Mamapedia National Voices
Mamapedia City Voices highlights the inside scoop on your city by selected writers, from up-and-coming mom bloggers to well-known mom experts.
by Tatyana of "Parenting Perplexities"
Photo by: Shutterstock
Today, I want to talk about the Parenting Police. What is it about parents who just feel that they can tell you everything…about what their view is on breastfeeding, on schooling, on play dates or how you should discipline your child? It seems to me the More
I’ve gone through different stages in my life when it comes to cooking. When I lived in my very first apartment, it was just to eat. So I’d boil the hell out of vegetables, over cook noodles, it was a disaster. And I didn’t care. Places to go, thing More
I’ve gone through different stages in my life when it comes to cooking. When I lived in my very first apartment, it was just to eat. So I’d boil the hell out of vegetables, over cook noodles, it was a disaster. And I didn’t care. Places to go, things to do.
When I first got married, cooking became fun for me. I wasn’t working so I had more time to think about it, plan, shop, and experiment. That was the time that I enjoyed cooking the most.
And one of the things that I loved about cooking (and baking) is that I had so many of my mom’s recipes to start with. Most I made “as is.” But as I became more comfortable with ingredients and processes, I changed many, too.
Now – thanks to attempts to get more money from consumers while providing them with less product – many of the old recipes from my mom need to be reworked, because so many of them called for ‘a can of this’ or ‘a package of that,’ but if a can used to be 16 ounces…and then 15 1/2 ounces…and now is 15 ounces, what does that do to the integrity of the recipe? I won’t be buying two cans just for another ounce, so you can cross that genius marketing tactic off of your list.
And that got me thinking about some other items I’ve seen on the shelves lately that are, in my opinion, a thinly veiled attempt at pickpocketing:
- Aerated chocolate: I thought this was a joke, but it turns out it’s not. They’ve taken chocolate bars, replaced some of the chocolate with air, and sell them at the same price as the original chocolate bars. This makes sense to whom? Just for the record: aerating is for lawns.
- Boxes of snack cakes where the cakes are wrapped in twos: So your kid opens the little cellophane packet and there are two cakes in there. What to do? Either the kid’s gonna eat both or blood’s about to spill trying to get that second one out of their tightly clenched fist to wrap up for another time. Pass.
- 10 calorie sodas: I drink a lot of soda and I don’t drink the full sugar ones. I have my favorite diet sodas and I stick to those. So, now you want me to try not your “new” product, yet another version of the exact same sodas, just with more calories added back in? Like that’s gonna happen.
- New ‘family-sized’ packets: I used to buy packets of, well, pretty much anything that looked interesting to make as a side dish and would feed the family. Lately, those packets have gotten smaller and smaller. Now the companies have “introduced” family-sized packets. Basically, they’re about the size that the miniscule packets used to be, but guess what? They’re almost double the price. Umm . . . no.
- Shampoo: Deceit at an even higher level. Have you looked inside your shampoo bottle lately? I made that mistake. I thought that just because the size of the bottle hadn’t changed that I was getting the same amount. Think again. The bottle’s the same size, but it’s only 3/4 full. Check the number of ounces listed on the bottom of the bottle, if you can read it.
Then there’s make-up, laundry detergent . . .
It all gives new meaning to that old potato chip commercial, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Of course, now we can actually eat just one. That’s all they’re putting in the bag.
So, that’s my rant about how far your money is no longer getting you. Back to reconfiguring all of my recipes, thank you very much…
Chicken Pasta in Tomato Cream Sauce
2 T. Vegetable Oil
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
1/2 lb. mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit- sized pieces
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 t. Italian Seasoning
1/3 C. heavy cream
1 lb. mostaccioli, cooked al dente
-Heat oil in pan at medium heat. When hot, add zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Remove to a plate.
-Add chicken to the pan. Sprinkle with garlic powder and saute’ until chicken is cooked through. Add the veggies back in.
-Add the canned tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and the Italian Seasoning. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
-Turn down the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Once completely incorporated, add the cooked mostaccioli. Stir until all ingredients are warm. Sprinkle with parsley.
Karen is a SAHM of two teens who bakes to relieve stress and to feed the pile of kids who apparently can smell cookies baking from miles away. She blog on her site to keep from spending all of her time doing the days-till-college countdown. Karen’s work has also been featured on the websites “Scary Mommy” and “Treat a Day,” and is published in the “Life Well Blogged” series of books. For more great recipes, visit her site, Baking in a Tornado.
My mom lived with me and my family for two years before she passed away. She was not only confined to a wheelchair, she also had dementia. Even though I loved my mom dearly, it wasn’t easy taking care of her.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I recognized that there are quite a few similarities between the elderly and toddlers. When I made this list I was thinking only of my mom and her last years here with me, and what I witnessed day in and day out. This is meant to be funny, and if Mom were alive today, she would literally laugh her ass off at this. Literally.
Okay, here we go….
- They never know what day it is.
- You have to cut their food up into bite-sized pieces.
- They stand and or sit way too close to the T.V.
- Both yell from the bathroom, “I can’t get my pants up!”
- They fall a lot.
- You have to make every meal for them.
- The dresses little girls wear now remind me of the Moo-Moo’s my Mom used to wear. (or is it Muu Muu’s? Hell if I know. I just pray I will never wear one.)
- They get upset when you get annoyed when they have an accident in the bathtub (yet again).
- They like to show off their boo-boos to their friends, over and over.
- They forget what they were going to say.
- They have no filter at all.
- When either one is quiet for too long, it could mean trouble. The toddler has probably confused the contents of his diaper with Play-Doh. The elder is trying to rearrange their room by themselves.
*Wiping dirty faces.
- Reminding them what people’s names are when they see them. (Then they still don’t remember them.)
- You have to repeat yourself over and over because they either can’t hear you or they’ve tuned you out.
- You have to explain to them why taking a bath is important and must be done everyday.
- Naps. Thank God. (Enough said.)
- They do not have an inside voice!
- Sometimes they have problems getting all their food in their mouth.
- Able to fall asleep in any position at any moment.
- Sometimes when telling a story, they make no sense at all. All you can do is look at them and say, “What are you talking about?”
Thanks to my two kids and my mom for this material and all the great memories.
Ellen Fischkelta is a SAHM of two, living in Palm Bay, Florida. Her family and friends know when sharing something, it may just end up on her blog, Bad Word Mama.
This is the story of my own Princess Boy. Remember that book? Well, the mother in that story whole-heartedly embraced her son’s decision to wear a dress. And she even wrote a book about it. And went on press tours. And filled his closet with sequined, frilly gowns.
And in these ways made me feel like the worst mother ever.
This is the challenge I didn’t count on when becoming a mother.
I had prepared myself for the lack of sleep, and tantrumming toddlerhood, and knowing way too much about another human being’s poop.
But I wasn’t prepared when my three-year-old son decided that he wanted to wear a dress. And be a princess. Or a mermaid. Or a fairy. Like, every day for approximately two years.
The dress obsession began after he decided that Mama Mia was his favorite movie. There is a scene where the daughter in the movie throws off her dress and dives into the water with her bathing suit on. He spent countless hours perfecting this very move, using the back cushions of our couch as the ocean.
At the same time he was moved by Abba, he was also moved from the toddler room to the preschool room at daycare. The new, older girls in his class took a shine to him and gave him the role of the “baby princess.” He loved every pink tulle moment.
At home, he began scouting out his own perfect ensemble. And I have to admit I helped him find the right thing, not realizing the future depth of his devotion. What he chose was this white linen tank top of mine, with red flowers on it and a flowy bottom hem. The straps were so long that the neck of the “dress” settled just below his belly button. As a fashion statement, it was all wrong, but he was absolutely in love with that shirt. While wearing it he could become anything from a fairy princess to his mom at the beach.
After he had staked his claim to my shirt, I tried to wear it one day. Every time he looked at me he couldn’t stop laughing, saying, “You’re wearing my dress, Mommy!”
I would love to say that I was always 100% okay with him wearing a dress. His dad could have cared less what our son wore, and I should have, too. But I found myself creating arbitrary rules surrounding it that were more like little mirrors of my own comfort level. The main rule was that he couldn’t actually go out in the dress. I selfishly decided I couldn’t handle all the questions. He was pretty enough to be mistaken for a girl all the time anyway.
And at Christmas, let’s just say the princess dolls he wanted so badly did arrive and…so did their castle. Except that it was actually a Batman castle. He took one look at it and promptly turned the super secret escape hatch into a closet for fancy dresses and shoes.
I also found myself trying to justify his dress-wearing if a friend was over and saw him in all his sashaying glory, singing and dancing to the Rapunzel soundtrack. “It’s just his princess phase,” I once said, and laughed as she assured me her son wore fingernail polish for two years.
And then one day…
He was at the babysitters with a couple of little girls. The mother of the little girls came to pick them up and spied my son dressed from head to toe as Tinker Belle, proud as could be. The mom pulled the sitter aside and said,
“So, what are his parents DOING about that?”
And the sitter-who I will always love for saying this-simply said,
I hugged her when she told me this, and in my mind I vowed to myself to be better at doing just that.
Well, this year Kindergarten came and with it, a day when my son came home with his sweatshirt zipped up just about as far as it could go. I knew that under that sweatshirt was an iron-on t-shirt that he and I had just made. On the shirt was a pink monster with wings and braces and it was awesome. And he was beyond proud of it.
“So, what’s with the sweatshirt, bud?”
“Oh, I zipped it up because one of the other boys told me my shirt was a girl’s shirt and I didn’t want anybody else to say that.”
Well, a) I wanted to go all mama She-Bear on that other kid and his parents.
And, b) My heart broke for my sweet little boy, who loves to bike and ski, but who also LOVES pink, just like his dad. The boy who learned to swim under water only because he desperately wanted to be The Little Mermaid.
That sweet kid who gave his baby sister the middle name Rainbow, and who actually cried when I packed away her newborn clothes because he missed her being that small.
So, as I felt my heart break that day he came home, I began to tell him over and over again how WONDERFUL he was and how AMAZING his shirt was and that OBVIOUSLY that other boy did not have any REAL fashion sense and….and…
and he put his hand on my knee and he looked at me and he said,
“It’s okay Mama.”
And he went and played.
Joelle is a writer, a mom, and an occasional physical therapist. Her blog is more free-range and less helicopter, more organic than processed, more mountains than city, and more hippy than hipster – Joelle Wisler.
Last night, I went to our Down syndrome support group’s “Moms Night Out.”
As I sat there amongst these women, I thought maybe it should be called a “lift me up” group, rather than a “support” group.
Certainly, this group offers much support, but when I think of support, I think of being held up so I don’t fall. Not a single one of these women was falling.
Here were all these moms together, each raising a child with Ds day-to-day. We come from different backgrounds; have different ages and numbers of children; some of us work outside of the home full-time, some part-time, some work fully from home. We are an eclectic mix of women, brought together by an extra chromosome.
Yet, with all our differences, the atmosphere around the table was the same. There was laughter, sharing of stories and camaraderie. Sure, some challenges came up, but they were met with knowing nods of agreement. The nod that says, “hey, I get it,” and “we all are in this together,” is like the best hug in the world.
Other than the gift of Wil himself, his extra chromosome has brought so many extras in my life, and these women are one beautiful extra I’m thankful for.
They say ”it takes a village to raise a child,” and I am lucky enough to be part of a village made of these caring, strong and proactive women. There is strength in knowing we are all in this together, cheering our kids on to live fulfilling lives and shatter limiting stereotypes.
Sadly, there are still too many people out there who “don’t get it.” As much as individuals with Ds are now self-advocating and achieving, people still limit our kids by throwing out the r-word, and putting limiting thoughts and words on what they believe our kids can achieve into adulthood.
Listen to me closely – our children look up to the same sky as any other child does, and that sky is their limit, just as it is for any other child.
Our kids may not reach the sky in the same way as other kids, but they can and will reach it if we stop limiting them with our thoughts and words.
There is a young man with Ds named Tim who, with his parents, runs a successful restaurant. What is the key to the restaurant’s success? Tim gives the patrons hugs. People come from all over to get a hug from him. He does help with other duties at the restaurant, but my point is this: in his own way, he has made the restaurant a success. Tim and his parents are a good example of “no limit” thinkers.
All of us are limitless, we simply reach for the sky in our own way, and in our own time.
Keep limits from your mind and your words, to benefit yourself and to benefit those around you.
All the best,
Christie is a forty-something mom with twin daughters, and a son who happens to have Down syndrome. To read more of her work, please visit her blog, Autobiographical Reflections.
Today, I want to talk about the Parenting Police. What is it about parents who just feel that they can tell you everything…about what their view is on breastfeeding, on schooling, on play dates or how you should discipline your child? It seems to me there is this endless troupe of parents that just descend upon you at the strangest moments, and you feel them sort of looking at you, judging you…sort of asking themselves (at least you interpret it that way), “Why is she not breastfeeding anymore? She’s got a bottle. I don’t understand that.”
And then I realized, actually, that I do that myself. I am guilty of that. For instance, if I see kids running around in a restaurant, I think, “What is wrong with those parents? Why don’t they make their children sit down? They should be able to do that. They’re ruling their lives.” While I’m having an opinion, they’re having an opinion, thinking, “Why don’t they let their children run around? Why do they have to be sitting there…static?
Point in case: I remember once with Boris, I was walking down the street when he was a baby and he was sort of fussing, and all of a sudden this woman out-of the-blue shouts, “Oh, poor baby. He’s so hungry!” And I thought, oh my god, is he hungry? Then I thought, wait a minute, he’s not hungry because I just fed him. So I said, “Excuse me, I know you mean well, but this is my baby and I know when he’s hungry, thank you.”
I don’t even know if she was a parent herself, but you just feel so… judged. And of all the things I have ever done in my life – acting, writing – the most judged I feel is when I’m a parent; when I’m parenting my children.
Sometimes, I even feel my children are looking at me and thinking, “Why did she say that?” And I realized that it is my own brain, judging myself.
When you’re a parent, it’s just that you are so sensitive to doing it right…or doing it wrong. I think at the end of the day, all I can do
- all I have the power to do - is just to let go, trust my own instincts and realize what I provide for them is what I feel they need. And maybe I should be less judgmental of other parents. And maybe other parents should be less judgmental of me.
That’s my thought of the day.
Tatyana Yassukovich is a voiceover actress/playwright who is raising four stepkids and one kid of her own. She started blogging as a way of expressing her impressions and truths about raising children and the role of stepparent. Please visit her blog, Parenting Perplexities.