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weight, fat, body image, raising girls, ballerinas

“I’m fat! Just look at my flabby arms!”

This is what I overheard amongst the ballerinas today. 11-year-olds should not be worrying about flabby arms, especially since not one of the 10 preteen girls included in this conversation are fat or had flabby arms. My heart sunk and my stomach turned as I realized if these lean, dancers think they’re fat, what if all little girls think they’re fat? I didn’t say a word because I was speechless.

Every Wednesday, I take my daughters to ballet. They were in class when I heard the girls talking. This has been my routine for nearly 8 years. At least 4 classes a week, I am surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, young, graceful, strong and lean girls (ages 3 and up). It’s always been a place of positivity and the focus is on the dance moves, not the size of the dancer’s ass. Why would it be?

My girls have danced with the city ballet practically since the moment they could tell me that was what they wanted to do but I went in with my eyes open. I’ve heard the horror stories of ballerinas who are malnourished and have eating disorders. I know these are brought on by the constant focus on body and weight that is necessary for any athlete.

Having battled severe eating disorders myself, I promised myself a few things 1) I would never negative talk in front of my girls 2) I would do everything in my power to instill high self-confidence and positive body image and 3) if they were ever involved in a situation where someone made weight the focus, I’d pull my daughters out because it’s not worth it. I won’t allow anyone to undo the self-esteem that I’ve spent years building.

Perfection is not achievable, mostly because it’s a moving target, and no girl should feel that her self-worth has anything to do with her weight. Only in ballet, like many sports, it is hard to be in top performance form if your body is not at its absolute best so even if there isn’t a blatant focus and criticism of body size and shape, it’s there, lurking like the boogie man just waiting to destroy your daughter’s self-confidence. I know it and, apparently, so do these girls. How could they not living in a world where thigh gaps and bikini bridges are aspirations.

I wanted to grab those girls and hug them and shout to them, “No! Your arms are not flabby. You are perfect. Your body is strong and beautiful and amazing. It is what moves you on the stage. It is what moves you in the world. Your body is what makes you….YOU!” I wanted to, like I wished someone would’ve done to me the first time I looked in the mirror and saw my 12-year-old body and saw imperfection in perfection. But I couldn’t because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I wasn’t supposed to hear that. They aren’t my daughters.

At that moment, I was too busy praying that my daughter, just inside the classroom, didn’t hear this slightly older ballerina who she looks up to calling herself “flabby” and “fat.” Because if you’ve ever been involved in the dance world, you know, there is nothing a tiny ballerina looks up to more than a bigger one, even if it’s only by a level. I held my breath and waited to see if she mentioned anything. She didn’t.

You see, little girls are like sponges; they absorb everything that they see and hear and once they know it, they can’t unknow it. They keep it and pick at it like a scab. I know this is true because my own daughters have even began to pick up on subtle cues, ones that I don’t even know I’m doing. They know how to decipher a hint and they can figure things out. They are not oblivious. I went home last night and began to think of all the ways I hint at my dissatisfaction with my own body; long sighs in the mirror, tugging at my shirt, tiny fits of rage when trying on clothes in the dressing room. I can’t do that anymore. They’re too smart. If they’re unhealthy or think they are fat, I feel like it’s my personal parenting fail.

I feel terrible that I didn’t grab those little girls and tell them how perfect and strong and amazing they are. I had to do something so I emailed the Director of the Ballet (a mom of two small girls, a ballerina and a friend) and I told her what had happened because I feel like going silent makes me a part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.

What would you have done if you heard a group of young girls calling themselves fat?

 

 

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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Have you ever thought about how our daughters’ self-esteem and body image could be affected by the school uniforms or dress code policy? Sounds crazy, right? I mean isn’t that the entire purpose of school uniforms in the first place, to level the playing field; to equalize all children and neutralize all social hierarchy? Isn’t a dress code to keep kids comfortable and tidy.

I have daughters, who have to wear school uniforms. There is no option. I thought this was a great idea when we started school but now, I think it’s stifling and worse, I think it’s causing some damage to my tween’s self-esteem and worse, her body image. It’s bad enough that they are not allowed to even look like girls; no ruffles, no frills or even pale pink polish because it might be “distracting” to boys but now we are even making the clothes to fit like a boy. Someone once told me that I should cut my daughters’ hair because they “read somewhere” that long hair is conducive to rape. I said, no why don’t women teach their sons not to be rapists and to respect women and their bodies. Why should my daughter have to look like a boy so your son doesn’t get any ideas? Why do the girls have to be punished?

But how are school uniforms destroying little girls’ body image, you ask?

This year, it has become almost impossible to find anything that fits my child and believe me; I have tried all the stores and all the sizes. I’m frustrated; my poor daughter is beside herself. She had a growth spurt over the summer and suddenly all of her clothes are too short and tight. So, since I don’t want to send my child to school looking all “Hulk Smash” I decided to try to just buy her some bigger clothes. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

You see, I’ve noticed that for the last few years, the girls’ uniform pants that we bought at Children’s Place were made slightly different than boy uniform pants. It was the little details like a little spandex mixed with the cotton so that the pants could bend and mold to a little girl’s body. Also, little girls’ pants were slightly flared for aesthetics and had a cute little ribbon belt. The pants were perfect. My children have been wearing them for years.

But this year, with all the let’s eliminate labels like “boys” and “girls” campaigns being on trend, nothing fits. It’s not my imagination. They have actually stopped making the pants we previously bought and have gone to a more streamlined look, that happen to look exactly like the boys’ pants. Let’s put it this way, my waif like 8 –year-old who almost blows away with a strong gust of wind and typically wears a size 6X/7 had to buy a size 10, in order to fit.

My poor 10-year-old who typically wears a 12 or a 14 depending on the length of the pants, literally, could not find a pair of pants that fit her in the length and waist. Either they swallowed her whole or fit in the waist but were up to her knees or in one particular worst case scenario, we had to try on a size 14 that was tight on her waist and her butt and then we found out it was a mislabeled 10. With tears in her eyes in the dressing room, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I just want to be normal. I just want pants that fit to wear to school!” I’ve only noticed this in uniforms, but of course, that’s all I’ve shopped for recently.

My heart broke into one million pieces because I saw every single woman that has come before her and every single little girl that will come after her if we don’t do something to change this NOW! There is plenty of time for her to feel like shit about herself because the fashion and style industry do not cater to normal sized women and they surely don’t cater to tall women, who are neither anorexic or plus sized. Our options are crying in the dressing room while trying to either starve ourselves into see thru micro mini everything, wearing muumuus or dressing like a man. Why do we have to dress according to them? And who the f*ck are they anyways?

Isn’t it enough that our daughters are bombarded by images on television and in the media of starving women as our standard of beauty, now my 10-year-old and 8-year-old are being told their bodies are wrong by fucking uniform pants. And by the way, if there was ever proof that the patriarchy is in charge, just look at a school uniform policy. It is made to inflict embarrassment and shatter self-image by making every little girl feel as ugly and plain as possible.

This is my plea, manufacturers and designers of little girls’ school uniforms

Please stop making school uniforms cut to give our elementary school aged girls doubt in themselves and their bodies.

My daughters are perfect and healthy and beautiful and in one shopping trip, fashion has planted a seed of doubt. I saw her face. I know that look…

 If only I could lose 5 pounds, I could fit into those pants!

I didn’t ever want to see that look in her eyes; that partial disgust and doubt of her own body.

It had nothing to do with wanting to be fashionable and every thing to do with just wanting to be normal and wear pants that fit. Why are we allowing the fashion industry to destroy the self-esteem and body image that we have worked so hard to instill in our girls? We pay for these clothes, shouldn’t they be made to fit our bodies not the other way around? The fashion industry works for us.

What are your thoughts on vanity sizing and unisex cuts in girls’ school uniforms?

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Gilmore Girls, #Streamteam, Netflix, mother/daughter relationship

As I walked around downtown earlier this week with my daughter and her friends,  I watched her. Not like a crazy stalker or anything, but like a sociologist studying human behavior. Have you ever really watched your children, when they don’t know anyone’s paying attention? They are pretty incredible.

She’s 9-years-old, she’s growing up so fast. She’s not the little kid who clung to me anymore. She is independent and funny, quirky, smart and kind. I see her give hello smiles to elderly women, I watch as she holds the door for the mother with small kids and I see her begin to think before she speaks. My heart is filled with pride. I did that or at least, I had a hand in it.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things I’m most thankful for and there is nothing I’m more thankful for than my girls and the gift of being their mother. I know parents are not supposed to be their kid’s “friend” because it blurs the line of authority but I’m not sure that I believe that entirely. I want my girls to know that no matter what, I have their back but I also want them to respect me enough as their mother to not take advantage of that relationship.I want them to feel comfortable talking to me about anything without fear of judgment. Motherhood is a tricky balance of full on never-ending, unconditional love,  complete trust and respecting the relationship  just enough to listen to one another, even when they don’t want to.

When Bella was a toddler, the Big Guy and I used to watch the Gilmore Girls. Every week the theme song would start playing and my toddler would get super excited (in that way that only toddlers can) and start dancing in that bouncy little way that cruisers do; with a smile from ear to ear. That child made me fall in love with the Gilmore Girls.

I remember watching and imagining having the kind of mother/daughter relationship with my girl as Lorelai Gilmore had with her daughter, Rory. My toddler was dancing and I was dreaming about 15 years down the road, secretly hoping she’d want me to be her best friend one day.

The show ended and time passed, I had another daughter. Life moved on. We stepped on this ride of children growing up and it just keeps speeding up. There is so much going on in our day-to-day that it’s hard to ever see the big picture these days. Parenthood is truly the definition of not being able to see the forest for the trees but once in awhile when we slow down, for just a moment and notice, we can see all the potential of what this all means like when I watched my girl on the field trip, navigating the city, catching snowflakes on her tongue and being just a little silly but still cooler than I ever was at her age. I can see the Rory she is becoming.

I still see that toddler bouncing around to Carole King singing Where You Lead. It gets me every damn time. This is what parenthood is; misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. Honestly, its more like hours on end of minutia where all the real memories are made; the menial tasks of the day-to-day. The long talks about nothing, the goodnight kisses, the laughter and the tears. The good stuff happens when you aren’t even paying attention; the growing up and the growing closer . I’ve come to realize that there is  something closer than a toddler’s unadulterated blind love for her mommy and that is a child, a young lady, a woman …a daughter, who chooses you. I blame the Gilmore Girls because it made me believe that moms and daughters can be best friends. That’s what I’ve hoped and planned for.

For now, we’ll be cuddled up on the sofa with our girls watching the Gilmore Girls together on Netflix because BONUS, Gilmore Girls are on Netflix and in January Friends is coming!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team but all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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tarte cosmetics, How to teach teenage girls to put on make up, make up, how to put on make-up, raising teen girls, beauty tips for teens, beauty tips for tweens

When I was a tween and a teenage girl, I was forbidden from wearing make-up. Not even lip gloss. If I was really slick, I could, maybe, get away with some shiny chapstick. Thank you Lip Smackers. But my teenage self had no idea how to put on make-up.

My dad was very old-fashioned and opposed to the thought of any sort of male looking in our direction and harbored even more disdain at the thought of us growing up. So, needless to say, middle school was the pits and even asking how to put on make-up was about as offensive to our dad as asking how to get pregnant.

Disclosure: I was gifted some of the products I use by Tarte cosmetics but all opinions on how to put on make-up and love for the product are my own.

Aside from the obvious and prevailing normalness of hormones, gangliness, body parts changing at lightning speed and an overall collective ugliness that hits everyone in those awkward years, I wasn’t allowed to paint my fingernails, shave my legs or wear lip gloss. It was just me and my caterpillar eyebrows fending for ourselves in a world of shaven legs and make-up.

READ ALSO: I shaved my 7-year-old

Honestly, I didn’t wear anything above that shiny Lip Smacker until prom. PROM! I was 17 and had never put make-up on my own face. Now, on this point I do agree with my dad, teenage girls are naturally beautiful. They really don’t need much but, I mean PROM, it’s like the closest thing you get to your wedding at 16 and 17. You want to be extra. More than Lip Smackers anyways.

Prom day came and I had my hair professionally done. Of course, it was a disaster because the hairdresser took my natural curls and made them into spiral curls and I looked more like Shirley Temple than I had any of intention of looking. Then there was the situation with my prom dress that needed last minute alterations. My prom date was awesome enough to pick up the dress, only to find out 5 minutes before we had to leave that she took the chest area in too much. So the girl who never wore make-up and had just secretly shaved her legs, had 17-year-old cleavage coming out to attack her date. You think that was bad?

My brother was dating my best friend so we were double dating to prom. My brother picked up the flowers from the florist and promptly put them in the freezer. They turned brown. They looked dead. I would have been hysterical had it not have been happening to me.

Then my friend offered to do my make-up. I figured why not since I had no idea what to do and compared to the terrible hair, come atcha cleavage and brown flowers…I needed a win.  In retrospect,  I should have just asked for a how to put on make-up tutorial but alas, there was no YouTube when I went to prom… just friends with good intentions and less skill. How bad could it be?

Bad! It could be awful. I looked like a goth princess. You see how that could be distracting? I had to wash my face off, and apply Lip Smackers as my mom tried to brush the Shirley Temple curls out of my hair. It was the worst. I was crying and mascara was streaking my cheeks. My poor prom date sat in the living room wondering wtf he had gotten himself into. You know, if my parents had planned this, they would win at the game of blockers for sure.

This is why I decided (that night at prom) before I ever had sex or children that I would never let that happen to my girls. When I went to college, the first thing I did was learn to put on make-up. Don’t get me wrong, during the day (most days of my life) I still love a bare face. I’m good without it. But when I go out, I want my face to look like it came to impress. I love make-up.

For me, applying a beautiful face of make-up is respecting the occasion and the people that I am spending time with, in the same way one would dress up to go out. I feel like putting no effort in reflects badly on me, like I don’t care about what I’m doing. But it’s not all about make-up. Beauty comes from within and sometimes beauty is pain. I mean, those fancy braids that look all carefree, they hurt going in. I’ve taught my girls this from the get.

READ ALSO: My Daughter Taught Me an Invaluable Lesson

The girls are ballerinas and perform on stage a lot, so at the ripe old ages of 11 and 13-years-old they already have more make-up experience than I did in high school. But, as anyone who has seen stage make-up, you know it’s not appropriate for daytime wear on young girls. It’s very heavy and dramatic because it’s purpose is to be seen under harsh, bright house lights. I’m trying to teach the girls that you can be creative, expressive and have fun with make-up without being overly dramatic and look-at-me-ish. I’m also trying to teach them that beauty isn’t just about what you look like, it’s who you are and how you behave; it emanates from within like a light.

How to teach teenage girls to put on make up, make up, how to put on make-up, raising teen girls, beauty tips for teens, beauty tips for tweens, tarte cosmeticsHere is what I’ve been teaching my tween and teenage girls about how to put on make-up:

1.Beauty is pain.

How to teach teenage girls to put on make up, make up, how to put on make-up, raising teen girls, beauty tips for teens, beauty tips for tweens

2. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, maintain your suppleness and skin elasticity.

How to teach teenage girls to put on make up, make up, how to put on make-up, raising teen girls, beauty tips for teens, beauty tips for tweens, tarte cosmetics

3. Wear huge sunglasses to keep yourself from squinting in the sun and to protect your face from the damaging rays of the sun.

4. Clean your face daily. Never go to bed with a dirty face. I use St. Ives Apricot scrub.

5. Use witch hazel after you clean your face to make sure it’s clean.

6. Moisturize your face. Moisturize your neck. Moisturize your hands and make sure that your daytime moisturizer has SPF in it. Also, moisturizing lippys never hurt anybody. My favorite for the girls is Tarte lip quenchers.

7. Always wear sunscreen

8. Don’t pull at your skin. When applying moisturizer rub up and dab around the eyes.

9. Buy good cosmetics and less is more. This is what I have found to be true for me anyways. The more pigment, the less you have to use.

10.  Apply primer and your make-up will last longer.

11. Apply setting spray and you will look flawless all day.

13. Curl your eyelashes before you apply mascara, even if you aren’t applying mascara. You can also take a lash extension course online if you want to.

14. Do not pluck your eyebrows. All of us moms who lived through the 90’s can tell you from below our anorexic eyebrows that all of the castor oil in the world can’t bring them back to life. I miss my Brooke Shields caterpillars.

How to teach teenage girls to put on make up, make up, how to put on make-up, raising teen girls, beauty tips for teens, beauty tips for tweens, tarte cosmetics

15. Love who you are because let me tell you what…confidence is the most beautiful thing a girl can possess.

What’s your best beauty secret for tween and teenage girls? At what age were you allowed to wear make-up? How do you teach your daughters about how to put on make-up?

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Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor

How important do you think it really is to teach your kids about the history? Do you actively teach your children about their past, the past of the world so they can live accordingly or do you place your focus on the future? Eyes on the prize and all that.

I had a secondary focus on History in university so I learned early on that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. It’s the first thing they teach you and it’s true. It’s like my tween trying to school me on how cool “The Smiths” are. Girl, I was there in the beginning. I know how cool they are. You are only cool enough to understand how cool they are because I made you so.

I make sure that my children know what the world was like before they came into it because if you don’t know the struggle, it’s hard to appreciate that it no longer exists or how far we’ve come to get where we are. Otherwise, we all become complacent and stop growing in any meaningful way. In this way, I think it’s my responsibility to teach my girls.

Not all kids love history unless it is relatable to them in some way. When you are a kid, you are the center of the universe and seeing it any other way is almost impossible. This is one of the reasons I love the BeForever series at American Girl. It has helped me make history palatable for girls no matter the age.

For example, American Girl’s newest BeForever character, Nanea Mitchell, a Hawaiian girl growing up on the island of Oahu in 1941 helps me to explain WWII to my girls.

Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor

Nanea’s story explores what life was like for islanders in the weeks leading up to and the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the U.S.’s entry into World War Two. In bringing this significant period in history to life for girls today, Nanea’s story illuminates how the courage, patriotism, and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people inspired a nation at war and shows how one girl can make a meaningful difference in the face of big change.

“The BeForever line is about building a bridge of understanding, helping girls today see the interconnectedness—the feelings, experiences, hopes, and dreams—that exists between themselves and girls from long ago,” says Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

The hope is that Nanea’s powerful story of resilience, responsibility to others, and contributing for the common good—or kokua, as it’s known in Hawaii—will resonate with girls and show them they have the power within to face the obstacles that come their way.

Written by Newbery Honor Award-winning author Kirby Larson, the Nanea series introduces readers to 9-year- old Nanea Mitchell. Nanea loves her close-knit extended family, dancing the hula, fishing with her father, and playing with her dog, Mele. Nanea is also eager to “dip her paddle in” to be useful at home and at her grandparents’ store.

When Pearl Harbor—the naval base where her father works—is attacked by Japan, the peaceful existence the Mitchells and their neighbors enjoy is replaced with martial law, and rumors of additional attacks and frequent air-raid drills have everyone on edge.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty, Nanea embraces her spirit of aloha and deeply held belief in kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—to do her part for the war effort and help restore peace to her beloved Hawaiian home.

Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor

 

In addition to the stories, the Nanea collection features a beautiful 18-inch doll featuring an all-new face mold, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair, plus several 1940s-era, Hawaiian-inspired doll outfits and Nanea-inspired apparel for girls. Numerous authentic-to- the-era accessories round out the play experience, including Nanea’s Hula Outfit and Hula Implements and Nanea’s Family Market, with 90 pieces, including a wooden store with a movable counter, food, supplies, displays, and more.

To help ensure the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity of Nanea’s story and products, American Girl worked closely with a five-member advisory board who provided their expertise in Hawaiian culture, language, and history to inform all aspects of Nanea’s development—including the doll, books, outfits, and accessories.

To support Nanea’s inspiring message, from August 21 until the end of 2017, American Girl will be collecting donations for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program to help provide comfort and care to the members of the military, veterans, and their families.

American Girl will match every dollar donation made at americangirl.com or at any American Girl store in the U.S. up to a maximum total donation of $75,000. American Girl is also giving $575,000 worth of its signature 18-inch dolls to the American Red Cross to provide a bit of cheer to children in times of crisis.

Through the generosity of American Girl Dolls, I am giving away a Nanea Mitchell doll to one lucky reader to give to the little girl in her life, just in time for the holidays too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bossy, Sheryl Sandberg, #BanBossy, Bossy, Raising Girls, Strong girls, leaders

Of all the things I get up in arms about concerning women’s issues, being called bossy is not one of them.

In fact, I don’t find “bossy” to be derogatory.

There are so many other more important issues concerning women today than being referred to as “bossy”.  I get what Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chavez are trying to say that by calling little girls “bossy” in a negative context, we are inadvertently teaching our girls that to be a leader, to be a woman who takes charge is a bad thing because men don’t like it. We are teaching our girls to give up their dreams of being leaders because it’s not the role they were meant to fill. I call bullshit.

I grew up being called “bossy” and “stubborn”, always. I don’t take it as an insult. Maybe it’s because my dad always told me that if I had something worth saying then I should say it and not to back down. My mom taught me that where there is a will, there is always a way. For me that translated into work hard, bust your ass, embrace your bossy and be the leader. At my core, I have always believed that there is nothing that I could not do. I could be, do or achieve anything…all I needed to do was commit, work hard and make it happen. Being called bossy didn’t hurt me. Being called bossy made me feel empowered, respected and even a little feared and I thought that was awesome!

A vagina is not a handicap. For me, people underestimating me because of my sex is their fatal flaw not mine. Hell, I may have had to fight a little harder to get what I wanted but believe me once I got where I wanted, I’ve always impressed people with my leadership skills probably because they started off with such low expectations since I am just a woman.

I just had a conversation with my 9-year-old and I asked her about this. She said that she doesn’t take it as an insult. She said that a boss is a leader who is in control of the situation and she said she likes being that person. She said in her group in class, she is the only girl with 4 boys and every time that they work on problems, if there are 10 math problems, she does six and lets each boy do one. She said this is because she wants them done right. She says the boys call her bossy but she told them she doesn’t care and if they want to be in charge they can be but then they get to do the 6 problems and she gets to do the one and she added….and I still want my A. So if you think  you can do it, go ahead. To which the boy, quietly declined and has not called her bossy since.

I am thrilled to know that my girls are not afraid to lead. I am thrilled that they don’t get offended for being recognized as strong women but I am troubled that she is learning that to get things done right, she has to do 60% of the work while the boys each only do 10%.

I think we need to teach the world to reward our girls for being leaders and not turning a personality strength into a flaw. Don’t ban the word bossy, ban narrow mindedness.I want to raise strong minded, strong willed, strong bodied girls who have every faith in themselves that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to and most of all, I want them to NOT be afraid to lead. I want them to embrace their inner bossy.

Do you find the word bossy offensive?

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Mommy Moment Monday

Mommy Moment Monday

Last week, was hard to find my Mommy Moment. Bella was having a particularly bad Saturday. I told you all about the depression and bullying last week so I won’t rehash it but, needless to say, she needed some extra love and attention from her mommy.

It gets so easy to reprimand and tell our kids to behave. We sometimes forget that even though they are not toddlers any longer and tantruming because they can’t verbalize, they still have moments where they cannot find the words. We still do this as adults. We have a feeling or an emotion that just overwhelms us and we don’t know how to ask for love, patience, understanding or space and instead we lash out. I know I do.

Bella is only 7 and I think she did a pretty good job of telling me what was wrong. Don’t get me wrong; I had to work for it. I had to ask every question 7 times and in different ways. We were both sitting in my office crying for so many reasons. The thing I am proud of is that I didn’t quit. I will never give up on my children. My faith in them is like my faith in God, unwavering and is born of a love and devotion that cannot be taught but comes from within. A mother’s love runs so deep for her children that it comes from her very root and is tethered to theirs.

In the end, I was rewarded with my daughter telling me what she was feeling. She spoke to me words that broke my heart for the pain she was in, for the knowledge that she felt so overwhelmed at such a young age but it made me aware. I sat there and listened and I hugged my child and told her that it would all be all right because I will do everything in my power to make it so.

This was a mommy moment for me.

The next day, we had a girl’s day out. It was silly and frivolous. We went to lunch at the mall and had Panda Express, the girls’ favorite. We ate it in the food court. I never do this because I don’t enjoy it but they do. So we did on that Sunday.

I took them to Children’s place and we window-shopped and then we bought fun new boots and kids jewelry. Not anything we needed but something they wanted just because. Some times we need to do things just because. There doesn’t always need to be a reason. I want to teach my girls responsibility but I also want them to know that some days you just need to do what feels good, you need to take care of yourself and you are worth it.

We walked around the mall talking and the girls giggling non-stop. I love the sound of their giggles more than just about anything in the world.  We did frivolous things like smell every single scent of hand sanitizers, and I let them help me choose which flavors to buy. We went o the candy shoppe and bought jelly bellies in the flavors of their choice. It was just a handful but it made them so happy to pick what they wanted, to be heard and considered; for their opinion to matter.

Another good mommy moment.

Then we drove home with the windows down, singing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. Giggles filled the backseat and my mommy heart was happy because I KNEW they were happy and enjoying childhood in those few hours. There was no obligation of schoolwork, rehearsals or cleaning their room. I had no dinner to cook, no deadlines, no house to clean, no bills to worry about just me and my girls having a day out, just because.

When we pulled into the drive, both girls nearly jumped out of the moving car yelling to their dad that they had “the BEST GIRLS DAY EVER!!!” and I was happy because they were happy.

Mommy moments happen when we are not looking because we are always looking for our shortcomings. Take a moment to focus on what you do right. You are a good mom. Hope you will link up this week.

I’m having an issue with Linky tools right now. I can’t wait to read your mommy moment.

What is one of your favorite mommy moments?

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We all know that I am all about the truth but occasionally I’ve had to stretch the truth a scoatch to bend the little ones to my Mommy will, in the name of the greater good, of course. Have you ever had to do this? If so, you may identify with the Best White Lies I EVER told my Girls.


Best White Lies I EVER Told my Girls

  • I told my girls that if they didn’t eat their asparagus, their hair would all fall out. It would start with small bald spots; like a dog with mange. (This came at a time when I actually had a small bald spot in my own hair. Timing is everything.)

 

  • Elves are real and they are Santa’s henchmen. They teleport back to the North Pole each night during the Christmas season to report indiscretions perpetrated by naughty kids. They are eager to break some kneecaps but Santa is usually pretty forgiving. (To make the story believable, you must move said elves around nightly and they must appear in unexpected spots i.e. the toilet, the fridge, the tub, school backpack, etc.)

 

  • Once when the door burst open to the “conjugalorium” (Child’s unoccupied bedroom because we have two co-sleepers and are forced to get inventive with our “adult” time), we told our 3 year old  “Daddy was telling Mommy a secret, that’s why we were so close”.

 

  • While driving back from my Moms house in Chicago, we passed a refinery spouting billowing puffs of pollution. My then 4 year old asked “Mommy is that a cloud factory where all the clouds of the world are made?” I said, “Yes, yes it is” How could I not?

 

  • If you stay in the bathtub too long, you will shrivel up and turn into a raisin. Their eyes both turned into saucers, I could see fear and disbelief. I had to seal the deal, “And then people will eat you in their oatmeal!” They both promptly exited the tub and have not stayed for prolonged periods in the tub, since. They are also no longer interested in raisins in any way, shape or form.

 

  • Bambi is a narcoleptic. Recently, my girls had their first ever experience with road kill, a beautiful, freshly deceased deer. The deer was lying at the side of the road, looking very peaceful and not moving. My 3 year old, with tears in her eyes, asked what the dear was doing. I told her the dear had narcolepsy. (P.S. This does not work if you see a random deer leg on the side of the road!)

 

  • The Prayer Closet. A friend once told me that I needed to get myself a “Prayer” closet. My interest was piqued so I asked, “What’s a “prayer” closet?” Apparently, it is a walk-in closet that you can go to have marital relations. OK, but why the name, you ask. So did I. It’s called a prayer closet because once when she was in the closet calling out “Oh GOD!” She walked out to be greeted by her small child asking, “Mommy, what were you doing in there?” Her answer, “Honey, Mommy was praying. It’s Mommy and Daddy’s prayer closet.” The closet has since been soundproofed.

 

  • The Boogie Man. I made the fatal mistake of using the word “BOOGIE MAN”. Previous to this, I have never used the concept with the girls. Nonetheless, it slipped out. My 3 year old heard it. “Mommy, what’s a Boogie Man?” This is where I went brain damaged. “It’s just a little fairy who comes out at night, if you don’t behave, and sucks the boogies out of your nose.” Why I thought this was less traumatic than the real story, I’ll never know.

 

  • I told my girls, on New Years Eve, that their sparkling cider was actually champagne. I had them so convinced that my 5 year old had 2 glasses and swore she was drunk. Lightweight.

 

  • When my daughter was 3 she was extremely afraid of chickens and lemurs.  Don’t ask. Let’s just say Julian, from Madagascar, is persona non grata in our house. She is absolutely terrified. After many nights of her jumping out of bed because she swore chickens or lemurs were under her bed, I took a canister of Febreeze and transformed it into Chicken/Lemur spray. I went so far as to cover up the logo, wrote Chicken/Lemur Spray on the label with the words “Kills Chickens/Lemurs Dead!” complete with chicken skull and crossbones. Then, in Catholic priest fashion, I blessed the room and sprayed the entire room down. Then she slept. That was 2 years ago. Occasionally, she still has me spray the room down. Just to be safe.

 

I’d love to hear any white lies that you’ve had to tell your kids to get them to do what was best for them. How inventive have you had to get in the name of healthy food and a good night’s sleep?

 

 

*This is a piece written by me that was originally published on Momversation.com on January 2011.

 

 

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A couple of years ago for Christmas, Bella ( then 3) wanted to tell her Papi why she loved him. It was her special gift to him ( and it really was. It brought he and I both to tears). Today, of all days, I stumbled across it and it seems apropos to share with you all here today. So, In the spirit of Father’s day here is Bella’s List from Christmas 2008.

Top 20 things that I love about my Papi
Christmas 2008
  • I love when you take me outside and play in the snow.
  • I love when you take me with you to get groceries.
  • I Love you because you love me!
  • I love when you play Barbies with me and use funny voices.
  • I love when you paint with me and teach me how to draw.
  • I love when you dance Wiggles dance contest with me and sissy.
  • I love when you count with me.
  • I love when you decorate the Christmas tree with me and take us to see Christmas lights.
  • I love when you play camping with us inside our Hello Kitty tent.
  • I love when you help me clean my room and straighten my bed.
  • I love when you make gingerbread houses with us.
  • I love when you kiss my booboos and use Dora bandaids.
  • I love when you watch the Nutcracker and dance with me.
  • I love you when you hug me when I am sad.
  • I love when we play dress up and you tell me I am pretty.
  • I love when you watch frosty with me and drink hot coco.
  • I when you come and sleep in my bed with me when I have nightmares about Chickens ( and Lemurs)
  • I love when we all take family naps together and you cuddle with me.
  • I love you when you drive all the way to my favorite mall to get me spicy chicken.
  • I love when you do nice things for me, like bring me surprises and play outside with me in the summer.
Most of all,I love you because you’re the best Papi I never  (ever in Bella speak) saw!
This list pretty much sums up the eyes with which my girls view their Daddy, every day. He is an amazing Father. He lives to make his girls ( luckily that includes me as well) smile and their sadness moves him to tears. I am blessed to be married to a man whose heart and personality can fill a room.Words can not convey the love I feel for him when I see him with our daughters.  He’s a real trooper too. The girls and I had planned to go all out for Father’s Day, unfortunately, imagine my surprise when both girls got sick this weekend. Daddy got to spend Father’s Day weekend, helping me tend to sick feverish children at all hours of the night. The girls looked at him all weekend with adoration as he helped administer meds and give luke warm baths, and carry sickly babies from couch to bed and back again.And I have never found him to be quite so sexy as he was helping me this weekend. Sorry you had to spend your Father’s Day in the trenches,baby, but I sure did appreciate it.We love you honey, more than you will ever know! I’m sure next years list will include: 
I love you when you take care of me when I am sick!
Happy Father’s Day to all the fantastic Fathers in your lives!
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Beyonce, formation, super bowl, girl power, black power

Saturday, I saw  Beyonce‘s video for Formation and I fell in love with it. I’ve been a fan of Beyonce since Destiny’s child. Not a rabid fan but I had a genuine appreciation for her as an artist. She has a beautiful voice and she’s all about the girl power, which as the mother of two daughters, she had me from the get.

What I love about Formation is how strong she is. Giving absolutely zero fucks. I’m going to speak my mind because bitches I’ve been silent too long. She came out the box with words a blazing. The lyrics alone were strong and on point but the imagery of the video told the whole story.

She is the kind of role model I want for my little girls. Hell, she’s my new shero with this bold new side.

Here are a few lessons all little girls, especially those little minority girls of ours, can learn from Beyonce and her new video.

Beyonce, formation, super bowl, girl power, black power

1. “My daddy’s Alabama, my mommas Louisiana”

Be proud of who we are no matter where we come from. Who cares if you are from the country like Bey or the ghetto like me. Where we come from makes who we become. If I hadn’t been poor and grew up in the ghetto, I probably wouldn’t be the strong broad I am today. Coming from hard places makes you scrappy and a fighter and that’s nothing to be embarrassed ever.

Beyonce, formation, super bowl, girl power, black power

 2. “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making”

We can be anything we want to be. If we are ready to put in the blood, sweat and tears to get it. It can be ours. We are not limited by anything but our own determination. Don’t let other people’s opinions matter more to you than what you think of yourself. Work hard and do you.

 3. “I carry hot sauce in my purse”

Firstly, me too girl, me too! Be yourself and be proud. Give zero fucks about what other people think about you. You have to live with yourself. Make yourself happy. Life is too short to spend your life worrying about what other people think about you. We can’t leave our happiness in someone else’s hands or we’d all be unhappy. We’ve got to be who we are and go after what we want.

Beyonce, formation, super bowl, girl power, black power

4. ” I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”

Love your body. Love what God gave you. If you are black, white, Latino or whatever else you might be we might all be the same on the inside (human) but we most certainly look different on the outside. We have different body types and we need to embrace them. I’m never going to have the “model body” of a 10-year-old boy. I have curves. It’s how I’m built. I have no ass to speak and rather large breasts. I can’t change any of it and instead of spending my life hating the body I was given, I need to embrace it and love it for what it is and not hate it for what it isn’t.

This part is everything.

Beyonce, formation, super bowl, girl power, black power

5. Go for it! Slay it. Put your heart, your soul and your back into it. Take no shit. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid to make your voice heard because we all matter!

I see it, I want it

I stunt, yeah, little hornet

I dream it, I work hard

I grind ’til I own it

I twirl all my haters

Albino alligators

El Camino with the ceiling low

Sippin’ Cuervo with no chaser

Sometimes I go off, I go off

I go hard, I go hard

Get what’s mine, take what’s mine

I’m a star, I’m a star

Cause I slay, slay

I slay, hey, I slay, okay

I slay, okay, all day, okay

I slay, okay, I slay okay

We gon’ slay, slay

Gon’ slay, okay

We slay, okay

I slay, okay

I slay, okay

Okay, okay, I slay, okay

Okay, okay, okay, okay

Every woman…can I please get a HELL, YEAH? This is the anthem for African Americans and women alike. It’s a call to action. A wake-up call. We all matter and that’s worth fighting for and I can’t think of anything better that I’d like to teach my little girls.

What did you think of Beyonce Formation video and its message?

 

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