The TRUTH About Motherhood http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com through mom goggles Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:34:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.10 They Wanted Better For Us http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/education-for-all/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/education-for-all/#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:23:11 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24465 This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola however, all opinions expressed about the importance of education are my own. Since I was a tiny little girl of an immigrant father, I was taught that education was going to be my vehicle to success in life. My dad worked in a factory, […]

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This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola however, all opinions expressed about the importance of education are my own.

Since I was a tiny little girl of an immigrant father, I was taught that education was going to be my vehicle to success in life. My dad worked in a factory, my parents had six children and my mom stayed home to raise us, we were financially poor but rich in family and love. That’s what I grew up wanting only without so much of the financial struggle. They wanted better for us.

My parents are both very smart but only had a high school education. My dad came from a farming family and my mom came from blue-collar workers in the south. They did the best they could with the cards they were dealt. They were hard workers (still are) and did everything they could to provide their six children with all the necessities but there were not a lot of luxury left over. At the end of every day, my parents were exhausted. They wanted better for us.

I learned, as an adult, that when we were small, my parents felt a lot of frustration and disappointment in not being able to provide us with more opportunities. It didn’t matter to us, not really. We had food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and parents who loved us the best they could. We never had to worry about people using us for the things we had and our parents never had to worry about us taking our belongings for granted, we had to develop strong personalities and learned early on to appreciate everything that we had. I think it played a big part in the worth ethic we have now as adults. They wanted better for us.

My parents wanted us to have everything we wanted in life. They wanted us to work smarter not harder and they wanted us to spend more time enjoying life not just working and living paycheck to paycheck. It was imperative that each of us got a good education only they had no means and no idea of how to pay for it. They wanted better for us.

college, graduation, education, national hispanic fund, coca cola, family, latinos

They taught me from the age of reasoning that education was the great equalizer and no matter if I was a woman, a Latina or from a blue-collar family who lived in the ghetto, I could still grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer or anything else I wanted to be. The only limitation to my success was my own ability to work for it. They wanted better for us.

I knew that if I worked really hard and got the grades, I had the chance to go to school anywhere I wanted to and that meant the chance to be anything I wanted to be. That was a very powerful lesson that they taught me about life in general and it has stuck with me. If I close my eyes, I can still here my mom telling me, “ Where there is a will, there is always a way.” I believed her, even if she didn’t believe it for herself. It is probably the most important lesson they ever taught me. Its what made me the woman I am today.

I knew that an education could help me change my situation. Just because I was born poor or whatever didn’t mean that I had to spend my whole life in that same situation. Just because my parents only had high school educations didn’t mean that’s all I could have. Just because my parents had to make the best of what life gave them, I didn’t have to accept that. They wanted better for us just like all parents do.

I figured out on my own how to go to college. I worked hard for the grades and got accepted to all the schools that I applied to but I still didn’t have the money. I figured out how to apply for financial aid with the help of some of my friends and eventually, I applied for scholarships but I had waited so long that I’d missed most of the deadlines. I didn’t know any better and neither did my parents. They wanted better for us.

Eventually, I settled on a reputable state school because the ivy league schools that I got accepted to didn’t offer enough scholarship funds to cover the tuition and my parents couldn’t afford to even fly me home on holidays. I felt jilted. I had worked my tail off to get accepted to these prestigious schools and then I had no way to pay for it. I compromised my dreams because of money but I made the best of the opportunities that were available to me. I was the first person on either side of my family to ever go to college. I even went on to graduate school. Still, I want better for my children and that’s why I’m preparing now for my girl’s education.

Coca-Cola’s #ForTheDream program empowers Hispanic families to prepare, plan and pay for their teen’s college education, and inspires Hispanic students to pursue their higher education dreams and become future leaders.

This will prevent parents and students alike from not being caught off guard when the time comes for college. No child should ever have to sacrifice her education goals because of money, especially not when she’s done the work to earn it.

Although college enrollment has increased tremendously during the past two decades, the Latino population lags behind other groups when it comes degrees earned. This might be fueled by financial pressure for some students to support their families before graduation. As part of its commitment to the Hispanic community, Coca-Cola HSF #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program aims to empower Hispanic families to put their teens in the fast track to higher education.

Coca-Cola understands the importance Hispanic families place on education, and wants to help them prepare, plan and pay for college, while aiding their Latino students achieve higher education. Coca-Cola is coming together again with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help Hispanic families achieve their college dreams and aspirations, as part of the #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program. Coca-Cola is donating $150,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to be awarded in college scholarships to qualifying students. Applications are being accepted from January 1 until March 30, 2016. Resources available to help complete it are on the For The Dream microsite.

How are you preparing for your child’s education?

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Detroit Homeless Man Now Accepting Credit Cards via Square http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/homeless-man-accepts-credit-card/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/homeless-man-accepts-credit-card/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2016 18:13:59 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24456 A 42-year-old Detroit homeless man, Abe Hagenston better known as Honest Abe, is in the business of being homeless. You read that right, he has taken panhandling to the next level by developing a website for people to use to hire him and other homeless people to do odd jobs. He even bought a square […]

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A 42-year-old Detroit homeless man, Abe Hagenston better known as Honest Abe, is in the business of being homeless. You read that right, he has taken panhandling to the next level by developing a website for people to use to hire him and other homeless people to do odd jobs. He even bought a square so that he can accept credit cards from his cell phone. He has a business license and merchant’s account and all card swipes go through square.com and they do his merchant processing so he has no access to your credit card info.

I was confused because I thought homelessness was the result of some horrible thing that happened to someone, like getting AIDS, losing your house in a fire or having your child get hit by a car and here in your arms one minute and gone the next. I thought that these things could happen to anyone. That was the tragedy. Any of us could fall victim to this type of travesty at any time through no fault of our own just really shitty circumstances. That’s why I give when I can but when I heard words like square, website and business license, it felt more like a choice than a situation beyond one’s own control. It felt intentional but I didn’t know the whole story.

Apparently, honest Abe has been in the business of being homeless for nearly a decade and just got tired of hearing people say that they wish they could help but they just didn’t have any cash on them. It’s true; we are becoming a cashless society. I seldom have cash and usually, I give food because I can charge it. He got tired of just waiting for something to happen to turn his life around so he created a way to help himself and others.

“Being homeless is my business. Now my business is being homeless,” he said.

At first when I heard this story, I was a little leery. I mean, how the hell can a homeless man afford a phone, a data plan, have a website and think to use a square to get donations? I would never have thought of all of that and I work online in the space. Apparently, Honest Abe has a better business sense than most.

When I heard the blurb on the radio this morning, I firmly believed this guy was a scam artist who was lazy and just trying to find an easy way to make a buck instead of working (because there are people who do that.) There was an entire expose a few years back about suburbanites who made panhandling their jobs to the tune of $65,000 a year because they didn’t want to work. They enjoyed the hustle. That’s when I started giving food.

But then I researched his site, watched his video and read his story and I may have been wrong. I think this guy is just smart and trying to make the best out of a bad situation. He actually doesn’t want a hand out, he wants a hand up and he wants to pass it on.

square, Abe Hagenston, digital panhandling, homeless, homelessness

It seems that my life has been a series of rebuilding.  Along the way I have learned that hard work, determination, ethical and moral decision making, along with a positive attitude is the right combination to pull yourself out of a hole.  However, just once I wish there was someone with a rope to assist.  I have never had the benefit of being assisted.  I have always found myself in the wrong demographic, ineligible for assistance other than food stamps, having to struggle when I could have been making progress.  I have never even heard of a homeless program (let alone seen one) that actually presented itself as a viable pick you up, dust you off and send you running, all the bells and whistles included full package program.

Being homeless gives a person a lot of time to reflect on what went wrong, and what a person could do differently if given the chance.

Hagenston’s cellphone was provided by the federal government’s Lifeline Assistance program and is known as the “Obamaphone.” His website is a free WIX website that he set up and accesses via the public library.

He doesn’t get food stamps and he refuses to lie about his mental state or do anything illegal to get housing. He wants to earn his way but, due to circumstances beyond his control, he is without a home and any identification and this prohibits him from securing employment.

There are 4 options left to me.  I could steal, deal drugs, prostitute, or fly a sign.  The first 3 are out of the question.  I am not slick enough to steal, I am not mean enough to deal drugs, and I am not pretty enough to prostitute.  So, you see me at 8 and Woodward.  I mean what else am I supposed to do?  Just lay down and starve to death?

I think he seems rather bright and business savvy. He may just be a genius. He is not only trying to get himself and other homeless people honest work and pay, he is trying to develop an app to identify the truly needy homeless from those who just pretend to be panhandlers which I would personally love to have because I love to help others but I’d like to know that they are actually in need of food and care not just panhandling because they don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle all day.

If this guy is for real, he is everything we need in this country. We have so many starving, homeless people on our own streets that we need to feed and if they can work for what they earn and provide for themselves, maybe we can help not only feed them but allow them to feel/be productive in society. That is a genuine win win situation for all of us. I find his entrepreneurial sense refreshing. He’s not giving up on himself, he’s reinventing himself within his circumstances.

What do you think of Honest Abe and the business of being homeless?

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Donald Trump thinks the American People are Morons http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/donald-trump/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/donald-trump/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 17:04:00 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24441 Seems as if Donald Trump can get away with murder now. He’s loud and obnoxious and says and does whatever he wants without consequence. Going so far to say, “I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” I’ve been scratching my head since Donald Trump entered the presidential race. At first, I thought he […]

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Seems as if Donald Trump can get away with murder now. He’s loud and obnoxious and says and does whatever he wants without consequence. Going so far to say,

“I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

I’ve been scratching my head since Donald Trump entered the presidential race. At first, I thought he could be a contender because he is a very savvy businessman and that would not necessarily be a bad option for our next leader. Then he opened his mouth and Hitler came out.

Immediately, I assumed it must be a rouse. Surely, he was working in cahoots with the Clintons (his good friends) to help catapult Hilary to the frontline. Usually, it is difficult for a presidential candidate to succeed a president from his same party because the American people are usually ready for a new president and they blame every misfortunate event that happened while the previous president was in office on his party affiliation. So, having a crazy fanatically, outrageous Republican would make Hilary look like the lesser of the two evils. That’s a savvy presidential candidate running plan. Then there was Benghazi and the email situation and now, it seems the crazier shit that comes out of Trump’s mouth, the more crazy people support him.

I’m not saying that all Republicans are crazy. I used to be one. What I am saying is that his particular flavor of crazy supporters is of the gun-toting, brown people hating, bigoted batshit type. In other words, he is a dangerous man and currently, the pied piper of the lunatics. Even scarier, he is a front-runner. This could happen people.

Last week, Sarah Palin announced her support for Trump, which I don’t think, means much to anyone and surely doesn’t help his situation but it shows you a glimpse into the level of weirdness this country is headed for if Trump makes it into the oval office.

Aside from the fact that he has every intention of trying to get rid of all the Mexicans, Muslims and Syrians in the country which is enough to scare the shit out of me, since I happen to be Mexican American. On Saturday, he had the audacity to say that support for his presidential campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of a crowded street.

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to the loyalty of his supporters, many who’ve told reporters that almost nothing could make them change their mind about voting for Trump.

It’s scary that in the middle of all the ludicrous madness that comes spilling out of his mouth on a regular basis, the outlandish remarks he makes about entire segments of the population who don’t line up with his agenda, that now he feels himself immortal. Worse still is that with each passing day, more American people are showing their support for this madman. I can’t believe I’ve been living in a Westboro reality all of this time.

Trump’s comments come as the debate about gun violence in America has taken center stage in American political discourse amid several highly publicized mass shootings.

He’s repeatedly touted his support for the Second Amendment and slammed President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders to expand the reach of background checks needed to purchase a gun.

Trump’s comments also come less than two months after two ISIS-inspired terrorists killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, and ISIS-linked attacks killed 130 in Paris. In response, Trump has called for fewer gun restrictions and a harder stance on terrorism.

What happens if he’s elected? Do we minorities just shut our mouths and go willingly to the holding camps I’m sure he already has in mind for us? How is any of this okay?

I hope this is all just a big joke because if it isn’t, all of us who actually believe in equal human rights for all, better get out and vote or suffer the consequences of living in a Trump world where everyone carries guns, shoots first and asks questions later.

What do you think about Trump saying he could shoot someone in the street and he wouldn’t lose any voters?

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A Priest who Doesn’t Condemn Abortion http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/roe-v-wade-abortion/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/roe-v-wade-abortion/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:39:21 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24436 Today is the 43rd anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade abortion ruling. I have always been torn between my pro-life Catholic upbringing and my pro-choice heart. I hoped I’d never find myself in the position to have to decide whether or not to have an abortion but I also learned at a very early age that […]

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Today is the 43rd anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade abortion ruling. I have always been torn between my pro-life Catholic upbringing and my pro-choice heart. I hoped I’d never find myself in the position to have to decide whether or not to have an abortion but I also learned at a very early age that sometimes women( and girls) do and it’s one of the hardest decisions they ever have to make and it’s one she has to make for herself.

When I was 15-years-old, I had a friend who confided in me that she was pregnant and was going to have an abortion all on her own. I had no idea what to do but listen and hold her when she cried at her predicament. I was young and naïve and had no experience or reference to what she was going through. I felt useless because I couldn’t help her. The decision was one of the most agonizing things I’ve ever seen someone go through. In that moment, I knew I would always fight for a woman’s right to have dominion over her own body and reproductive system. I’ve been prochoice ever since.

So this morning when I went to mass, the one my daughter has been asking me to attend for 3 months because she was leading the choir, imagine my shock when the first words out of the priest’s mouth in the homily was, “Since today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade…..” followed by the phrase, “Women commit abortion” which is code for sin and then he went into how every life from the tiniest in the womb to the most elderly person on the footsteps of death are loved by God. That was powerful but it rubbed me the wrong way because I knew his undertone. He continued on saying, “ No matter what the mother feels, God loves that child.”

My mind was filled with all the noise and chaos of that moment when you know you have to say something, “OH.SHIT. This is the worst possible mass for me to attend because I instinctively go into defensive mode.I have a crazy need to right all the wrongs, especially when my children are part of the captive audience. 
People, it took everything in my body not to raise my hand in front of a packed church of children and elderly, stand up and ask, “ But is God going to feed them, cuddle them, provide shelter and clothing for them? Is God going to make sure that every child born has all that he needs?” I was flabbergasted. Then something crazy happened, this priest, who is almost fanatically pro life, began to speak and his words were filled with compassion, caring and love.

His next few phrases are what blew my mind out of my head, right there in the back pew as my baby girl sang.

He said, “Abortion is man’s fault, not women. Because men should treat women like the crown jewels they are and love, respect, honor and support them and if they did, there would be no need for abortion because there would be no unwanted children.”

Let that sit with you for a minute.

Then he said, what I’ve said forever, “ Women are God’s most precious gift to Men and they are not to serve us, they are here for us to marvel with love, respect and adoration because without women, there is no life. Only women have been blessed with the ability to bring forth life.” Everything I thought I knew up until this point about this man changed.

Then he said, “ By men making women objects of lust instead of objects of love, they are to blame for putting women in these compromising positions.” I know that pregnancy take two and I don’t blame men alone for women being put in the position to choose life or not, but it was nice to finally here a man (a Catholic priest no less) say that men should take responsibility for their actions and keep it in their pants. I never expected to hear those words echoing through my church, ever.

Women have always been treated like second-class citizens throughout history in society and especially in the church. I’ve always felt differently and that’s made my views as a Latina and a woman unpopular with many men I’ve known.

I’ve never been particularly fond of this priest because I’ve always felt that he’s too judgmental on situations like these but this morning his words and his heart were filled with kind words of love and compassion for our children and that is so important when you are molding young children’s minds. His words moved me.

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t changed my mind. The feminist in me will always believe it is the woman’s right to choose and the 15-year-old me will always fight for the right for women to make their own choice without condemnation from others but he made me appreciate the choice from another perspective, more importantly he explained to my children in a way that fosters compassion and self-respect. I was impressed and in the end, I didn’t have to raise my hand or storm out of mass.

 

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Why You Should Always Friend the Older Mom in the Class http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/role-model-mom/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/role-model-mom/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2016 19:21:00 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24432 I think role model moms should be standard issue to all new moms. Being a mom is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not because of all the work it entails but the sheer force of the all-consuming energy that unconditional love tolls on your mind, body and spirit. Having […]

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I think role model moms should be standard issue to all new moms. Being a mom is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not because of all the work it entails but the sheer force of the all-consuming energy that unconditional love tolls on your mind, body and spirit. Having done it twice, I really think that most of us spend the first four years of of our children’s lives in a fog induced by sheer love meeting complete desperation and exhaustion. I mean, I know I didn’t have a full night’s sleep until year 8 and it was only once.

 

The thing is when we come up for air from the insanity of new motherhood, we need to look for a mom role model.

I don’t mean someone to emulate or keep up with. Believe you me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those in my parenting lifetime. I’m not even referring to those amazing mom friends who hold your hand and lift your soul when you are neck deep in diaper blowouts, colic and regression. Though those broads are worth their weight in gold, for the listening and nodding agreement alone. If they can offer helpful advice and be a gentle sounding board, bonus.

 

When I say a role model, I mean a mom you meet who has older kids who are turning out pretty damn good. She might know a thing or two. Sure, she might not have cloth diapered but her oldest just started college and that kid’s got all of his shit together. This mama knows how to get things done the right way. I was fortunate to meet one such amazing woman on my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten.

 

You see, it was my first child and I didn’t want her to go to school all day. I wanted to cherish these final moments together. Plus the kid was still taking naps and who was I to take that away from us. Her sleeping peacefully while I gently stroked her head and silently sobbed because she was leaving me. Looking back now, on the precipice of puberty, I wasn’t wrong.

 

Anyways, I digress. This other mom, let’s call her Maureen ( because that is her name and she is too awesome for me not to refer to her by her real name), had a little boy who also happened to be only going ½ day. We.were.the.only.2. ( It’s Catholic school, people. Most of these mamas have plenty more and full day it was.) But not us, we wanted our kids home with us.

 

I walk into the corridor to wait for my daughter and I see this lovely woman, blonde and beautiful. Obviously, she has her shit together. She was not wearing the yoga pants and t-shirt with spit up on it that I was and her hair was so not in a ponytail like mine. We started talking and she was a little teary eyed and all I thought was dear Lord, what are they doing to our children that this obviously seasoned mom was brought to tears by. That’s when she told me that not only was this her youngest child’s first day of kindergarten but her oldest child’s first day of college. You see the irony, first and last and last and first all in the same day. I got a little choked up myself. I just wanted to hug her but I didn’t because that would have made me seem deranged, right ? Well, maybe I did, who can remember, the brain fog was strong with me in those days. Either way, I knew I loved this woman instantly.

 

Her heart was as big as anything I had ever seen and she was is (she’s not dead or anything) just a really lovely person. She had kind eyes and an unspoken kinship that put me at ease. For once, I felt like I could shut up and listen and not tell the other mother what month of life my child achieved a basic life skill (good thing too because I was getting tired of pulling out those motherhood aces up the sleeve: Bella walked at 10 months and Gabs totally potty trained herself by 18 months. Ok, see that was the last time.)

 

From that first day, I knew we would be friends and when I met her other children ( she has four) I realized that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Her kids are kind, well-mannered, smart, well-rounded citizens of the world. Her kids blow my mind, ergo, her mom skills are the bomb.

Six years later and she is still my mom role model. I hope one day I can be the same for some other new mom because God knows, I am not the youngest mom in the class, ever.

Who is your mom role model?

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Lea Clark, American Girl of the Year 2016 Giveaway http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lea-clark-giveaway/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lea-clark-giveaway/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2016 03:49:06 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24409 It’s been a difficult past 7 days. The kind of epic bad days those tear jerker country songs are made of. Last Thursday, my youngest daughter’s pet Guinea Pig got pneumonia, I took him to the vet, got him meds and we held him all day long nursing him back to health and then he just died. I […]

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It’s been a difficult past 7 days. The kind of epic bad days those tear jerker country songs are made of. Last Thursday, my youngest daughter’s pet Guinea Pig got pneumonia, I took him to the vet, got him meds and we held him all day long nursing him back to health and then he just died. I was mad. I wanted a refund. I did all the things I was supposed to do and yet, still, I had to break my kids’ hearts.

We had to tell the girls when they came home from school and they both had massive breakdowns, one of which was outside on the front porch, screaming and wailing. Of course, this in turn broke our parent hearts and we all sat sobbing for most of Friday evening.

Lea Clark, American Girl, Girl of the Year 2016, Giveaway

Saturday, we had a funeral for said Guinea Pig. Sunday, I was awoken at 10:30 by my daughter who insisted we go to 11 a.m. mass. Did I mention that I hadn’t slept since Wednesday night when the guinea pig first presented with the sniffles? So to mass I went, after spending all of 5 minutes getting ready. Did I mention I am on the board at our school, which is at our church? Oh yeah, did I mention I know everyone there and I looked CRAZY.

Monday, my husband gave me the news about the death of David Bowie. Then on the way to finally get my stitches out from my second surgery to this never ending broken leg saga, just when not walking like a pirate was in my line of sight, my car decided that it doesn’t like the cold. In fact, it hates the bitter cold we are experiencing so badly that a censor automatically turns traction control off which in turn reduces the engine power basically leaving you stranded in traffic moving at the pace of a slow turtle. We’ve had snow days, delays and elearning ( shoot.me.now) and it’s only Wednesday.

***Update: Thursday, my daughters’ school was locked down due to a crazed man and a hostage situation in the neighborhood addition behind the school! Bonus, the school didn’t even inform the parents until pick up. I’m assuming it was to avoid mama bears like myself from scaling the building to get to their locked down children. This is no joke a terrible week.

The car can’t be seen until Friday. Oh and the dog also has to be seen Friday by the vet because apparently the stress and bitter cold have also made her start losing her hair on her flanks. Great alopecia one more thing to worry about. On a week when we have a thousand places to be, the snow, ice and bitter cold does not want us to do any of it.

Any ways, now that you know how horrible my last 7 days have been I will tell you that I need a little joy in my life. They say be the change you want to see in the world so I am turning this frown upside down, pulling on my big girl panties and faking it until I make it and all that. I’m holding fast to the little victories, like I had my first shower in 4 months standing on my own 2 feet without using the bench for the elderly that I have been dependent upon since September.

To start the happy train rolling, I am giving away one 2016 Girl of the Year doll, Lea Clark!

I refuse to let this chaos keep me down so I spread a little happiness by giving a Lea Clark doll to my daughters and through the generosity of American Girl; I am also giving one away to a lucky reader.

I love that American Girl’s 2016 Girl of the Year, Lea Clark, dives into adventure and helps girls see life through a new lens and is in collaboration with the world wildlife fund to help protect animals and their habitats. Grace was perfect for my eldest daughter because she is a little chef and loves all things Parisian but Lea is my youngest all the way. She even looks like my little girl.There is so much to identify with and my little girl adores Lea. I think yours will too.

Lea Clark a talented photographer with a love for animals, discovers a wide world of possibilities when she embarks on a faraway adventure to Brazil.   Available for only one year, Lea’s collection includes a beautiful 18-inch Lea doll featuring long wavy hair and warm hazel eyes, plus several tropical-inspired outfits, accessories, and toys that reflect her Brazilian travels—including Lea’s Rainforest House with over 30 pieces! Coming this summer, an all-new, action-adventure film will debut on DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment .

Written by award-winning author Lisa Yee, the 2016 Girl of the Year books—Lea Dives In, Lea Leads the Way, and Lea and Camila—introduce girls to a curious ten-year-old girl with an adventurous spirit. On a family trip to Brazil to visit her older brother, Zac, who is studying the Amazon rainforest, Lea is excited to capture everything she sees with her camera. Soon Lea   makes some incredible discoveries, but she also faces unexpected challenges, including a fear of the ocean, tension with Zac, and finding a baby sloth that has been gravely injured. With the help of her family, her new Brazilian friend, Camila, and her late grandmother’s guiding inspiration, Lea finds the inner strength and confidence to live her new adventures to the fullest.

Giving Back with Lea Clark

To show girls that, together, they can make a difference in helping protect animals and their habitats, American Girl has created Wild at Art, a year-long fund-raising campaign in support of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Starting January 1, American Girl is encouraging girls to use their artistic abilities to host an art sale and donate the proceeds to WWF. To launch the campaign, American Girl has made a $50,000 donation to WWF and also invites customers to contribute at American Girl retail stores and americangirl.com. Parents can visit americangirl.com/wildatart to learn more and register for Wild at Art, plus get animal-themed craft ideas, and be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 17 Lea prize packages.

In addition, from January 1 through December 31, 2016, for every purchase of one of the three plush animals in Lea’s collection—the margay, sea turtle, or sloth—American Girl will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $100,000) to WWF.

Just leave a comment below telling me who your favorite American Girl doll is and why. One lucky reader will randomly be selected to win a Lea Clark doll.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ground Control to Major Tom http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/david-bowie/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/david-bowie/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:24:07 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24401 As I sit here stunned, I can’t believe David Bowie is no longer on this earth. The news was sudden and jolted me to my core, not because I was his biggest fan but because, like air that I breathe, like my parents love, like my faith in religion he has always just been there; a […]

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As I sit here stunned, I can’t believe David Bowie is no longer on this earth. The news was sudden and jolted me to my core, not because I was his biggest fan but because, like air that I breathe, like my parents love, like my faith in religion he has always just been there; a piece of my puzzle.

He was an amazing, thought provoking, forward thinking, take-no-prisoners kind of artist whose presence will indeed be missing from this world. Oh, but what a legacy he left and really isn’t that all any of us wants? To leave a mark on this world, something to make the world remember we were here even if only for a brief moment, long after we’ve gone, like the sharpied commentaries on the human condition decorating bathroom stalls across the universe?

His art was trailblazing. He pushed the boundaries between the acceptable and the absurd. No matter what you thought of his genre of music, you had to respect the technique and the lyrics. You had to respect the man who would not let himself be shackled by conventional thinking. Every word he sang was layered and nuanced, nothing meant exactly what it said and was so much more than you’d expect.

David Bowie was the soundtrack to my formative years.

He made deep, dividing political statements palatable and made being weird beautiful and cool. He made love so deep that it tore at your soul and made death transcendent. Bowie made you not only think your own thoughts but question the status quo and, somehow, made it all not awkward.

David Bowie stepped outside of everyone’s comfort zone to stretch the comfort zone big enough for all of us. He made the world all inclusive with his art. It was a good thing in this world and now he’s gone. I will miss knowing he’s on this planet.

I will miss his music always playing at just the right time or just beneath the surface, saying just the right thing at just the right time. He made us all believe we could be heroes no matter how weird, little, strange or different we may have been. He made us feel like we meant something and we could do/be anything we wanted to and it was all going to be alright.

Bowie taught us to fall in love and be all in, to live with no regrets in big, bold, beautiful living color. That lesson was imprinted on my soul. I think we all need a little Bowie in our lives to keep us shooting for the stars even when we know that we probably won’t stick the landing. I think there’s a little Rebel Rebel in all of us.

The heavens shine a little brighter tonight as I lay here questioning my own mortality and place in the world, even in death, Bowie makes me contemplate the deeper meaning of life. There’s been a cosmic shift and it feels as if all the air’s been sucked out of the atmosphere because something that always was, in my life, no longer is.

I fell in love with David Bowie the first time I heard Space Oddity and fall in love over and over again each time I hear it.

This morning I lay in bed with my youngest sharing headphones, like I did so many times in my youth with a brother or sister or friend, and we listened to my favorite Bowie songs and I saw how he will live on forever in his music/art. When someone leaves an imprint this big on time and space, they are truly unforgettable.

 

Photo Courtesy of my brother, Obie Cruz.

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Helpless, Teaching Your Child about Loss http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/24395/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/24395/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2016 19:49:36 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24395 The hardest lesson we teach our children is loss. I have two daughters and my youngest is 8-years-old. In the last three years, she has felt the weight of the loss of a sibling, her beloved dog, a cousin and a goldfish. She has a great grandmother and a great-great aunt who are both in […]

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The hardest lesson we teach our children is loss. I have two daughters and my youngest is 8-years-old. In the last three years, she has felt the weight of the loss of a sibling, her beloved dog, a cousin and a goldfish. She has a great grandmother and a great-great aunt who are both in their late 80’s and we know more loss is on it’s way but I want to protect them for as long as possible.

 

Yesterday morning before school, we had the girls say goodbye to Teddy just in case the vet could not save him. I was a nervous wreck. My daughter collapsed into my arms and whispered through tear stained cheeks, “Mommy, please don’t let him die.” I knew in that moment, I was going to fight as hard as I’d ever fought to keep this little guy alive.

 

I found the best exotic pet vet in town, begged to be squeezed in as soon as possible and drove across the city with the weak little guy strapped into the front seat in a box, I gingerly seat belted him in as to not disturb him in his weakened state. I felt sick to my stomach. A million what ifs ran through my mind and they all ended with me breaking my daughter’s heart.

 

At the veterinarian’s office, Teddy was thoroughly checked. I was told that it was pneumonia. The remedy? Antibiotics and IV fluids. I was given more liquid antibiotics to give him twice a day until he was well. I left there feeling like I had dodged a major bullet. I had saved him and spared my daughter, yet another loss.

 

We spent the day holding him and talking to him. He quietly chirped and nuzzled into my chin. At first his breathing was labored but soon it quieted and he lay, softly against me where he stayed for hours before doing the same with my daughter.

 

This morning, she held him while she ate breakfast. The Big Guy and I took him briefly to administer his meds. He chirped loudly, which at first I thought was an improvement from his listlessness yesterday but then I began to consider that maybe it was pain that elicited his reaction.

 

My daughter kissed him goodbye and told him that she loved him before she went to school this morning. Then she said, “See you after school, Teddy Bear.” Only she won’t.

 

I came home and cleaned up the house a little bit and then I checked on our little Teddy. I picked him up and he was completely limp but warm. A first, I thought maybe he was fine just still because of the pneumonia and then; I realized he wasn’t breathing and he was not responsive.

 

I can’t even explain the reaction I had. I sobbed and lost my breath because I don’t want to be the one to break my daughter’s heart. I can still hear her whispering for me to save him. It lingers in the air like the faint smell of perfume after someone leaves the room.

 

Today, when she comes home, I am tasked with the unfortunate duty of telling her that her beloved longhaired Guinea Pig, Ted Koppel, has died in my arms from pneumonia while my daughter was at school. I hate teaching my children about loss because it is one that they will learn over and over in this life.

 

Now, it’s pick up time. Time to be there for my girl, after I have to break their tiny hearts and tear their world apart. I hate this part of parenting.

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Help My Child’s a Tyrant http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/help-my-childs-a-tyrant/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/help-my-childs-a-tyrant/#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2016 16:51:26 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24379 My daughter has metamorphosed from a sweet, loving child into a tyrant who rules with a iron fist and a sadistic sense of humor. It feels as if she’s made it her mission to frustrate me to the point of submission. I have to admit, she’s getting close this morning. I was all set to write […]

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My daughter has metamorphosed from a sweet, loving child into a tyrant who rules with a iron fist and a sadistic sense of humor. It feels as if she’s made it her mission to frustrate me to the point of submission. I have to admit, she’s getting close this morning.

I was all set to write my post about this upcoming year…my resolutions. I have them plenty, only mine aren’t resolutions they are revolutions. Nope, no empty threats, just promises to myself to do and be better. I had it all worked out in my mind only I can’t write that post today because I’m laying here on my bed contemplating the meaning of it all. This, my friends, is what happens when you are taken emotionally hostage by a tiny tyrant whom you happen to love unconditionally.

Look, I’ve never been the mom who could say, suck it up and rub some dirt on it and move on. I’m the mom who gasps and kisses booboos, even when it’s not my kid who got hurt. My mommy heart is just too damn big for my own good. My daughters know this.

Sure, I come off like a cold-hearted twat sometimes but I’m not. Not even a little bit, especially when it comes to little people. That’s my soft spot and when they are my own, well, that’s my fucking kryptonite and they know that.

This morning, my littlest one made it her mission to do my head in. There is no other possible explanation for it. You see, my eldest has entered the tween years and is emotional, hormonal and has perfected the eye roll to my dismay. I expect this and I have developed a tolerance as to not lose my mind. We’ve been having long discussions about hormones and puberty and why it’s necessary to wash your face every single day, especially since your dad suffered from acne. She half gets the message. All I can do is offer advice, give her a facial cleaning system and be there, astringent in hand, when the shit hits the fan.

However, when the 8-year-old gets a full on, honest to God pimple on her chin and literally freaks the fuck out, I have no idea what to do. I tried rationale but let’s be honest, you can’t be rational with an 8-year-old with a white head about to burst. She worked herself into such a tizzy that yesterday, I kept her home because she had diarrhea. I know TMI but I honestly, thought the kid had the stomach flu. Not until last night when she came to me with tears in her eyes asking if I could cover up the pimple and told me that her stomach issues were caused by her nerves did I realize the weight of that damn pimple.

I spent yesterday coddling and reassuring her that it’s no big deal and I would help her clean her face and astringent the damn thing to death. I felt bad for her. I know the frustration that comes with pimples and a body that you have no control over. I was understanding and nurturing. I was going to smother that pimple in love and self-confidence if it killed us both. Hell, I even let the little one climb into my bed when she told me she was nervous and her stomach was bothering her at bedtime. However, that was yesterday. This morning was a different story.

In the place where my child who wanted pity and coddling stood yesterday was a defiant, mean spirited tyrant this morning. She woke up tired, because she stayed up too late explaining her stomachache and pimple woes last night. She didn’t want to get out of bed. Finally she got ready. Argued over breakfast. Went to the bathroom, where she proceeded, not to use the bathroom. Cried as I covered up the pimple as she had asked and just when it was completely invisible, she grabbed a tissue and yelled at me that it wasn’t working and smudged the whole thing.

Then she told me that I don’t care about her because if I did I wouldn’t send her to school where she very well might “poop” herself or throw up in mass. I email the teacher to make her aware that my daughter may or may not poop or throw up during mass, either way, please call me to pick her up if she does so and for the love of God, if the kid says she has to go to the toilet…this is not a drill. Heed my warning, woman. What kind of monster am I? (Probably the kind who hasn’t been alone in 3 weeks.)

Meanwhile, I go on feeding her sister and brushing hair, all the while the littlest is dragging her feet and making us late and absolutely refusing to eat. I can do no right. Every single thing I do, including taking breath is annoying her. I wasted so much time trying to cajole her into gear that I have to get myself ready in 1 minute. It’s okay; I have no intention of ever leaving my vehicle. Finally, we head out the door with 4 minutes to get to school that is a minimum of 5 minutes away. She’s fidgeting and sighing exasperation at a deafening tone. I ignore it as I tell myself, this too shall pass.

We get to school and she refuses to kiss me goodbye. Oh the defiance is strong with this one. You know when you’re a child and you piss your mom off and she curses you by saying those fateful words, “I hope you have one just like you when you grow up?” Well, my mom was good at it because I got a Mega mini me on steroids; big heart, big mouth and more stubborn than any mule who has ever lived. It will serve her well in the real world someday but it’s slowly driving me insane.

After all this, in the middle of my daily prayer for them to survive their school day, she walks back to the car and tells me that she’s going to be sick. I offer to walk her in. She refuses and walks away, only to instantly turn around and say, “Are you coming or what?” I jump out of my car, looking like a homeless person (who wasn’t expecting to be seen in public) as I have to chase her down in my boot cast (because I just had surgery a week ago and am back in the boot). She stays at least 15 feet ahead of me all the way into the building.

Finally, I hobble into her classroom, looking even crazier with sweat and explain the possible shit situation to her delightful teacher who looks at me like I might need some lithium in my life. I then walk over to my daughter to confirm that I have, in fact, made the teacher aware of the situation and there will be no shitting or vomiting on herself on my watch to which she responds by giving me the side eye as she maintains her 15-foot buffer and mutters, “Whatever!” I catch up and kiss her goodbye just to show her whose boss.

Just to make the morning even more magnificent than being caught in public wearing leggings as pants and looking like a homeless person covered in sweat and frustration, I was greeted while exiting the building by the annoyingly good looking 20-something year old vice principal who I serve on the school board with. I thought parenting was supposed to get easier as our children got older so why am I feeling like I’ve just been water boarded by a tiny tyrant with a pimple on her chin and a really terrible, no good, very bad Napoleon complex?

If this tyrant attitude is hanging around for the teen years, I may not survive.

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Why the Peace on Earth Holiday Photo Doesn’t Infuriate Me http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/peace-on-earth-sexism/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/peace-on-earth-sexism/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2015 22:01:35 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=24307 When you think of peace on earth does your mind immediately go to women should be seen and not heard? Do you think the above photo can be construed as funny? I don’t. I find it offensive that a family would request this sort of photo that makes light of such a serious topic as […]

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When you think of peace on earth does your mind immediately go to women should be seen and not heard? Do you think the above photo can be construed as funny? I don’t. I find it offensive that a family would request this sort of photo that makes light of such a serious topic as sexism and condones domestic violence. How can a photo of your wife and daughters bound and gagged ( even with Christmas lights) with your toddler son giving a thumbs up be found anything but disgusting? But I’m not mad so much as I am saddened that anyone would think this is okay.

I can take a joke just as much as the next person. Hell, I’ve written some pretty off the cuff pieces, dare I say maybe even bordering on offensive, humor pieces about lady bits and I’m no stranger to controversy but as someone who has experienced abuse and spent my childhood being told that I should be seen and not heard, sometimes even threatened by physical injury and other times being on the receiving end of a good slap for speaking up, I don’t find this funny.at.all. In fact, I find that it makes a mockery of domestic violence and women’s rights in general.

I’m not sure why this picture was taken or whose idea it was. The mom’s? The dad’s? Either way, why did the other one go along with it? What kind of message is it sending to their daughters? What kind of message is it sending to their son? What kind of message is it sending to the people they know that they might send these cards to?

There is nothing funny about this photo. I know people push the envelope to get these awkward, funny to some, creepy to others holiday photos. I get that but this photo offends me on every level. This photo clearly sends the message that women should be forced into submission and seen but never heard. It objectifies women and dehumanizes us.

I’ve spent my life speaking up when I was told to shut up. It wasn’t easy and it was even dangerous. It took bravery to break that cycle. Do you know what it feels like to be afraid of your own voice? Do you know what it feels like to be punished for voicing your thoughts? It is a misogynistic way of breaking one’s spirit by humiliating them at their very core. The message is clear, to be seen and not heard means that you are invisible and your thoughts, your existence, do not matter. You do not matter and your very existence is only allowed by someone else’s permission.

Peace on Earth is not achieved by silencing women.

I can’t even be irate by this photo because I am too busy being so saddened that this is the message these parents want to instill in their children. This one photo, that speaks volumes, is telling their children that women should be silent or suffer the consequences and that men only get peace through violence against women. This photo is telling their children that women don’t matter.

I’m sure these parents thought this would be a funny gag but maybe, as parents, they should consider the ramifications and lasting impressions they are making on their children. This one small moment has ripples and if they took this picture, as anyone who has ever told a joke knows, there is always some truth to the joke so if they thought it was funny, somewhere inside they believe that this is how peace on earth is achieved.

Women bound with Christmas lights with duct tape over their mouths, with a young boy giving a thumbs up and a grown man holding a sign that says “Peace on Earth” is not my idea of funny. It’s sexist and wrong. Simply put this photo condones the subjugation of women, in fact, it celebrates it. I want a better world for my daughters and I hope the family in this photo, want more for theirs.

Dear Peace on Earth Family,

I hope this was a failed attempt at being funny and there is nothing more nefarious or, indeed, true about the logic behind this photo. As a mother, a woman and someone who has been told that she was to be seen and not heard at threat of violence for her entire childhood, I implore you to please consider the message you are sending your children, all of them.

Readers, what do you think of this photo of “peace on earth”?

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