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May 4, 2013
Good afternoon, ladies, and how is your Saturday? It’s official. I’m expecting again. What’s even more surprising than the fact that I seem to have spontaneously developed properly working female plumbing? I’ve managed to muddle my way through over half the pregnancy experience with no symptoms!
When I became pregnant with Tabitha, she made her presence known within the first three weeks. My little vegetarian baby turned my diet upside down and for nearly 4 months I couldn’t guarantee the ability to keep down even saltines or tap water. I subsisted most often on raw ginger root and my prenatal vitamins took care of the rest. Weight loss has always been difficult for me, but without even trying I lost fifteen pounds during my first trimester with her. My only escape from the crippling nausea was sleep, and I found I needed a lot of it.
This newest addition to my family is not nearly so picky or so much trouble. Last month, when I finally resigned myself to the loss of Tabitha’s milk supply, I even had my first fast food and mixed drink in nearly two years. As I look back over the last four or five months, I begin to understand how some women say they didn’t know they were pregnant until the latest stage, or even until they were in labor. The one drawback of the ease of this pregnancy has been the speed with which I have gained weight. I am now at the same weight I was when I was 8 months pregnant last time, and since I’m sitting at about roughly 5 months now? Well, needless to say, this does not please me. In my worst moments, I imagine my 5″2″, 9 months pregnant frame stacked at over 250 pounds and having to give birth at home because I can’t fit down the stairwell or out our front door.
Other than the irrational fretting over my weight, I do not have a lot to report, medically speaking. The OB-GYN office was slow to respond to my requests for appointments, so even though I am estimated to be between 22 and 26 weeks, I still have had no blood work or ultrasound. In fact, I wound up going to a Planned Parenthood just to ensure that I could get my pregnancy confirmed in a timely manner. To be quite frank, I was in denial up until they came back with the results last Monday. The only symptom I have experienced with any regularity (and this is the one that also caused me to use the old OTC test at home, actually) were those feathery, teasing, first kicks that you might begin to feel in the second trimester. In the last two weeks, they have become far more forceful, and are now commonplace to the point that they are impossible to ignore.
Tabitha continues to surprise us daily. In fact, she started running today. Of course, she promptly fell, bumped her little head, and had her first truly scary ten minute cry. I’ll be checking her somewhat neurotically throughout the night tonight just to ensure that she didn’t give herself a concussion, even though her father is sure she didn’t. She continues to struggle with communicating her wants and needs to us, but I believe she’s making some progress. It’s either that, or I’m becoming more attuned to the meaning behind her babble. Either way, it’s getting a lot noisier in our home, and will be even more so in just a few short months. Boy, it’s going to be a hot, hot summer.
May 4, 2013
I want to write today about something that really bothers me. Let me begin by saying that there is no other country I’d rather live in, and I value our freedom of speech. There is also no viable excuse or reason whatsoever for waging violence on anyone; those who inflict violence and pain on others and give the reason it is for a ’cause’ of some sort or to prove some type of ‘moral’ point are being hypocritical. The September 11th terrorists called America evil and our lifestyle immoral, a claim which rings hollow when they themselves resorted to the depths of immorality in killing innocent people in a planned attack. Now, the oldest brother in the Boston bombings was quoted as saying that he had no American friends because he didn’t understand them and they had no values. If he were truly upset by what he perceived as a lack of values, then he should have responded in a way that reflected his own “high morals”, but instead he responds in a way that shows it is he — regardless of what he thought of others — who is a true epitome of evil and has no high values at all.
Yet, I worry about the values that America is projecting to these Islamic extremists and militants. If I lived in Iran or Afghanistan or some other such country and what I learned about America was only gleaned from our movies, songs, TV shows, and even our political news — I would very possibly form the opinion that American society doesn’t have a whole lot of moral values. I know we have freedom of speech, but I don’t think that a lot of what’s out there in our movies and songs, etc. reflect the values of a lot of mainstream America. I go back to that saying about with great power comes great responsibility; I think the media has to consider the impact of what they reflect about our American society – reflected to our young people as well as reflected to the rest of the world, particularly those countries that seek to harm us because of a lack of morals. I love a good suspense story, but so many of the crime TV shows are so incredibly graphic that they are hard to watch — or at least should be hard to watch. Casual sex is depicted in movies, TV, and songs as ‘the norm’ with little mention of the feelings involved or its possible impact on the parties involved.
I happened to listen to a song that was assigned to my freshman son in a Criminal Justice class — it was called “97 Bonnie & Clyde” by Eminem, the rapper, and was about the man in the song killing his wife and mother of his toddler daughter and then putting the wife in the trunk of the car while he takes their daughter to the lake to play (where he dumps is wife’s body, telling their daughter not to worry, that mommie wants to see how long she can float and that he’s prepared a nice bed for her at the bottom of the lake.) What? And another Eminem song talks about killing “Kim” (the name of his real life wife) and is explicit about beating her and calling her derogatory names. And the sales of Eminem’s songs have set records. This is disturbing to me when someone who has talent and can reach a huge segment of our youth and he chooses to do so with these violent and eerie lyrics. What does this say about our society? I still believe there are a lot of Americans who would be uncomfortable with such song lyrics and would find them well . . . sick.
I went to the movies the other day to see “The Big Wedding” because my husband and I felt like watching a comedy, and we liked the actresses/actors involved in it. The premise of the movie was intriguing: a young couple getting married asks the groom’s adoptive parents who are divorced to pretend to be married for several days while the groom’s very Catholic biological mother visits from another country. The groom’s adoptive dad has been living with another woman for 15 years, but the groom decided a long time ago to lie to his biological mother about his parents’ break-up so she wouldn’t worry. I was ready for a few laughs, maybe a few off-color, but one of the first scenes was the groom’s dad (played by Robert De Niro) putting his long-time live-in partner on the kitchen counter and spreading her legs, as he talks about how he’s ready to give her oral sex. I know from the lack of laughter in the theater that I was not the only one we felt this particular scene went overboard. It could have been left out completely and not affected the plot of the movie, but it was like they had to put something in because it’s expected nowadays. In that same movie, the groom’s adoptive dad (De Niro) and mom (Diane Keaton) have sex again even though the dad is in this supposedly committed long-term relationship (partner played by Susan Sarandon) — and the whole thing is pretty glossed over. There were some funny lines here and there, but over all, this was not the movie I had wanted to see. They took an interesting idea for a movie and ruined it with some of the scenes and never really connected the viewer with the characters.
Alcohol and ‘partying’ are idealized in everything, while the problems caused by alcohol run rampant in our society. Some TV “reality” shows make it seem like we all fight with our families non-stop, consider relationships as contests, or sacrifice our kids for fame.
This is not the America that I see out my window. And I would really like the nations of the world to see what I see every day in my neighborhood, in our schools, in my church, in our community — and not only what’s in the media. I feel like it all comes down to communication, and we are doing a very poor job of it.
May 4, 2013
A few weeks ago my good friend posted a cryptic comment about teaching children about how things are not what they seem. Her point was that children, however many times told not to do something, may still do it, as they are impulsive, and have no ability to think rationally in adult situations. Her post frightened me, because it was so unclear as to what she was talking about. My friend is a sole parent, and she has repeatedly discussed personal safety with her children. And because her children attend the school where I work, I wondered if something happened there. It would have been great if that was all it was.
It turns out that her 11 year old daughter received a text from someone who she did not know. She exchanged texts, including giving out her name, school, and sent several photos of herself. All the time thinking she was contacted by a friend – even though she wasn’t clear on WHO that friend was. And I know what you are thinking. Do you have the same sinking feeling in your stomach as I did as I heard this story? I felt ill just knowing where it was going. And yes, the person on the other end of the texts was a man. Not another 11 year old. A grown up. The very kind of person, doing just the sort of things that my friend had warned her daughter about. Repeatedly. In detail. With emphasis.
Now you might be thinking, well, that girl wasn’t very smart. She was impulsive. She didn’t listen. Well, true, on all accounts, when it comes to this situation. But this girl is not the one to blame. It’s not her fault that there are terrible people out there that look for any opportunity to get a child in their grasp. This girl is just like any other tween that has a fun gadget that can connect her with the world. She is my daughter. She is your daughter. And now she is a very, very scared girl.
The point is that just because they can swipe with their finger and download apps and play fruit ninja, it doesn’t mean that they understand how it all falls into the little black battery powered device in their hands. They certainly don’t ask how an app is created – they just know it is there. They also don’t know who is on the other end of that text message, that Facebook post, that on-line game avatar, or chat room. Much of these things have evolved so fast that as parents we can’t keep up. But the message I’m sharing is this (copied from my friend’s post):
Children of all ages do not think like adults. No matter how many times you teach them something that will help protect them, they may still not fully comprehend how SERIOUS a seemingly innocent situation can be. They don’t have the experience or adult comprehension to be able to think a situation through safely. PLEASE, communicate frequently with your children. It could save their life!
The police were notified, and the school district security team. Since this person really didn’t do anything illegal, there is no way to confront him. However, this man will be in for a big surprise if he tries to mess with my friend or her children. $152.50 gets her a concealed carry permit.
May 3, 2013
Even though I’m the founder of a networking group for enterprising women on Long Island and Queens, NY, the Independent Business Women’s Circle, and a big believer in the power of connecting, cultivating support and learning from each other, I don’t frequent networking functions….or at least not since I became a mom. Time doesn’t always permit in the life of a work at home multi-tasking mother of a child in elementary school.
That said, I decided to take some time to visit he National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) 3rd annual National Networking Conference Spark. Ignite Your Network at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in NYC, and I was impressed. This year, the annual National Networking Conference, which brings thousands of business women together for networking, panel discussions and motivational workshops, featured Martha Stewart and Arianna Huffington as Keynote Speakers. Star Jones, NAPW National Spokeswoman, once again hosted and provided opening remarks.
The Spark. Ignite Your Network National Networking Conference also featured networking panels led by successful business women Lesley Jane Seymour, Editor-in-Chief of More Magazine, Desirée Rogers of Johnson Publishing Co., and Kim Garst of Boom! Social. Plus, there was the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops: The Transforming Leader, Reinvention – The Journey is the Destination, Igniting Your Personal Brand and others. These programs will be led by Bonnie Marcus, Forbes contributing writer founder of Women’s Success Coaching, Danielle Miller of Naked Branding, author and life-coach Kathleen Barton, and award-winning leadership consultant Sue Stanek, Ph.D.
I was only able to experience a “snapshot” of the day since I had other appointments woven around it, but I could see the gain for those attendees I briefly chatted with. For many, it seemed to be their first NAPW conference attendance, and they were pleased. There was a positive vibe and energy in the air. Women were from varying backgrounds and all ages and stages of their lives and careers.
I sat in on the Reinvention talk by Miller. While she didn’t share anything earth-shattering, I enjoyed her manner and personal stories (she is a grandmom) and how she related to the audience. She had an ease and appeal and openness that resonated, and I could see how she could attract clients who aspire to identify and pursue their passions and garner success.
I find that sometimes going to a conference, itself, whether or not you learn anything monumental, can be inspiration enough. To be in a room of pumped up business women — some of whom were successful and some wannabes, is an adrenaline rush. As a mom….and a SAHM mom….even though I’m working at home…..I’m often challenged by the isolation, especially living in the suburbs (which doesn’t entirely suit me). I made the choice to remain at home to raise my son, and while it’s not a choice I regret, it’s not always easy. I’m a people person who craves stimulation, interesting dialogue, idea exchange, etc. I revel in the companionship of other smart women who are doing cool things.
Many in the audience had questions. One woman stood up and said she was 56 and didn’t know what to do with herself. She’s now a grandmother and unemployed for the first time in her life. She doesn’t want full time employment, but she knows she wants something…something she can’t identify. Her kids are thrilled she’s not working because she’s available to babysit. Her husband encourages her to spend time growing a garden. But, she wants to grow as a person. A green thumb isn’t what she has in mind. Her concern was that potential employers might not understand or respect her choice to only work part time since she’d take a huge cut in pay from what she used to earn.
The response from speaker Miller was why not just tell them you want to balance your time? Why let yourself feel judged by that choice?
Another gal in the audience, also in her 50s, stood up and said she had always wanted to be a writer. She decided to pursue it and has been successful at it for the last four years — whatever successful means to her — she didn’t specify. What she went on to say was that she wasn’t Tolstoy or Steinbeck, and she wished she could be. She felt she wasn’t a stellar writer….she’s just good.
The response from speaker Miller was why not take pride in your own work?! Be your own voice! That drew applause.
Another gal was 28 and trying to find herself…and asked a broad-based question.
People listened attentively and hustled to get to the next breakout session when this one ended.
The day culminated in a cocktail social, which would have been nice, but I didn’t have time to stay.
My takeaway from the event was to take the time to venture out, especially if you’re a mom who doesn’t work full time and is able to spend a day at a conference. It can enlarge your world, jump start thinking, open your horizons, and at the very least, remind you there is a big world out there filled with opportunity if you’re able to have clarity, identify what you want (or don’t want), believe in taking the risk, and go for it! Don’t let yourself stagnate if you want more. It’s never too late to became what you want to be….if you want it badly enough….you might be surprised.
I’m, personally, gonna keep an eye out for other networking functions and interesting opportunities to mingle with inspiring, talented people….whether they are moms or not.
As Mother’s Day approaches….consider it a meaningful gift you can give to yourself!! You’re more than a mom, as important a role as that is. You were a person with dreams and desires before parenting became a priority, and reminding yourself of that, and inviting that spirit back into your life, if you feel you have lost is, would inspire your family as well. A happy mother is an infectious one! We all want to be around her…most of all your kids!