial relationship, I also started to really think about my goals.  So many of my goals, like many women, up to now were tied to outcomes expected by others.   Goals always included what was good for others too.  As I approach this milestone I started to really focus on what do I want, what do I want to accomplish, what do I deserve.  I learned from a therapist friend that to have real goals you have to visualize details in them, the colors, the smells, see yourself in them - so am starting with that as I build mine. I also came to realize that therapy is also necessary in the process for most of us, it just takes getting over the scared to be fabulous to start it.

How often do we really ask ourselves what do I deserve and not put any caveats on that?  Not be afraid to think it, want it, say it?  For me this is still a learning process.

So what have I learned in these 50 years - that love is meant to be celebrated, taken when you can, given freely even if it means you may get hurt.  I learned that passion and desire is not shameful but a driver and in itself a way to make life brighter, better, whether it is for a person or for idea.   I have traveled and appreciated different places and I am starting to wonder where I want to live beyond just where I am.  I have read a tremendous amount of wonderful books.  There has been art I have seen and art I have made that added to the memories that make me smile.

There is music, so much music, I cannot imagine not having it in my life throughout the years or going forward.

There are friends, some who stayed in my life, some who taught me that not all people are sincere and most who added a pebble to my soul to make it fuller.

I have not always had easy times, there were too many bad choices but luckily there were many more good ones and learnings from the ones that weren't.   I have lost people along the journey, they are all still part of who I am today in memories and things I learned with them.

Fifty is looking pretty damn fabulous from where I sit.  I see it in those who are turning 50 this year with me and in those that already celebrated it in years past.

It is not just a number because that would mean in some way it is not significant, for me it is significant.  I finished my book, which I swore I would do before 50.  I switched from exploring what's next in my career to what is my next career going to look like as I get closer to retirement.  Will it be full of creative endeavors or do I want to put my passions into other areas?  Not sure the world is full of possibilities.

As I turn 50 I also reflect on the wonder of human accomplishment, from kindness that pours over borders and in person when truly awful things happen, to scientific advancements, technology, architecture that has happened in my lifetime.  I was born in a world where nothing is impossible it just needs to be looked at from different angles and determined how it could be possible.

So happy birthday to me .... and thank you to you all who read this ... let the 2nd half of my century, cause yeah there is a chance I could live to a 100 (but only if I could be as cool as Betty White), begin.  I am ready to have people on this journey that appreciate who I am, who I appreciate and gently let go of "just what might have been".

Bring it 50 .... this girl is still not ready for you!!!!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Love it or leave it

In my many years of living in the States, choosing to be a citizen of this country, defending the US even when I disagreed with the politicians I never was told to leave here as much as I have been since the current president's run for office and even more so since he got into office.

As if caring for a country, disagreeing with the government, not supporting the person in the office because of his policies and lack of acumen (or his crass and morally repulsive behavior) and blindly bowing down is more patriotic. It is not it is nationalistic, the stuff of fascism, bolshevism, and yes nazism.  Patriotism is loving a place enough to see it's problems and looking at how you as one person can make a difference for the better.  Nationalism is seeing the flaws, blaming everyone but yourself and then following blindly anyone who only agrees with you.

People have forgotten they too are not from here, at some point even if they were born here, because the people who have told me if I do not like it 1) do not have Native American names 2) have said it based on my last name or when I mentioned I am immigrant 3) ironically seem to have immigrants in their family tree too.

As if people who came here didn't come here from places that didn't allow dissent, asked for blind following and total submission to the thought that government and one particular head of state is always right.  As if others didn't come here for financial opportunities.  Interestingly the people who were brought here against their will,  because no Dr Carson they did not emigrate immigrate here the only "grate" they saw were the ones that were on the windows of the floating prison barges that brought them here, do not say this to me ever.

People also seem to have really short memories - apparently some think this president is under more "attack".  Makes one wonder if they had their tvs, radios off since the 70s .  You don't have to go back that far you can go back say 8 years to see our former president's likeness lynched, burned, called crazy names, for some reason some crackpot started a bizarre birther theory, his daughters assailed, his wife called vile names.  Here is the beauty, wait for it, it still is all available for many years prior on this fancy doodad called the internet.

I am grateful for all that I have accomplished in this country.  What is happening  disturbs me because I grew up and lived with what happens without a free press, without the ability to dissent, without hope to change anything because you were supposed to smile and say thank you even when they kicked you.  It is because I believe in the concept of America - not a perfect place but a place perfected by those who come here.

I fulfill my part as an immigrant, I add to the fabric of society as much as I can, I contribute to the tax system, I vote and I had children here who I am raising to continue to add to the quilt that makes up the US.

Every day the dignity we once associated with the office,  even through scandals, has been diminished by a man who was never fit to sit in the chair to begin with.

I see his rallies, who has rally after rally right after they are elected ?  oh yeah dictators with their fragile egos who need to keep whipping their supporters into a frenzy, and there he is even less coherent but yet more applauded.  His supporters cannot seem to accept any chinks in his teflon armor.  They fiercely defend him if someone points out his audacious lies and believe that he is in their corner.  They need to believe because he still sells them on the idea that he believes in them.

As we celebrate the birth of this nation all of us chose at some time to cross oceans to get to, or for those that did not choose to come here they still have given their lives to try and make it a better place, that I want to remember that the founding fathers of this land were not men who were flawless.  Nor where they ideals of mankind.  They were men, who made poor choices but whose character was not shaped by those poor judgements but rather they were shaped by their belief in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.  We can emulate that spirit and do better with those things they did not, like equal rights for men and women, like treating people the same regardless of their race, like making those pursuits available to all.

I believe that those who still support him believe that he will make it better for them,  isn't that what both left and right want though?  To make it better for all - what his message is most flawed in is that it seems as if the pie is finite when America is built on the idea that nothing is impossible.  The world will NEVER go back to what it was, who wants it to ?  We need to figure out how we can make it go forward with us at the helm, not standing there talking about the remember whens.

Happy Fourth of July - I leave you with words from Bono, a man who like me chooses to live in the States not because we see it as without need to make it better but because we love it enough to want to do so

"Anyway, it’s not a right/left issue. It’s a right/wrong issue, and America has constantly been on the side of what’s right. Because when it comes down to it, this is about keeping faith with the idea of America. Because America’s an idea, isn’t it? I mean, Ireland’s a great country, but it’s not an idea. Great Britain’s a great country, it’s not an idea. That’s how we see you around the world, as one of the greatest ideas in human history, right up there with the Renaissance, right up there with crop rotations and the Beatles’ White album. The idea, the American idea—it’s an idea—the idea is that you and me are created equal, and will ensure that an economic recession need not become an equality rescission. The idea that life is not meant to be endured but enjoyed. The idea that if we have dignity, if we have justice then leave it to us, and we’ll do the rest. This country was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper. And God love you for it, because these aren’t just American ideas anymore. There’s no copyright on them. You brought them into the world. It’s a wide world now. I know Americans say they have a bit of the world in them, and you do, the family tree has lots of branches. But the thing is, the world has a built of America in it, too. These truths, your truths, they’re self-evident in us.”





Tuesday, June 27, 2017

School's out for summer...

Image result for summer vacation kids Can't speak for anyone else but I hear Alice Cooper every year when my kids and their friends go to their final day of school, more energized then ever, antsy to have the day start so it could finish and then they are out for summer.

Man I miss that -- bit jealous always of my teacher friends who have it too - the idea that I could have a whole summer off.   I am a high energy person, not quite hyper, so that would include keeping busy but it would also include doing a bunch of nothing except pleasurable things, like reading, beach going, travel, painting, writing.  Doing those things without wondering what chore, work thing or commitment I needed to get to.

For those of us that are parents in this day and age we are also told about the planning we have to do for our kids.  I do not mean for wee ones that need actual caretakers, I mean for every age group living under our roof.  After all we cannot have kids do ... brace yourselves ... NOTHING.

Yet isn't nothing, no schedule, what we as adults look at them longingly for having during this time? I mean none of us see the last day of summer and think "man if I was kid I hope my parents made sure I was busy every nanosecond of every day until school starts."  No we look at them and wish we too could have that break to do what we want.  Now what we fill that time with might differ from what our kids want but to me the possibilities and pure lazy days of summer as a kid are part of the magic of being a kid.

These kids are kept busy throughout the year and this is not a good or bad thing, it is just the way parenting happens for those who have the ability to put kids into activities.  For those that do not, their kids still have some schedule.  If parents care for their children, focus on being there for their kids they should all grow up to be in pretty good shape.

Summer though - I remember it well.  My dad was fond of giving me some math problems to do every day, eye roll even now and sorry dad they did not make me like math more, I had assigned summer reading lists for good part of my school years and then I had a few chores each day.  Beyond that my parents worked and I was not tethered like my kids since I lived in New York.  In a borough that allowed me free roam within in and out of it to the City without parental supervision.

You know what we did for a good part of it, my friends and I, not much.  We went to the public pool, where you had to watch your towel and your money as this was New York in it's high crime, low quality of life era.  We walked around aimlessly. We played video games in candy stores, where people smoked.  We hung out in alleyways and parks.  When younger we played kickball, tag and some other things until dinner, where you gobbled and then ran back down, until streetlights came on and then you begged for "just a little while longer".  You were hot and sometimes someone opened a fire hydrant so you can cool down.  We also went to the movies, and paid for one movie, but often saw several in the movie theater (it was air conditioned and no one checked or cared I think).   We sat in homes and watched some tv.  Overall though we did not do those things that we seem to expect our kids to do these days.  Keep a schedule being top of the list.

I know some people went to camps, day or sleep away, I did not grow up in a neighborhood like that. Your parents may have shipped you off to relatives in Europe, but there you did a lot of the above stated only in a different land.  We went to the beach when we got older, on subways, sweating as we stuck to plastic seats on our way, until we had cars.  If you were in Europe you did whatever it was that kids there did, but again not much of a schedule.   We went on vacations with our parents, or weekends at Jones Beach, Robert Moses or Sunken Meadow.

So this summer I thought I would let my own kids figure out how to be bored, not have as many scheduled things, and get to do whatever they do these days to be entertained.  I figured I and most of the people I grew up with are doing ok.    They have some scheduled camps, some vacation with us and a bunch of let's play it by ear.

I gave them the summer I think as an adult I miss from when I was a kid.  They have a lifetime to be "productive" and only a short while to live without the responsibililties of adulthood.

Do what you think is right for your kids always but once in a while it is ok to let that be letting them enjoy the luxury of being a kid ... especially in the summer.

Happy summer off kids ..


Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer time and the parenting advice is not easy

I appreciate good advice, knowledge as much as anyone I know.  I am totally comfortable with my dorky nature of wanting to know things, to seek things out, to be grateful for those who offer advice and help when I need it.

Yet I am so over and so annoyed with the vast amount of parenting advice out there that is not really advice. It is all about waxing poetic on how wonderful that person's decision was to do whatever and how if you aren't doing it you fall short.  I am over being told how I fail as a mother, as a woman just to be told a few weeks later that whatever I tried to switch too will pretty much be the end of any hope for my children.

It is easy these days to be an expert - I mean I could blog about it and pretend that it is based on professional opinion when in fact a blog is pretty much the editorial section of the newspaper. Yes some facts will be there but opinion is not fact, though this seems to be very blurred on all levels these days.

So as I raise my kids to the best of of my ability, I triage through advice and rely on my trusted resources - women I actually know whose kids I happen to also know.

It is not easy being a parent, rewarding and amazing yes but not easy.  It shouldn't be, you are after all responsible for a whole other being, beings.  Their care is in your hands, literally, and who they become is a result of most of your influence.  I know we like to say that their peers, and they do too, are their greatest influence but they aren't they are just the voice they choose to hear.  However, I am a firm believer that our voice lives on like that annoying supermarket muzak in their head.

I do not think, beyond living in places of extremes, that doing one thing or not doing one thing is what is going to make the child. For me I find it works when I try and parent much like I am told to do with all else, think, be moderate, be fair, I am not always right and have to admit it.   That's it - I got not other must do's because this blog is my opinion and I have no real qualifications, as most authors of those "you must make sure to" articles don't either, to make a fact based declaration.

I try to teach my kids to be kind, to understand their world and how I can be of use in helping them navigate it and most of all to build a trust (hence the muzak in their heads) that translates to them knowing when to come to me for advice.

My kids are fortunate and they are told so but we chose to give them things, in good spirit, so we also choose to make sure they know that they have more than they need but not so much that they forget it.

I expose my kids as often as possible to people, places, foods, ideas that are diverse not because I think that makes them better but because it makes them curious and open to ideas.  That is my kids, may not be yours, neither one of us is wrong.

Maybe all these articles annoy me because they serve to remind us more often than not to focus on the "parenting as competition with other parents" instead of being truly a reference for all of us who should admit that we wing it a lot more than we actually know 100% of what we are doing.  Maybe you don't, maybe you are reading this and think none of this applies, that works for me.

I applaud anyone who chooses to be a parent, as much as I also support those that choose not to be for whatever reasons.  So what if our children are imperfect they are human after all, not some prize to be held up.  They are the reward not the means to get one for being written about.

So go be parents - whatever that means to you - be the parents you know your children need because most of us know that more than any article can ever tell us.  If you have a nugget of info to share pass it on but if you have only "I did it betters" well then good luck with your writing career, this girl is passing on that.