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Date Night…Cara Mamma & Principessa Style ~ Guest Post

March 31, 2010

Last week, I took Principessa (my 5 year old daughter) on a date. I told her that we were going on a special date, just she and I. She looked at me quizzically, and then I continued telling her that we, two lovely ladies, were going out to a special dinner. I was not telling her that our date night was a result of me realizing that it would be the last night of just “us.” She was off to spend a week with her dad, and then would return to a house full of people, preparing for my wedding to her future step-dad (Rocket). Principessa of course asked if she could have french fries and dessert…she had no idea what was really in store.

We arrived, me playing the role of her escort, treating her like a very big girl, at a local restaurant. Not two minutes after sitting down, did Principessa ask…if she could color. I told her that this restaurant did not have crayons for her to use. Then came the, “can I play with your phone?” I responded- “no, it is dinner, and we are going to talk.” Principessa, in her five year old way, said “that is boring!” –and here is where, i knew that I had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I am by no means an expert on parenting. My Masters in Education taught me a lot of things, but no where was there a manual for parenting. What I did know, in that moment, was that date night with my daughter was as of now, of dire importance. And that without an extreme intervention, my little Principessa was going to really believe that going out to dinner meant playing on her mom’s iphone while the adults talked.

Eventually we did talk. But I realized a few things as our night continued.

· I need to talk to Principessa–Talk, talk and more talk. Talk is more than just asking her what she did at school. How often have you asked your child what they did at school today, and they say that they can’t remember? Depending on the age, given a chance, most children, will talk about anything.
· I need to play with Principessa. While playing fun Wii games together is nice, board games are better. (Candy Land for those of you that have not played it in 30 years, is still around, and still quite fun!).
· I need to carve out sacred time, family time with Principessa. Family time….needs to be a regularly occurring event. Whether it is reading, playing, or cooking…the main ingredient of together time is key.

As a teacher, I see students with very diverse backgrounds. They speak many languages, have different cultural traditions, and come from varied socio-economic groups. There is one common characteristic though: Whether they are in kindergarten or sixth grade, their faces light up when they talk about having spent special time with their families.

So, although I know that there will be times that the iphone will need to come out… our kids need us…and really, we need them.

About CaraMamma from A Day In The Life: A mom, a wife, an ex-wife, a teacher, a runner, a cancer surivor. But really–what does that mean? I am a honest, reflective, sarcastic woman—often my own worst enemy. I tell it like it is—sometimes without a filter. I believe that optimism and a positive attitude can do just about anything, and on my days, act based on my heart and intuition.

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Spring Monday Link Up

March 29, 2010

This weekend was beautiful eh?<—-eh for my Canadian peeps

It is so wonderful to have the windows open and the Spring breeze clearing out the stale air that has stifled the family for 6 months.

It even makes cleaning the house a bit more pleasant…  just a bit ~wink

Today is Monday and another day for Mister Linky

So enter the url of the post you want everyone to see and then go around and visit everyone on the list.

Fast Times at Blogger High ~ Guest Post

March 24, 2010

Only three short months ago, my finger hovered over the “publish post” button for the very first time. I was a brand new blogger, and I felt about as clueless as I did on the day I started high school.
 
I remember walking through the big double doors and gazing at the maze of hallways and the laughing faces of my fellow students.
 
My peers wore jackets depicting their team affiliations; they stood in tightly knit, impenetrable groups; and they pushed and shoved with good-natured aggression born of familiarity. 
 
I gnawed my hang-nail and stood out of the way, fearful of getting knocked over, paralysed by insecurity. 
 
Time passed (thank goodness), and after five long years, I found myself assimilated; as confident and comfortable as it’s possible to be at eighteen.
 
But when I ventured into the cyber hallways of the blogosphere just a few short months ago, I was engulfed by a wave of ineptitude that I’d recognize anywhere. It felt like the first day of school all over again.
 
I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of blogs. I hadn’t a clue where to begin.
 
Of course, much like in high school, I found the most popular blogs first. The equivalent of pretty, high-ponytailed cheerleaders, these blogs announced their presence with attractive, custom templates, inviting colours, calligraphy fonts and cute-as-a-button avatars that seemed to scream “My cartoon-self is prettier than your cartoon-self.”
 
My cyber-self-esteem quickly plummeted.
 
By comparison, my unremarkable Minima Template looked staid and boring. I wanted my blog to be pretty and popular. Similarly, the cheerleaders of the blogosphere have thousands of followers and receive dozens of comments. I was lucky to inspire one or two thoughtful missives. My (seven) followers were real life neighbours and friends.
 
As in high school, I thought the solution might be to run with a faster crowd. I noticed a tendency for the cool, edgier bloggers to stick together on the periphery. They reminded me of the pierced and tattooed kids who sauntered out of class to have a smoke, talking about awesome concerts at clubs named The Seeping Pit, by bands named Misery’s Handmaiden.
 
I tried punk on for size back in high school, but only briefly. I donned ripped corduroy pants and dirty t-shirts bearing logos like Jim’s Gas or Brian’s Auto Parts. Regrettably, we asthmatics tend to look anything but cool when taking drags of pilfered menthol cigarettes.
 
In much the same way, while I loved reading these sassy blogs, I was pretty sure I didn’t have the street cred to pull off even an anonymous comment. I’ve never felt comfortable swearing in writing. Sober second thought always prevails. Besides, what if my mom reads it?
 
Square that I am, I thought “mom blogs” might be a better hang-out. But there’s a glitch. We don’t yet have any ankle-biters of our own. And the mom bloggers demand lifetime membership and never-ending dues. I look forward to jointing that club, but not quite yet.
 
So, I started to hunt for my own “clique.” And I’m still looking. But along the way I’ve discovered that barriers within the blogosphere break down much more readily than they do in high school.
 
And given that they are virtual, this makes perfect sense.
 
It turns out those pretty bloggers with the lovely avatars are often happy to share their hot pink buttons and blinkies; the edgy bloggers welcome a little *clean* friendly banter, and mom bloggers are a pretty inclusive bunch. They are moms, after all.
 
Perhaps other bloggers have been happy to discover We Believe Blogs for the same reason that I was. Everyone wants to belong somewhere.
 
In high school that’s a fantasy. But in the blogosphere, maybe we can make it real.

 
About Suzanne of  Thirty: Own Up To Being Grown Up

I’m an Ottawa based writer. I like books, travel and frozen pizza (really, I do). I hate participating in any activity that involves strapping something to one’s feet. This includes, but is not limited to, skiing, skating, snowshoeing. If you’re wondering about a Canadian who dislikes winter sports, well, I guess don’t go out much.

IT’S SPRING! Monday Link-up

March 21, 2010

Link Up with Mister Linky! Then go visit everyone else on the list!

Remember, if you want to be a guest blogger on We Believe, email us at webelieveblogs@gmail.com

Mommy Olympics ~ Guest Post

March 17, 2010

Today I am departing from my usual child whinefest to write an open letter to mommy’s everywhere about a subject we are all aware of but refuse to talk about. I call them the Mommy Olympics.
The Mommy Olympics is a series of races we began to compete in once we even thought about having children. The first competition, who would get the first dose of baby dust, who would be the first to get the stick to turn blue, make 2 lines, beep, scream whatever your stick (or sticks) did to alert you that you have won your first medal in the Mommy Olympics. Once you mastered this first feat, you were able to move into the Olympic village of Mommyhood. From our warm cozy village, we watched as some of our friends, no matter how hard they trained could not grasp the gold medal of pregnancy. We felt sad for them, we worried about our medal’s shine and how that shine felt each time they saw us each time we grew into a new uniform. Some of our friends finally grabbed the gold and moved into the village with us. As the village grew we began to see that the competition was stiff and the decisions to be made could have lasting impact on our pursuit of medal status. The questions and silence our answers sometimes brought ( It’s OK to have the tuna right?) made us question our athletic ability (we are all in this together right??) The questions and doubts begin to pile up, small glass of wine? Drugs or no drugs? Birth in the hospital, birthing center, home, bathtub, woods, jungle, at sunrise at sunset. The choices were dizzying, if I make the wrong move will I lose?

But we have our fellow mommy’s right? We are all in this together, we are all on the same team. Well, maybe not, it seems like we should be but suddenly you see camps forming within our Olympic village. Now we are like distant countries, huddled together to try and beat the other side to the gold. Perhaps the stress of 9 months of vomiting, stretching, not sleeping and 1 too many bowls of Apple Jacks has taken it’s toll. Once we finish this next marathon we will be able to regroup and our team will heal.

So after many month’s we move out of the village one by one as our next medal makes it’s arrival, screaming all the way home.

Now that we are though the hard part, these Olympics must be over, we will all go back to the team we were.

Unless you, go back to work or stay home or breastfeed or bottle feed or breast and bottle feed, if you use a pacifier, if you don’t, if you let them cry it out, if you rock your medal to sleep or GASP if sleep with your medal. The judges table never seems to be satisfied no matter how hard you try.

These mini competitions never seem to end, the stakes keep rising and the medals become even more difficult to attain. Eating, crawling, sitting up, walking talking singing, dancing, jumping running, whatever skill it is there is a who did it first, Pre-School, when did YOU start? “Ohhh she’s not potty trained yet hmm, well she won’t go to kindergarten in a diaper will she.” Activities, “well, I had Muffy in dance, music, violin, and drivers education at 18 months, you can never start to early when Harvard is a stake.” School, public, private, hold them back a year, start on time, it never seems to end. Conventional, Organic, local, homemade and that is just for baby food.

What is my point to all this bitching and moaning? It is really not a point, it is a question. Why?

It seems like the group of people who should be the most supportive of mother’s is the least. The Mommy Olympics has changed the sisterhood of women we were. We secretly judge each move another mom makes. Are we really that insecure in our abilities as mom’s that we have to rat our other athletes out for steroid (or McDonald’s for dinner) to the judges?

Does it really matter if we work, stay at home, home school, private school, make our baby food or hand loom with Organic cotton each frock our darlings ever put on their precocious bodies? Or does it matter that we can make decisions that work for us, work for our families and our children and know without judgment we have a squad of Olympic caliber athletes standing behind us to cheer us on and help us to reach the most desired medal of all, happy, healthy well adjusted children (that grow up and move away so we can have lunches that once again involve wine).

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are mom’s who are the best support another mom could want. I have some of the best mom’s I know as my friends and could not do my job without them but we are in the same Olympic village, we pretty much have the same viewpoints. I am talking about mommyhood as a whole. I am guilty of judging other mom’s ( I have become much less judgy after my 3rd child who has totally pushed me over the edge of sanity) I am talking about the mom you see at Starbucks with 1 child and a nanny in tow, the mom who drops her kids off at daycare in the morning and picks them up at dinner, the mom who has a medical degree but gave it all up to stay home and run carpool, the business woman who now runs book fair like it’s a Fortune 500 company. The mom’s who don’t do things the way we do, or the way we think they should.

You may not agree with me and you may live in Mommyutopia but there must be something to it. There have been several excellent books written on the subject.

Maybe check one out:

The Mommy Myth

http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Myth-Idealization-Motherhood-Undermined/dp/0743260465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219907&sr=8-1
Mommy Wars
http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Wars-Stay-at-Home-Choices-Families/dp/0812974484/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219968&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Behind-Mommy-Wars-Decides/dp/1580051294/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262219968&sr=8-2
The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids

http://www.amazon.com/Was-Really-Good-Before-Kids/dp/081185650X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262210139&sr=1-1

 The next time you look down at your nose at that mom in Target with 3 kids all in their pajamas eating lollipops and slushes at 10 AM, don’t judge, her, she is in this with you and would really appreciate a supportive smile, you know, I have been there before.

Rebecca’s Bio:

I am a mom of 3. 2 boy’s and a girl. I work part time out of the home and double overtime at home. I am married to a very patient man who understands that being married to me involves a lot of nodding as if you are listening to me ramble. My children are truly the light of my life. I wish I could freeze frame them a million times a day so I will never forget the many moments that pass during the day.

Visit Rebecca at Letters From Crazyville

Monday Link-Up 3/15

March 15, 2010

Its time for Monday link up!

You know what to do…
Okay so if you don’t cuz its your first time here’s a brief tutorial

1. Click the link below
2. You will be sent to the page to add your URL. This is the website address to the exact post you want to promote.
3. Add the name you want people to see that identifies you ie. Chief
4. Now visit everyone else who has linked. Tell them where you came from and they will do the same!

We would love any peeps you can send our way! We have almost 200 members and would love to add all of your friends as well!

For better or for worse (or not) ~ Guest Post

March 10, 2010

There’s a new series starting on NBC this week. It’s called “The Marriage Ref,” and it one-ups the rest of so-called “reality” TV by giving celebrities a chance to critique couples in real-life marital distress. One of the series promo spots boasts, “We’re gonna give couples the one thing they’ve always wanted: a winner!”

Ouch.

It’s comedy. I get that. But it’s really not funny. In fact, I find it downright appalling. In marital conflict, you either have two winners or two losers. There really isn’t another option. Say one person convinces the other—so now they both believe the same thing. In other words, they both win. If two people agree to disagree, they still both win. If one person caves outwardly, without changing his or her heart—then there’s division. And everybody loses.

America may think it’s funny to ridicule a man who “has a dog for a mistress” or a woman who “married a police officer and now she has a Village People Cop!” But that says something very sad about America. These are people who need real help. Instead they’re being victimized. Trivialized. Made into a laughingstock.

And what kind of people would put themselves out there to receive such ridicule, anyway? Is there any hope for such a couple?

No doubt someone out there right now is thinking, Oh, give me a break. Lighten up! Just laugh and enjoy it! Why do you have to take everything so seriously?

But marriage is serious. Not in a “woe is me, gloom and doom” kind of way, but in the same way that having a child is serious: it is—or is supposed to be—a commitment of love that is made for a lifetime. You don’t just walk away from it one day because you got tired of it, or because it’s too hard. Of course, it takes both members approaching the commitment this way in order for marriage to flourish. But that is what love is. We’ve gotten used to thinking of love as an emotion—but emotion is fleeting, and love remains because it is chosen again and again and again, by both partners.

Recently I heard a story about a couple that had the perfect “destination” wedding: they got married in Cinderella’s castle at Disney World…only to be divorced less than a year later. Not separated, not getting a divorce—divorced. Done.

My first reaction was: How does something like that happen? It takes longer than that to get used to being married—much less to give up on it!

In the moment that two people get married, a new family comes into being. That is a beautiful thing. We have no business getting our chuckles at the expense of others—especially not when the implications are so far-reaching. When we encourage this kind of exploitation, what kind of message do we send to the next generation? When we spend more time, money and energy preparing for “the perfect wedding” than we do preparing for the marriage itself, what other end can we expect?

What kind of example are setting for the young adults among us? Are we really as shallow as this makes us look?
**
Kathleen Basi is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, flute and voice teacher, composer, choir director, natural family planning teacher, scrapbooker, sometime-chef and budding disability rights activist. Visit her at www.kathleenbasi.com.