Month: May 2014

8 Lies We’re Told About The “Real World”

This is so true. Couple things to add –

1. There are no labels – Ashley is definitely right. One of my conservative friends like to speak disparagingly about another friend of mine because he is a “leftist.” Understanding where this “leftist” is coming from is, of course, out of the question because he’s a “leftist.”

2. Dating becomes easier – I actually thought dating did become easier. For one thing, dating was actually possible in my 20’s. No one would give me the time of day in high school. So all the stupid dating mistakes most people make at 16? Yeah … I made those mistakes at 20. And then I decided that I didn’t give a shit about the games and I’d just go with being honest. And blunt. Amazingly, this worked pretty well.

3. You should finish college if you want to be successful – Ashley phrased this really well. I finished college with the specific objective of being employable afterward. I treated college like an investment in my future ability to provide for my family and it worked out great. It didn’t hurt that I studied accounting, a field with great job security. But I have also see too many people piss away their 20’s by switching majors 6 times, never finishing a degree of ANY sort, racking up a bunch of student loans, and then wonder why they can’t get anywhere in life except for a dead-end job with a good chunk of their wages garnished to pay back their student loans.

4. College will be the best years of your life – It was for me! But not for the reasons most people think. I was a single mom on public assistance and I lived in a family-friendly university housing complex. I had the flexibility to be the parent I wanted to be, I had great relationships with my neighbors, and we all just had this big sharing circle of kids’ clothes, advice, support, and even friendship.

5. Honesty is the best policy – I still do believe that honesty is the best policy, but there is an art to being honest. If I have to tell a client that the shit their pulling won’t fly, I don’t say, “The shit you’re pulling won’t fly.” Instead I say something like “You may want to consider X because Y. Also because we won’t sign the report if you leave it like that, but mainly because Y.”
Honesty also worked will for dating (see #2). I went on many first and only dates where I wasn’t into the guy. Instead of the usual, “Oh yeah sure I’d love to see you again, blah blah …” I said “You know, I’m not really feeling it.” Cruel? Maybe. Disarming? Definitely. But neither one of us had to waste any more time on something that clearly wasn’t going anywhere.

6. You have to choose between a career or family – I’m spoiled. I have a stay-at-home husband. I have no idea how I would be a halfway decent mom to our 3 kids without him.

7. Time heals all wounds – Over time, the new normal feels, well, normal. Over time, the work of healing begins to be effective, assuming you are in the right circumstances to heal. But no, time by itself doesn’t heal anything.

8. Success comes with hard work – nothing to add here. Ashley’s spot-on.

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Emily’s abortion video

Okay.  I can’t watch this and not comment on it.  Couple of quick observations –

1) I believe that she has nothing but the best of intentions.  Accusing her of being an attention-seeking aspiring actress is not helpful.  Are you a mind-reader?  Then STFU.

2) I noticed that during the procedure, she did that slow, deliberate, relaxation-breathing thing that I do at the gynecologist.  Ladies – this is a very effective way to deal with that type of discomfort.

3) It was very wise to disable comments here if the comments here are any indication.  These types of comments are not helpful.  You want to circle-jerk and preach to the choir?  That’s your right.  But it’s also my right to call you out as an asshole.

Now then.

This whole thing hit me in the pit of my stomach.  What kills me is – how does she not realize what’s truly going on?  How can she simultaneously marvel at her body’s ability to create life, keep her sonogram as a sentimental memento, observe that the whole procedure was “birth-like” … and still not understand that a life ended that day?

Here’s the thing – I understand that feeling of your heart falling through your stomach as you watch that second pink line slowly take shape on the pregnancy test.  I understand that feeling of wondering how this new little life will impact your own.  I understand not knowing how it’s possible to go from “single” to “mom.”  I understand how being “pregnant” feels like this weird, amorphous, out-there concept that doesn’t even seem real.  I get that!  Because that was me 11 years ago.

But a life is a life is a life.  What reason could there possibly be that’s compelling enough to end another’s life?  A life so small they can’t even fight back?  All other human rights (liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.) depend on first being granted the right to life.  Unless the right to life is held sacred, all other human rights ring hollow.  I cannot imagine ever being pro-choice.

In the Cosmo article (already linked above) she says, “Our society breeds this guilt.  We inhale it from all directions.”  Has she considered that maybe there’s a reason?  Especially since we have the technology to see, without a doubt, the development of a human being virtually from the moment of conception on?  It’s not by random chance that hearts and minds are changing.  And it doesn’t hurt that through a combination of government programs, churches(*), and crisis pregnancy centers(**), there are fewer and fewer circumstances where a woman would feel like she needs to choose abortion out of desperation.  What’s done is done and can never be undone.  But we can move forward and help support everyone in a crisis situation.

And that’s what I keep coming back to – I get that she wants to help and support women in their time of need, but how does she talk about life and still not see the reality of what abortion is?

(*) At least, the ones I’ve attended.

(**) At least, the ones I’ve been involved with

An open letter to Kelsey

Dear Kelsey,

I glanced through your list of goals for your children and read your later post bowing out of the parenting advice arena. There’s no need to do that if you don’t want to!  Everyone’s experience is different and what works for you may not work for others … but then again it might!

I see since then you have rethought quitting parenting advice.  Good for you!

Since you got some discouraging comments on what was overall a good list,  I thought I would throw you some support.  In particular, the  I think it’s obvious you don’t have older kids. Do you really think you’re qualified to be handing out parenting advice?” comment REALLY irked me.  So, as a mom of older kids, I thought I would chime in.

Anyway, my kids are 10 (almost 11), 8, and 11 months. I like how aggressive your plan is regarding teaching them chores and other skills.  After all, the goal of parenting is to prepare kids to be functional adults, so the sooner they learn these skills, the better. My older two have been expected to sweep, take out garbage, do their own laundry, clean their own bathroom, load the dishwasher, hand-wash dishes, babysit their baby brother when needed (including diaper changes, feeding and bottle cleaning and prep), AND do their homework for at least a year now (in the case of the older one, a few years now).

We talk about money openly and honestly with both the older ones, including how much I make (wow, that’s a lot!), how much we pay every month for the house and other bills (wow, that’s a lot!), and how much we pay in taxes. We showed them the tax refund check last year (wow, that’s a lot! can we go shopping?) and explained to them that we needed the money for me to take time off work for when their baby brother is born (oh, that makes sense).

We had a puberty / sex talk with my older one less than a year ago, so she had some exposure to these topics at home before they started talking about puberty in school (definitely wise, in my book – take control of that narrative as early as possible and share YOUR values. Don’t do the “sex is bad, mmmkay?” that my parents did and then wonder why your kids don’t take you seriously).

Both the older ones can make sandwiches themselves and pour their own milk / juice beginning at around 7 or 8 (although cleaning up after themselves is still a bit spotty), and the older one helps chop vegetables with a large knife (while supervised of course) and is basically my husband’s little sous chef in the kitchen. She can make her own eggs in the morning (but she doesn’t usually because she tends to leave a mess).

And that’s just off the top of my head.  I look at my kids and I am so proud of who they are today and who they will grow up to be.  I’m sure you will be the same when your kids are 10 and 8.

I like your set of goals for the teen years especially.  My kids aren’t there yet, but I remember being a teen not so long ago.  I wish my parents had been more like the parent you want to be.  Again, the primary goal of parenthood is PREPARING kids to be adults instead of PROTECTING them until their 18th birthday, and I think that you really understand this.  It shows in your list.

So to sum up, your goals for your kids are absolutely doable.  Screw the haters.  You’re doing a great job.

Love,

Athena