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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I woke up Sunday to a great Mother's Day breakfast and beautiful cards. I am thankful to have a wonderful man who loves me as a strong woman and appreciates me as a Mother to his son. My baby is too little to understand the significance of this day. But I'm sure that he knows we have an incredible relationship. We have a special love thang that began before his heart beat for the first time and before he took his first breath. Motherhood is a flood of emotion that is almost impossible to explain. I try but I know I could never adeqeutly describe the experiences I've had so far. Becoming a Mommy myself has created an understanding and appreciation of my own mother. I am so thankful for her love and care and regret that I ever put her through unneccesary worry or concern. With the help of her Mother (now Nigel's GG) I was nurtured and cared for by women who's strength is beyond measure. They have been the two pillars in my life sharing stories of their triumphs and trials. They've encouraged me to mirror their successes and learn from their poorer judgements. Building on the values they have instilled I have had my own life experiences and will raise my son to beat my best and be wiser than my worst.

The message at church Sunday really spoke to my heart. We were reminded of the contributions of women who are mothers in spirit and in their committment to children in need. Many lives have been changed by the love of foster and adoptive mothers. There are also mothers who may have no biological children but who bring forth new life through their minds, hearts and souls. They create movements, theories and philosophies. These women lead others to avenues in life they could not have imagined otherwise. Women with unique vision, magnetism and guidance are shepards for equality and ingenuity that have children a thousand times over.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

OK peps, so I've been fortunate to spend the last 14 months at home with my beautiful baby boy. Bush's economic stimulus is not stimulating my household economy enough, so I'm considering getting out there and landing a gig. I'm putting myself in the middle of the great debate - working Mom vs. Stay at Home. Don't get me wrong, I'm no doctor's wife sipping tea on a hill. There's no nanny or house help. Cleaning, laundry, dishes, disinfecting - the duties are time consuming and there is no glory given. My perks of staying at home have little to do with living a life of leisure and days at the spa. The joys are in the moments I share with my son, the simple pleasure of watching him try to catch the wind as we stroll through the neighborhood on a breezy day. I love being there when he wakes up from a nap. I'm tickled as he makes new friends at the playground. These precious moments, being able to bear witness to a multitude of firsts, these moments can't be replaced.

It's only fair to say I am no stranger to the working world. Since 15 I've held down at least one and sometimes two jobs at a time. I'm a college grad and am currently pursing my MA. I have personal and career goals for sure, but there's a little person around now who's always had me right there when he needs me. And its not just him I'm concerned about. My separation anxiety would be just as bad as his. The thought of dropping my baby at daycare at 7am and not kissing his little face until 6pm makes my heart skip a beat. I wonder if I could even concentrate! Would the teachers know he likes his back patted not rubbed when it's time for nap? Would they encourage kindness and curiosity the way I do? Would they give him apples and cheese for his favorite afternoon snack? I hope they dilute his juice and filter the water... How about his sensitive skin, is everything clean enough? I better not hear of anyone spanking my baby! Would they be patient enough to learn his favorite made-up games? Will he get the attention and TLC he deserves with all of those other kids? All those germy little kids...

So the question becomes where can your influence and contribution to your family be most felt. Its a tricky question with an answer that can only be answered by individual moms from their families' perspective. The realities are different each of us. How much money is needed to live comfortably? Is your salary or your time most beneficial to your children? Are you satisfied with your personal choices and achievements? Where do you see yourself and your family in the future? Is the time right to stay or go? I'm asking these questions of myself. The problem is I get a different answer almost every time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Miley's shame is ours to bear

There's a lot of blogworthy news this week. The campaign for democratic nominee has turned into a 3 way showdown Clinton vs. Obama vs. Wright. Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey turned their weird whirlwind romance into the ultimate publicity stunt - an off shore marriage. And America's sweetheart Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana is on the verge of losing her Disney branded image over a few provocative portraits courtesy of Annie Lebowitz.

Since this blog is about my motherly musings I'll focus on Ms. Miley. Sadly I saw this coming months ago. Her fame started out innocently enough. She was the cute daughter with the toothy grin of onetime country sensation Billy Rae Cyrus. All the kids loved her, stayed glued to her TV show and flocked to concerts across the globe. Hannah Montana frenzy even got the Bears booted from Soldier Field to accommodate her stage show. Then Miley started to emerge from the nest that is Nickelodeon and move in a more mature circle. There she was, an A-lister at the Academy Awards. Her concert movie #1 in box offices nationwide. On American Idol exchanging quips with Billy Crystal. Its only natural that her immense popularity would give her access to people and places that would overwhelm a 30 year old let alone someone as impressionable as a 15 year old teenage girl. Not taking away from her talent and savvy it is purely fact that at 15 you don't have it all together. What bothers me the most is America's fascination with the ingenue, the Lolita. All smiles and giggles while perverts mumble under their breath about the countdown to her 18th birthday. She is not the first fresh faced girl from the center of Americana we've placed on a pedestal only to watch struggle to keep her balance. Dare I say oops we've done it again? We ogle, ooh and ahh over these young women and put them in positions of influence beyond their years. In those now infamous photos she's a young girl who went a touch too far posing in the mirror. Only difference is most of us locked the bathroom door and daydreamed about gracing magazine covers. Miley's actually living the dream.

Getting to the meat of it, what's the big deal about a shoulder?!? I mean come on, Vanity Fair is not exactly Playboy or Cosmo Girl for Pete's sake. I can't imagine teenage boys sneaking in the bathroom with that mammoth high fashion publication tucked under their armpits. How come its acceptable to celebrate her beauty as a teen pop star in overdone makeup, a blond wig, flashy miniskirts and baby tees, but risque to see her naturally in the lovely light Lebowitz captured her? I don't think it's the image memorialized through the master photographer's lens that's lewd. Its the pop culture lens through which we view young ladies like Miley that's shaded with a red light. They're over hyped, prematurely sexualized, applauded for being sassy and charged with the rearing of a nation full of younger girls who look up to them. Here she is celebrating herself without the makeup, without the scripts, and because something about it makes society at large uncomfortable its in bad taste. I call bullshit! What people are feeling is not shame for Miley, not a fear of her exploitation. Its guilt. We are forced to look face to face with their creation: a little girl who's been growing up a bit too fast. Let's face it at 15 its hard enough to make good decisions for yourself, how can she be an infallible role model for other children? If these photos were sooooo outrageous where was her council? Where were her role models? Are they all so blinded by her earning power that she calls the shots? Does she have a family and staff of yes people? Where were the Disney and Nick Kid reps? Weren't they invested enough in their latest cash cow to monitor how she'd portray herself?

The moral of this story is being worth multi millions at 15 doesn't mean you have the wisdom and life experience to always know what's best. It is the responsibility of parents and loved ones to guide our children and more than anything protect them against this big bad world. Its a jungle out there. They'll love you one day and leave you the next. You can't please all of the people all of the time. Miley had to learn these lessons the hard way. If parents get busy being present in the lives of their children and let talented teens serve as entertainment instead of role models maybe they can avoid the scrutiny that Miley has endured this past week.