Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I have always been a victim of stereotypes, for as long as I can remember (haven't we all). When I was younger, it was my hair. There were all sorts of stereotypes I was labeled with because of my hair...quick temper, hot headed, etc. I never really considered myself quick to anger or full of ire. I also got labeled a lot as being anorexic because I was so skinny (notice the word WAS)...often a snob because I am shy. These never quite hurt much (the hair one I laughed at and the anorexic one I thought a compliment, sadly).

And, let's face it, I am quick to label people too. How many times has a blonde friend done something "ding-bat-like" to which I would point out their blonde hair. How often have I, one who got ridiculed for being so skinny, have I started labeling those who are skinnier than me now. Most of the time it is in jest, but sometimes it is VERY unfair on my part.

A recent thing I have found myself in is homeschooling. What do you think when you think homeschool? Do you think of a kid who stays current in current trends, in touch with style and involved in sports or other activities, or do you, like me, think of kids who play chess and the violin all day...program computers...and lack any sort of social skill. A couple months ago, I decided to join a homeschool group. I asked Matt to come along because I was scared that I would be joining a cult like atmosphere and I wanted to make sure we stayed grounded in reality.........and than let the shock sink in as I looked around the room at the other parents there and saw reflections of me (whom I consider to be "normal"). At each homeschool event, I arrive in trepidation afraid of who/what we will see. I teach Sierra to look past the outside and get to the inside, but then arrive with my guard up and my blinders on, expecting to see the stereotypical homeschool family (have I not been judged enough myself for my own appearance to know NOT to do this).

Now, it is true that much of the time, we will find ourselves like aliens in a new land (many of the families are stuck in a time warp from the past) and let's face it...most of these families have been homeschooling for years and years while we have been doing it for days and days...they are more saturated in it. But still, why do we stereotype homeschoolers?? And why so negatively? Is it really negative that a couple has a kid or two and decides that, for whatever reason(and most of the time it is in their scope the best thing for their kid(s)), to keep their kids at home and nurture and teach them??

I recently became a target for one such stereotyping...and it struck a cord with me on a deeply personal level. A friend made a dig about me being a stay at home mom, so I have the time to do this and that. Now, this is something I have heard at least a 100 million times over the past (almost) 12 years I have been a stay at home mom...but hearing it from this friend made me pause. Wow. Here I am working day in and day out. This job is forever consuming my mind, body and soul...and this is my job...I am a mom. I do not take this job lightly. I am raising up two members of a future society. It is my job to help mold them into functioning and successful members of this society. Talk about pressure. And, let's face it, too many do not take this job seriously enough.

I remember when Sierra was a baby (tiny baby), I was the quintessential SAHM...I did lay around watching soaps (new mom, new baby). That didn't last long, though. Quickly I realized that there needed to be more. Throughout the years, it has not gotten easier....OH NO...it has gotten so much harder. I have a prepubescent girl and a son in school. I am at his school all the time. I am constantly with Sierra both emotionally (prepubescent girl) and physically...working on her curriculum, getting her to activities. I am cleaning the house...cooking meals....coordinating activities....taxi driving everywhere....among a million other things. My days are full from 6:30 in the morning to 10:00-10:30 each night....and often my night's sleep is affected by kid's bad dreams, sickness or continual thoughts of what didn't get done that day and needs to get done the next.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the weak. It is time consuming and the pay grade is low (not really...my rewards are my children). I was talking to Matt the other day about how many parents I know who could not for the life of them tell me the name of their kid's teacher from the previous year and whether or not they liked them or not. I can list each of Sierra's teachers and what I liked or did not like about each. Matt finds himself in the position of having co-workers asking him why I do not work since my kids are "older" now. They feel that it is unfair for Matt to be the sole provider. His response is that I AM working. He said the other day that a good way to look at it is that I am not one of those parents who cannot remember my kids' teachers and I am involved in every aspect of their lives. When I have approached the topic of working, Matt has adamantly resisted. He feels that I do have a job, one that is far more important than a pay check.

So when it gets trivialized, it stings. This is my life's work...this is who I am.

But, what I need to do is turn this on it's head. Is it fair for me to be labeled so lightly (a SAHM has the time to do anything since she does not have a 9-5 job)?? No (I have a 24 hour a day...7 day a week job with no raises and no vacation time). Is it right for people to look at SAHM as a lazy profession with women who do not contribute to the household?? Absolutely not!! Is it right for me to label other people with titles even before I know them or their circumstances? no, No, NO!!! How does it feel to have your heart's work ridiculed? Bad, real bad. How does it feel to be the one doing it? Before being trivialized myself, I would not have recognized it....now, I feel like crap. I have gotten to know several homeschool moms and kids. The stereotype is wrong, people. Yes, there are some who could be thought of as weird by our society's standards, but, for the most part, it is not true. I recently had conversations with several homeschoolers and was ashamed at myself for being so quick to judge. These people love their kids like crazy and endeavor to provide the best for them both in higher education and providing a safe and nurturing environment.

I have been telling myself lately that I need to post a reminder sign in my car reminding me to speak kindly to everyone, even if they are rude to you...you NEVER know what their circumstances are. I think I need to post another sign stating that it is not my place to judge....but to LOVE. We are all different in shapes, sizes, color and personality.....and thank God for it. I certainly wouldn't want everyone like ME!!

So, my new mantra is: Must stop judging what I do not know and, instead, getting to know that person I found myself so eager to judge.

And so what if the mom on the elliptical machine next to me has had 4 kids and her stomach is as flat as they come and her hips are narrow. God bless her...she has 4 kids!!!...and wouldn't my tummy be flatter, also, if I put the time and energy in too??

Monday, February 14, 2011


It's sad, really, the things I see posted on facebook and blogs about other women's children. I often wonder...are they just writing prose and trying to be entertaining, or am I just incredibly lucky.

I am around so many women, both online and not, who constantly dog on their kids and their husbands...proclaiming anyone who does not is just lying, trying to make themselves better than they already are.

This is simply not true, or am I alone. I mean, I recently came across a blog that was titled something like "My Evil Daughter" or something along those lines. I could hardly believe it. Throughout her blog, she continually referred to her daughter as evil. This greatly saddened me.

I have been entertained lately reading the writings of a blogger who calls herself "The Meanest Mom". I find myself laughing as I read her writing...she is very witty. Tonight, though, I found myself shaking my head as I read her latest post about her kids ranting and all the comments of women talking about their kids. I scratch my head and wonder. Could this be true? Could this be right? Do moms really think this way about their kids?

And husbands. Oh how we women like to dog on our husbands. Get a group of women together and they will, undoubtedly start talking smack about their husbands...they're never home, they don't do any housework, they don't play with the kids, etc. Someone in my Sunday School class piped up this past Sunday about men not stepping up to the plate as spiritual heads of the household and I do believe that is true...more and more you are finding women take up that role. But, I wonder...how much of that is our creation. We hold our husbands to such low standards...we dog on them every chance we get...we don't expect "good behavior".

This is true of kids, I think. We label them...terrible twos, hormonal teens, rotten, or, one I hate, SIBLING RIVALRY. I hate labels. I never put those expectations on my children. I have never dreaded those "terrible twos" years...I always went along with both my kids each day like it was a new day.......and wonder of wonders, they were great. I never expected my kids to act bad towards each other because that is how brothers and sisters are. I laid down the expectations of love and respect and my kids truly love and respect each other. I hear so many tell me "wait until the teen years". I close my ears (mentally) and do the lalalalas (mentally). I will not speak that over my children.

And, sadly, when the topic of husbands comes up, I clamp my mouth shut. Not because I am trying to avoid saying something bad about my husband, but simply because there is nothing bad I can really say. Isn't it sad...I feel guilty about having a good husband. He DOES do dishes....he LOVES to play with the kids....he COOKS...he puts the toilet seat DOWN....etc. We do this thing called TALKING. Same with the kids...we TALK about things, behaviors.

Now, am I living in some kind of la la land...making believe my family is perfect? No. My family is not perfect. We deal with issues of attitude with our daughter as her emotions go up and down, but we deal with them calmly and use those as training for controlling those emotions. We deal with issues of my son being a pain with my daughter, but we deal with that in teaching our daughter how to properly handle an annoying situation while teaching our son to not be annoying. My husband can be annoying. He is a bit too goofy sometimes and can be spacey in tasks at hand, but I understand that a man's brain does not work the same as a woman's. There are ways to overcome with out nagging or having attitude.

My family is not perfect, but we get along. By reading so many different blogs, I wonder..are we alone?? Do all these women have "evil" children?? Is it a constant war in their homes?? Surely, these stories are for pure entertainment?? Surely, all women do not have loser husbands who only know how to pick their nose?

We need to build each other up, not tear each other down. Love each other.

That is all...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl 2011

Throughout this great country of ours, families and friends gathered together to partake in one of this country's greatest traditions....Super Bowl Sunday. It doesn't matter who the teams are...it doesn't matter where the game is played...all that matters is that the food abounds...the men can whoop and holler together...the women can cheer and gossip together...and the food abounds. It is a night for the all American to celebrate being American, arm in arm. At the end of the night, half the country cheers while the other half mourns...but in the end, everyone is exhausted from the sheer energy put into each play called by their favorite team...each execution or failure that brings men and women alike out of their seats in triumph or despair.

Ah...what a night..........


There is OUR version!!!

I have to say, this was my favorite Super Bowl Sunday to date!! Matt went to Subway and got some footlongs...bags of Doritos lay open on the counter (both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch)...both Pepsi (Max) and Coca Cola (Cherry Coke Zero) were opened...Mini Drumsticks in the freezer....and....Evan Almighty playing on the TV.

I am proud to be an American and partake in most of America's greatest traditions, but football, even in Super Bowl form, is just not one I can do. I bet my dad would be so disappointed in me. You see, he was a football coach by profession. In retirement, he spent HOURS practically each day watching football in any form he could get it. I grew up with it playing non-stop.

This year, oh, this year, we had the best of BOTH worlds. We sat down, as a family, and gorged out on bad food (ok, ours was a bit better than some....). We watched a really funny movie, all the while, our cool little dvr RECORDED the Super Bowl for us...not for us to watch FOOTBALL...but for us to watch the famous commercials. Oh how fun to fast forward through Christina Aguilera singing the anthem (though I ended up suffering through it later online to find out about the line she forgot). Oh the JOY in fast forwarding through MANY LONG minutes of football and get to the commercials in between....Doritos pug commercial (FUNNY). Oh the relief to fast forward through a TERRIBLE half-time show (Fergie singing Guns N Roses??). Oh the hilarity in seeing OZZY OSBOURNE in a commercial with JUSTIN BIEBER!!

It was a great night for us. Daniel declared he would eat a dorito every time a dorito commercial aired (and later got disappointed to see that ALL the dorito commercials occured in the first quarter). The one and only disappointment of the night was the shortened version of the Darth Vader/VW commercial...SO CUTE!!!

So, are we unamerican?? Maybe we are. I just thank God that I did not marry a man who liked football!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

And the Oscar Goes To

The Super Bowl airs this weekend and I think I may be in one of a very small precentage of families that just does not give much of a flip for it. Oh, we will take advantage of the opportunity to gorge out on "football" food, but that is where it lies with us. I do not even know WHO is IN the super bowl and did not know until this past week that it is even here in Texas....the ONLY reason I found out it was in Texas is because of the drama with the weather!!! We turn it on each year for the commercials, but even that gets boring (now that I think about it, the last time I crafted was last Super Bowl...I dragged all my stuff downstairs and sat at the table and cricut'd it up something fierce).

Now, the Oscars....this was an event in this house for years. Matt and I are avid movie watchers and what woman does not like to see the glamour and fashion the night has to offer. In recent years, though, the Oscars have gone down the toilet. More often than not, movies are chosen based on how "artsy fartsy" they are or controversial. Many times, I have not even heard of the movie (though in one such case, "Slumdog Millionare" won and I was like...huh?...what is this movie....based on the recommendation of a friend, I watched said movie and was amazed).

This year's nominations have me stumped as to what in the WORLD to cheer for? For instance, Best Picture category:

'Black Swan' -- Psycho Ballerina story...rated R...doubt I will be seeing that one.
'The Fighter' -- Looks intriguing, but set in Boston...rated R...doubt I will be seeing this one either (though I would bet the language use adds to the realism of the movie...seeing how it is set in Boston)
'Inception' -- Saw this one -- yeah, a movie that made no sense...hmmmmm
'The Kids Are All Right' -- Lesbian mothers...really??
'The King’s Speech' -- Ok, I want to see this one...Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush?? R for British language -- OK, if I will not see Boston language, does this mean I can't see British language -- Well, they are supposed to release a PG13 version, rumor says
'127 Hours' -- Based on a true story about a man who cuts his own arm off -- could...be...good?
'The Social Network' -- Facebook drama. Ok, I am an obvious fan of facebook, but a movie about it's creation?? Yeah, yeah, it's on my netflix queue.
'Toy Story 3' -- I, along with MILLIONS of others saw this one. The story was endearing, made many a MAN and woman cry...worthy of first animated best picture award, probably not.
'True Grit' -- Western...need I say more??
'Winter's Bone' -- Yeah, never even heard of that one.

Ok, SO maybe I heard of most of these. AND, maybe 2010 wasn't the best year for movies. I can think of a couple that might deserve a spot on this list.

'Book of Eli' -- controversial AND artsy fartsy?? Hello!! And it was actually a really good movie, albeit graphic in it's violence.

Ok, so I just went through a list of ALL of the movies released in 2010 and WOW, was it a SORRY year for movies!!! I SO WISH I could say that the newest Narnia installment was short-changed, but it was an utter disappointment for me (though Matt loved it). So, I guess if I had to pick from this list of movies (which, btw, is SO INCREDIBLY LONG), I would have to pick....well, I don't know. I think it would either be 'The King's Speech' or 'Social Network', based on my own general leanings, but I do think a good candidate would have been 'The Book of Eli'. Let's just hope that 2011 has more to offer than such greats as 'Marmaduke', 'Furry Vengeance', or, even, 'The A-Team' (sorry Matt).

The category for Best Animated Feature is a big disappointment. This year, for once, was a great year in animation and they offer up 3 for this award...one of which I had never heard of before, and after seeing clips, do not think I want to hear of again.

Best Animated Feature Film

'How to Train Your Dragon' -- Actually saw this one in the theater 3 times!! It was a great movie (though I know many did not like the adaptation, feeling the books were better...duh, when is the book not better). I fell in love with Toothless and found the story and animation really spectacular. In the shadow of the animation of 'Avatar', I agreed with many critics who felt this animation was more spectacular.
'Illusionist' -- Yeah, never heard of it.
'Toy Story 3' -- As stated above, it is a beautiful movie with an endearing story that brought a tear to many an eye. Who couldn't help but have their heart strings pulled at the end when Andy gave up his toys to a new owner who would appreciate them as much as he did as a child. BUT, was it Oscar worthy? We all know, Pixar wins out 99.9% of the time and this will likely win again.

I have to stomp my feet and cup my hands and shout "BOO" at the Academy or whoever comes up with the nominations, though. It is a severe tragedy to find that the best animated feature of the year failed to make this list, "Despicable Me". This movie, above any other movie this year (animated or not), was my own, personal, most anticipated movie of the year. I was almost as giddy as the kids were as the time drew near for the movie to be released and after we FINALLY saw it, I was utterly and completely satisfied with it's delivery. I laughed out loud (which rarely happens), my heart strings were pulled, and it was, in my opinion, a GENIUS of a movie with perfectly timed moments of silliness and seriousness....and do I even have to mention the MINIONS!??!!!! This was, by far, the BEST movie I saw in 2010. How dare they not even include this in the animated slot, much less the best movie slot!!!

Another movie that was SORELY missed from this list was 'Tangled'. What a GREAT movie...easily top 3 princess movies for me of all times. This movie had EVERYTHING from top notch animation to beautiful story line to complete hilarity. It is a shame that it has not gotten it's due (though they are laughing their way all the way to the bank).

BUT, I digress and throw my support to "How To Train Your Dragon". I have the UTMOST respect for Pixar and what they have done over the years. I am a HUGE fan. BUT, I have to go against the grain on this one. Night Fury must be heard!!!

I cannot even go there on the list of actresses and actors nominated in the Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories. Most I do not even know. Those I do know I don't care for except for Colin Firth, which I think is great, so there you go. I have no thoughts on who shoulda been nominated for any of these categories....as stated, this was a BAD year for movies. No performances stood out to me....maybe Denzel Washington in 'Book of Eli'.

There are many problems with movies today. One problem lies in the lack of originality. No one seems to be able to come up with new ideas, but, instead, rehash old ones: 'The A-Team', 'Marmaduke', etc. There are many movies released just in hopes of making a quick buck for the studios...uh, 'Furry Vengeance' anyone. Than there are the movies that are made solely to cater to the "artsy fartsy" academy sect...nevermind if the rest of us has any interest in them.

But, that is just my ramblings...what do I know?? I am a lowly ticket-buyer who has been left with little choices in the realm of movies (went and saw 'Tangled' again today for lack of any other worthwhile movie to see). And with organizations like the Academy rewarding the mediocre...well, that just leaves us in the dark....

and on a personal note....QUIT with the 3D NONSENSE....

That is all.....