Lose Yourself

The numbness I felt after the attack was a welcomed relief.  I had been through so much in the nine months leading up to it, that feeling nothing was a pleasure.  Even so, I had a nagging feeling it would not last forever.  I knew that once the numbness wore off, it would take everything in me not to crumble.   But I kept reminding myself enjoy this oddly new emotionless state as I usually feel all the feels.

I was angry going into the weekend when it happened, but I insisted on making lemonade out of lemons.  It’s weird in the aftermath the only way I could explain it was I was fine, until I wasn’t.  When the numbness wore off the bruises were still there.  I could not run from it.  I stood in the bathroom staring at my rib cage.  It didn’t hurt, well not physically.  How did I get to 40 years old with not so much as a hair on my head mishandled and now, I had this very evident reminder? 

What happened and how it happened to me are the minor details.  Anyone who has been assaulted has a story, the response is different, and perhaps even the healing is different, but we all are the same in that we “earned” a new title, victim.

Once the numbness wore off, I did speak about it.  I had to.  There was no way of hiding it.  I was angry at myself for not being stronger and not holding it together better.  One common thread that kept coming back to me was I needed to speak to someone.  I finally made an appointment more so to appease everyone else.  I had one session, and it was brutal.  I remember driving home after it was over thinking, I can’t go through that again, and I didn’t.  

I had started running about a month before the attack but now it became my passion.  I can’t explain the peace of mind I got to blasting “California Love” and “Lose Yourself” into my earbuds as I pounded the ground with each step I took.  And then the unforeseen happened, I got good at it.  I felt like every time I went for a run, I was conquering little more of what was taken away from me, and perhaps a little of that is true but let’s be honest it was a distraction. 

Towards the middle of the summer my knee started hurting, but it wasn’t too bad, so I ran through the pain. In late July a week before my next race, I drove up to a new trail to run as I was getting bored on the one I had been on for weeks.  I was only a quarter way down, when the pain shot through me like electricity.   I fell to the ground, and I could barely catch my breath.  The acute pain was so severe I did not know if I would be able to even make it back to my car on my own.   Long story short I was out for running for 8 weeks.  Eight long weeks of idle time was not good for me.  Too much time on my hands, to much time to think. 

Write Margot, you love to write, I thought.  It had been a while since I had written anything, and I was not sure I wanted to open Pandora’s Box. What would I uncover that I buried down?  What I found was something unexpected but what I have learned is priceless.  I always had this belief if you put enough goodness out in the world you would get it back.  Not that I thought I would be immune to bad things happening, but I had my ass kicked for the past few years and I felt jaded.  In the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot of running and writing.  Sorting out the good from the bad.  I am taking some time to take inventory in the good I have in my life (and there is good).  I am also a big believer that every experience, every moment happens for a reason.  It has opened my eyes to a new perspective on me.  While I had to break myself down a couple of times this year, the rebuilding of Margot is what excites me now.  Now its time for me to kick some ass.

Quick facts on assault in the United States

  • Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center)
  • Every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN)
  • 1 out of every 3 women experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during her lifetime ( National Center for Injury Prevention and ControlDivision of Violence Prevention)

Congratulations Supreme Court

Today has been a very emotional day for many people, particularly if you are a woman in the United States. Before I get into the heart of what I want to say, I think we should all stop and congratulate all the people who believe that the overturn of Roe vs Wade was a good thing. How lucky you must be that you never personally felt the anguish and torment of having to decide whether or not to have an abortion. Better yet, how lucky you are that you knew no one else that was put in that particularly hard position, and you never had to show any empathy for that situation. Let’s not get this twisted, abortion is always a choice, it’s just never an easy one.

if-i-could-choose-an-amendment-to-add-to-the-9485608According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the national rape-related pregnancy rate is approximately 5% per rape among women aged 12–45 years, or approximately 32,000 pregnancies resulting from rape each year. So, are we ready to disregard 32,000 pregnancies because it’s such a “small” number? Who cares about them? Keep in mind this is just the
number for rape, it does not include incestual encounters. What I also find
even more troubling is that these women who have been through no doubt a
traumatic situation are now guilty because they did not “take care”
of the situation right away. Why are we expecting women who have been
assaulted, abused and invaded to now have the strength and wherewithal to
handle such a grave situation within 24-48 hours (DNC timeline)?

Of course, sexual assault is not the only way a woman is forced to face this difficult situation. Again, how lucky are those who never had to contemplate their life against the life of their own child. How lucky are those who never received the soul crushing news that their baby is dying within them, or “better” yet in pain inside the womb. I have only had successful pregnancies, and healthy children. I do not know what it must be like to hear the news that my child has Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 2 OI. I cannot imagine picturing my baby growing inside of me all the while their tiny bones breaking within me and feeling pain. However, even though I have never been in the situation I can feel for those women who have. While I will never fully understand the gravity of their pain, I can empathize with their situation.

I think the last situation is the one that angers me the most. The teenage pregnancy. Well, she asked for it. She wasn’t being careful. Now granted I am not sure what science class you took, but I do believe she wasn’t alone in getting pregnant. And yet she will be the one carrying the baby for 9 months. Perhaps if we put a tracker on every male so when a there is an unwanted pregnancy the male automatically is given a vasectomy. I mean if the girl is forced to live her life with decision she made, shouldn’t he? People are so
quick to talk about consequences. But living through that moment is that not a consequence in itself?

As I type this, we have yet to even have a peaceful conversation about gun violence within our schools due to the rights of those who get to “bear arms”, but my rights as a woman and my health have been jeopardize today. So, congratulations Supreme Court, while you have undoubtedly put women in the future into fragile, life-threatening situations, we can still send our kids to school hoping it will not get shot up.

Black and White, or Maybe It’s Gray


“Mommy what’s wrong?”

“Nothing sweetie.  Why?”

“I heard you go like this (heavy breath)”

“Oh, mommy was just frustrated on what she was hearing on the radio.”

“What?  What happened?”

 Ugh, how do I explain this to him.

“Remember how you learned in school about Dr. King and all the things that he did?  What do you remember from that?”

“He was a man who said he we are all the same in the inside even if we looked different on the outside.”

“Right.  What does the mean to you?”

“That you should be friends with everyone and be nice no matter what a person looks like.”

“Right.  Well besides the color of a person’s skin there are a lot of things that makes people different.  Some people speak different languages.  You know how you are learning Spanish and sign language in school, some people speak that way all the time.  There are different religions.  You know how we go to church and learn about God and Jesus.”

“Yes! Jesus just had his birthday at Christmas.”

“Right.  Some people believe different things.  Mommy’s best friend growing up was from Pakistan and she practiced a religion called Islam.”

“What makes her religion different?”

“Well actually there are a lot of similarities, but I guess one of the biggest differences is we believe Jesus was the son of God, whereas she believed he was not.”


“Am I confusing you?”

“Kind of.  What does it matter if they are different?”

“Well that’s the point it doesn’t matter if we are different.  People in our country speak different languages, practice different religions, and are from different places in the world.  However, there is one thing that can make people different that our country does not accept.”

“What’s that?”

“Umm, ok if I confuse you please stop me.  You know how mommy and daddy are married?”


“Well I didn’t always know daddy.  I didn’t meet him until I was 19 years old, but we became friends, we fell in love, and eventually got married.   However, I have always known grandma and grandpa and I have always loved them very much, but it’s a different kind of love, but it is love just the same. “


“Well there are people who say that some kinds of love are wrong and should not be permitted.”

“But if it’s love, how can that be wrong?”

“Liam, from your lips to God’s ears.”


“Never mind it’s a saying.  But you are right Liam and that is why mommy sighed.  She is sad that our country is trying to tell some people that their love is wrong?”

“And then they couldn’t get married!?!?!  Mommy I love weddings.”


“I know you do. I want you to remember something, just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  Just because it might not be in your beliefs it doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be allowed to do it.  Growing up sometimes mommy would have what I like to call healthy debates with grandma and grandpa.  Sometimes I learned something and it made me think about it in a different way, but sometimes I just didn’t agree with them.  Do you know what grandma and grandpa did?”

“No what?”

“Nothing.  They never told me I was wrong.  They never told me to change my mind.  I never got in trouble for it.  They let me form my own opinion.  Sometimes we agreed, sometimes we didn’t.   I want you to remember that too.  You are allowed to think and believe whatever you like as long as you are not hurting anyone else. Capeesh?”

“Capeesh.  Mommy?”

“Yes Liam.”

“Can you put on “Uptown Girl?”

“Yes Liam.”

10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

I know a few women right now who are pregnant.  It is such an exciting time for them.  I think back to that time and smile.  However, I also do remember the incredible things people eCard_twins-300x210said to me.  At the time it took everything in my power to not either be offended, cry, yell or do all three.  Now when I think about it, I think people were actually trying to either help or show interest, but it just came out the wrong way.  With that said I came up with my “favorite” 10 things people said to me when I was pregnant.

  1. Are you afraid your cats are going to smother your baby in its sleep?

Well, I am now!   In all honesty Ringo twice jumped into the crib at the same time Liam was in there and the one time he jumped right back out.  The second time he curled up and went to sleep.  I am probably going to get blasted for this, but I thought it was so cute I took a few pictures of it.  I then removed Ringo from the crib.  He never did it again.

  1. Wow, you are huge. I can’t believe you still have another 2 months to go.

Thanks for reminding me on how big and uncomfortable I am.  Also I appreciate you pointing out that I still have another 60 days of this in which I will inevitably get larger and more uncomfortable.

    8.  You look awful! Are you ok?

No, no I am not ok.  I have not been able to hold anything down for 5 months.  I spend most of my time hanging over a toilet bowl.   But thank you for confirming what I feared.  I look as bad as I feel.

  1. Why are you going back to work? Surely you can afford to stay home?

Well, I am so glad you have an insight on my family’s finances and what we can afford.  The truth is yes I need to go back and furthermore, I want to go back to work.

  1. It’s about time

I waited for almost five years after getting married to have a baby.  For the first two years after I got married people were constantly asking me when we were going to have a baby.  Every time I was sick or had a headache someone asked if I was pregnant.  When I finally was pregnant I had one woman say to me, “It’s about time.”

  1. You know breastfeeding is better, right? No judgment.

Umm, that sounds like judgment to me.  It always made people slightly uncomfortable when I told them I had postpartum depression after Liam, so with Ava it was suggested that I try to take some things off the table that gave me stress in my last pregnancy.  Breastfeeding had been a huge issue for me.  Still I had one person say to me, “Well you could at least try.”

  1. Did you plan it?

I was always taken aback by the number of people who were basically asking me, were we not being careful and are now having an unplanned pregnancy.  I got this only once with Liam, but several people asked me when I was pregnant with Ava.  I feel bad for the one person who had asked me, as they got me on a particularly raw day and I snapped back, “No it wasn’t planned, thank you for reminding me.”  (Of course that wasn’t true, but I was tired of hearing it)

  1. Two babies under two. How are you going to manage it?  What were you thinking?

Well for starters I was thinking people weren’t going to be so rude, but the truth is I wanted my kids close together.  I didn’t want to get through the sleepless night, diapers, and whatnot and then start all over again.  I figured we were already in the trenches let’s just plow through it.  I am not going to lie it was really, really hard in the beginning, but I am so glad we did.  Liam and Ava are very close.

  1. Enjoy your sleep now because when the baby comes you won’t be getting any?

Alright first of all who is sleeping at 9 months pregnant?  Really?!  Between the back aches, the impossibility to find a comfortable spot, and every ten minutes you feel like you have to pee, sleeping is not happening.  Also, the idea that you can stock pile sleep so when the baby comes it will help you, blows my mind.

  1. How much weight did you gain?  I only gained 15lbs.  Did your doctor say you are ok?  How are going to lose all the weight?

I mean, I am not sure which one to hit first.  If asking a woman what her weight is not acceptable, why would you think its ok to do so when she is pregnant?  Good for you and you 15lb weight gain.  I hate you, but good for you.  I plan to lose the weight on a strict diet of never sleeping or eating or what some would call being a parent.  The truth is each time I had to work hard to lose the weight.  It didn’t just fall off for me, but no pain no gain.

Good luck mommas.  Don’t let it get to you and if you can laugh it off.

Bathroom wars

A few weeks ago I had an afternoon that was just with my son. After finishing our lunch in the food court I decided I needed to use the restroom before we moved on to our next destination.  I was pretty familiar with this mall, however it was apparent that they had just recently done renovations.  In the past there used to be a family bathroom, which I never used to give much thought to, but now as a mother I find it a necessity.  To my surprise however in the renovations done to the bathrooms the family bathroom was no longer there.  I had a fleeting moment of, “What’s too old to bring your son in the woman’s bathroom?” but quickly pushed it out as I was completely uncomfortable with the thought of Liam waiting outside the bathroom for me.  This mall in general was very popular with high foot traffic and this was lunch time so it was even busier.

1401x788-42-25816125I held Liam’s hand as we entered the ladies bathroom and there was a line.  He was excited I had just bought him a balloon shaped like Spiderman so he was completely engaged with that.  I heard a woman say, “Oh you are one of those,” but I didn’t really pay much attention at the time as I didn’t think it was directed to me.  A stall emptied and I brought Liam in.  At home we had instilled a privacy rule as Liam and Ava had been notorious for busting in on anyone who was in the bathroom.  Liam closed his eyes without me saying a word (to be quite honest I hadn’t given it much thought), and he said, “Mommy I am giving you privacy.”  I smiled and thought how considerate that was.  I quickly went and then we left the stall.  I directed Liam over to the sinks to wash my hands and that’s when it happened.

A woman came up to me and said, “So you are one of those.”  Completely dumbfounded by what she was talking about I said “One of who?”  She replied back, “Making a political statement by bringing your son into the opposite sex’s bathroom.”

In split seconds I felt like my whole body was on fire.  I was so angry I felt like I was shaking.  I must have given off some impressions because Liam asked, “Mommy are you ok?”

I don’t often get like that, but when I do I rarely hold back, and this case was no different.  “If by one of those you mean, a mother who would do or say anything to protect her five year old child, then yes I am one of those.  I have no political agenda I am trying to make, except being a good mother.  And by the way, if I had left my son outside to wait for me, I bet you anything you would be the first one to say, where’s his parent?  How dare you!”

I was so flustered, angered, and oddly mortified I grabbed Liam’s hand and stormed out of the bathroom.  It wasn’t until we got to the car and Liam asked me, “Mommy did I so something wrong,” that I realized he didn’t understand what was going on.  As I placed him in his car seat I tried to explain to him what had happened and he had done nothing wrong.  Just as I was backing out of the parking spot he said to me, “But mommy I don’t get it.  If the rooms (he called the stalls rooms) have doors why does it matter.  At home we all use the same bathroom and we shut the door.  How is it different?”

And while I again I am not trying to make any political statement in this entry, Liam does have a point.  I struggled to come up with an answer and yet nothing in my mind sufficed.  I think either side of this whole bathroom wars would have a response to his question, but me I am just mom.  I am just looking out for what’s best for him and always will.

Abstaining The Loudest Voice Of All

“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.” – Confucius

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” – Francis Bacon

The discussion of politics makes me very uncomfortable.  People always have a strong feelings about it (as they should).  However, since this year is an election year those strong feelings have turned from heated debates, to downright contempt.  There are no longer discussions, but yelling matches and no one is really listening to what the other side is saying.

Debates once was a time to showcase your true beliefs and platform, have now become the match of who can avoid a questions more, yell louder, deflect an answer, and name calling.  It quite frankly plays out like a classroom brawl, where the teacher never gets any answers, and at times has no control of the classroom.

Growing up I had always heard voting is making your voice being heard.  It was a right that should be valued and not disregarded easily.  I was lucky I turned 18 in an election year and was able to cast my very first ballot.  It was very exciting to me.  This year however I feel very different.  Honestly, to say I dislike the candidates would be an understatement.  They all scare me for very different reasons and it is for that reason that this year I have decided not to vote.  I have heard people say things like, vote for the lesser of two evils, but that doesn’t make much sense to me.  In my mind that’s like saying would you like a stomach flu for four days or five days?  In the end they both are really bad, and by day four you are probably already dehydrated, so what’s another day?  On top of the fact that I really am not sure who is the lesser of two evils.  Of course this is my opinion and in time when instead of listening and respecting other opinions even if they do not align with ours, we ridicule and tear people down.

Ot5ed3330312339403ebfc15f938eed0fahers would argue if I do not vote then I have no right to complain about the outcome or what happens thereafter.  But isn’t abstaining at times a much louder voice then saying anything at all?  Sometimes being quiet can speak volumes among all of the rancor around you.  I am sure I will be in the minority of not voting, but imagine what message it would send if this year’s poll turnout was a record low?  “Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”  – Abraham Lincoln

8d09dcbe2da8dd63907857971bd84ecbWhen I first came to this consensus in my mind I thought I might be the only one thinking this way.  However, in the last several months the memes that have infiltrated the internet have pointed out that I am not alone.  When I finally decided to write this blog entry and looked for graphics, my options were endless.  I was speaking with a girlfriend this past weekend in regards to this very topic.  She like me was very dissatisfied by our candidate options.  She posed an option that I wrestled with in my head for a while.  She mention that in November she might vote for one candidate purely for the fact that if he got in, he probably would not be able to get any of his initiatives to pass.  I had never thought of it that way and was intrigued by the idea.  Sadly, have we become a nation who votes for a candidate in pure hope that he will fail?

I think about Liam and Ava and what I hope for them in the future.  I hope for future elections we have stronger, more capable, experienced candidates.  I hope as a nation we no longer look to prize celebrity over intellect.  I hope as a nation we look for more moderate solutions instead of extremes.  I hope as nation we can be honest with ourselves and logically pick someone who really could make a profound effect on this nation in a positive way.  I hope…

Swiper the Fox

So for some time now my son has had a little nickname that we have given him of Swiper.  This derived from a character on Dora the Explorer who takes things from people.  Liam on a somewhat regular basis tries to swipe any lingering desserts on the table.  Ava has fell victim to this many times as she doesn’t eat them as quickly as he does.

A few nights ago in the madness of what I call dinnertime I was cleaning up in the kitchen when Liam said, ” Look Ava I am having the last bite of ice cream,” as he scooped up the last bite and put it in his mouth.  Irritated I slammed my hand down on the counter and yelled, “Liam!”  I couldn’t believe he did it again.  He stole Ava’s last bite of ice cream and was taunting her about it again.  Liam froze, his eyes bulging out at me.  He finally in a shaky voice replied, “Mommy this was my ice cream.”  Now I froze completely stunned.  I quickly replayed in my head the last five minutes of dinner and to my horror realized Ava had an ice pop and Liam had ice cream, he indeed did not steal her dessert.  Complete and utter remorse and self-deprecation washed over me.  At this point Liam’s lower lip was quivering and I felt horrible.  I quickly rushed to him and scooped him up in my lap.  I apologized profusely to him and tried to explain to him why I jumped to the conclusion I had.  As he calmed down in my arms a heavy albatross grew around my neck.

A little while later while Will and I were finishing cleaning up the kitchen I was discussing my plans for our garden and how we needed to go to Lowes the next day to pick up some materials.  Liam interjected into the conversation how he wanted to be with me tomorrow and just me for some mommy and Liam time.  My heart melted and I felt a little better about what had passed thinking that he had forgiven me.  Will and I quickly came up with an idea that when we got to Lowes we would split up, so Will would take Ava and I would take Liam to pick up the items.

The next day Liam, Ava, and I got in the car to meet Will at Lowes after he got out of school.  As we were pulling out of the driveway Liam said, “Now remember Ava you will go with daddy and I am going to go with mommy.”  Ava said, “No why don’t we all go together.”  Liam said, “No we can’t. I have to make mommy feel better about her mistake.” That is when my ears perked up.  Mistake, what mistake?  Today had been a relatively low conflict day.  “Liam what mistake did I make?” I asked.  “Remember yesterday mommy when you yelled at me because you thought I stole Ava’s dessert.  I knew you felt bad and you were hurting so I wanted to make it better.”

12305814_10208286065415264_490324964_nI could not believe what I was hearing.  For a moment I was completely shocked, but I had to shake myself out of that as we were driving down the road.  I was in awe on how insightful and thoughtful and empathetic Liam had been.  Even now as I type this out it astonishes me how forgiving and loving he was.  It’s unbelievable how sometimes the littlest actions, the simplest words can have the most profound impact.  Liam in that split second reminded me on how as wonderful and great, grand gestures are sometimes, it’s the purest, smallest moments that can have the lasting effect.




Blood On Our Hands

I don’t normally start out like this, but since I recently had a very unpleasant experience I have decided for this blog entry I would add the following disclaimer.

Disclaimer:  We all come from different walks of life and we all have our different views on things.  But if we can just take a moment to listen to the “opposing side” and truly listen to them, we might get further in our own path when we understand where the other side is coming from.  Different opinions are what makes the world go around.  We don’t have to agree with them, but we should respect them.

I grew up in a conservative home.  My father hunted.  He literally put food on the table.  He still does.  With that being said it’s quite apparent that he owns a gun.  As a child, teenager, adult, I never saw the guns just lying about.  My father when he had to clean it would be downstairs out of sight.  To this day I still do not know how to get into his locker where he keeps them.  My father was and still is the epitome of responsibility.  He understands the awesome power and responsibility that comes with owning a gun.  If all gun owners were like my father the epidemic that is running rapid in our nation would not exist.

Unfortunately, not all people are as responsible.  Not all people obtain their guns in a legal way.  Not all people understand the sheer magnitude of what owning a gun means.

I support the Second Amendment.  I believe that those who are capable, law abiding citizens, if they so chose should be able to own a gun. However, I do believe we need stricter laws in gun control.  I have been ridiculed in the past saying that if I believe this way then I do not support the Second Amendment.  I am not sure when it happened, but our nation has become an all or nothing nation.  If you are liberal you have to be 100% liberal with no wavering conservative views. If you do, you are a traitor.  If you are conservative, but you don’t believe in the death penalty, you are an idiot and discounted as a conservative.  Just because you support something does not mean that you don’t see the possibility for change.  I support the Second Amendment, but it needs to be revised.

Our forefathers when they wrote the Constitution wrote it based on the world they knew at the time.   Schools, churches, movie theaters (didn’t even exist) had never been shot up.  Slavery was not illegal.  Mind you the thirteenth amendment (Abolishes slavery) did not occur until 1865.  Yet when the conversation comes up in regards to gun control somehow all extremes come out to play and the life that has already been taken from our world no longer matters.
A month ago I was at a holiday party at a friend’s house with my husband.  The host said to me in conversation regarding this, “If Newtown did not change anything, nothing will.”  At the time I nodded my head and agreed with him.  However, in the past several weeks that statement has ecNewtown--Sandy-Hook-memorial-2-jpghoed in my head.  If killing 20 children at the mere age of 6 and 7 and 6 adults did not get our nation to do anything, nothing will.  At this point we are all guilty.  We all have blood on our hands.  Each and every shooting that occurs in which we made no attempt to change it, is our fault too.

I am not ignorant in thinking that if we pass some stricter gun laws our problems would be solved and there would be no more shootings.  Of course there would still be the outliers.  Just like there are outliers in other illegal activity.  We have laws against stealing, many of us have home security, but that doesn’t stop some to attempt robbery.  But it does deter many.

Recently legislation has been placed to undo “No Child Left Behind”.  It was an education debacle for the simple fact that not every child is the same.  Not every child learns the same way, will achieve the same heights, and go the same path.  In a similar regard not every person is emotionally and mentally capable of pulling a trigger.  I am not even touching those who are mentally or emotionally impaired.  I am talking about the average Joe or me, who in the moment of crisis would not effectively be able to load, point, or shoot a gun.  It’s just not in me to do.  However, somehow the answer to this gun epidemic, is guns for everyone.  This mentality of a one size fits all, lays the burden on the innocent while the criminals can have their free for all.

My son will start Kindergarten in the fall.  I have many mixed emotions about this.  I am excited, happy, sad (where did my baby go?).  I have one more emotion that I have yet to express to anyone.  Not even my husband.  Fear.  I am not so naive to think that where I live in rural suburbia the possibility of a school shooting could never happen.  And although I do not let this fear run my life it has quietly crept into my thoughts and dreams when I have a least expected it.   It’s funny (not really) my parents would have never dreamed to have that kind of worry when I went to school.   And yet somehow we have accepted the fact that our kindergartens not only should learn fire drills, but also lock down drills in case of a shooting.  We have accepted this.  We have changed our lives because of this, and yet we refuse to change our laws.

You might not agree with me.  You might not like my opinion.  I am not asking you to.  But the next time you hear about the latest shooting (because it will happen again) ask yourself this, in what other problematic issue out there today; the solution is to add more fuel to the fire?

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him”  Lady MacBeth ~MacBeth



I’m Not Lucky

I was talking to a mother the other day about bedtimes and how my kids go to bed without a fuss.  She said to me, “You are so lucky.”  Later on that day I started to think about our conversation and how “lucky” I was.  That is when I came to the conclusion, I’m not lucky.  It was not by some random stroke of luck that this occurs.  I didn’t pick some numbers and win the lottery.  As I have written in the past one of the things my husband and I decided early on was that we would dictate bedtimes, schedules, etc., not the children.  It is not by luck at all that my kids go to bed without a fight.

In any schedule, rule, or manner, that we wanted our children to maintain it took a lot of patience, time, and sometimes tears to accomplish it.  It was hard at times and my husband and I sometimes would have to take turns to give the other person a break.  There were moments when one of us was on the brink of giving in.  I questioned myself and fought internally debating whether we were doing the right thing.  No there was no luck about it, it was work.

parenting LuckLike any good parent I have doubted myself in my methods, read numerous articles regarding whatever particular topic we were trying to hurdle, and surveyed other parents to get feedback on what they did.  I asked my pediatrician and read books on parenting.   No it was definitely not luck, it took a lot of studying and research.

I admit there were times that we headed down a path and realized it was not working.  We were not getting the results we wanted.  The kids were not responding in the way we thought they would.  We had to go back to square one, decide what we needed to tweak or change altogether, and start all over again.  I made my mistakes and I will continue to make them, but as the bumps come up we will iron them out.  No it was not luck, it was perseverance.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that it was not by some small miracle that my kids are acting in a way that you admire.  And believe me they do act up.  They are not perfect, my husband and I are not perfect, but it was not by luck they behave they way they do good and bad.  It was work and I am so proud of it.




The Brave New World

So today I became part of a heated debate.   I usually steer clear of these kinds of things on the internet, but today I couldn’t resist.   This morning I was flipping through Facebook and I saw an ad for an app in which you can install on your phone that can monitor your children’s activities on their cell phones. You can see your child’s text messages, social media sites, emails, etc.
I happen to click on the comments and this woman was making very condescending and judgmental comments.  She felt as if you couldn’t trust your children then they shouldn’t have a cell phone. And by snooping at what they were up to, you were destroying the trust you have between you and your child.  I actually agree with her too a certain extent.  I do believe if you can’t trust your children they should not have a cell phone.  I also agree with her that snooping does harm a relationship between parent and child and should be avoided.  However, if it was all that easy I do believe the teenage years would be the easiest time to raise a child.  Yet, that is not so.

The truth is a lot of children need phones.  It is not a want, but a necessity.  Children go off to school while the parent(s) go off to work.  After school the kids either go on to some activity or go home to an empty house, because mom and/or dad are not home yet.  The cell phone is one of the few ways a parent can easily and quickly get a hold of their child to know where they are, how they are doing, etc.

We would all like to think our children are going to be 100% open and honest with us, but reality is that is not so.  Whether it is not giving every detail about something, hiding the truth, or full out lying, some form of deception is being done.  Think about when you were a teenager; did you tell your parents everything?  Think about your own adult life.  I am sure there are things you keep to yourself.  Now is that bad thing, no.  Shouldn’t teenagers have that same respect applied to them? Yes.  Unfortunately, in today’s world it goes a little deeper than that.

Between the cyber bullying, the pressures of sex, drinking, and drugs our kids have a whole new world of problems to deal with that we didn’t have to.  Of course there was always the pressure to try something or do something illicit, however in today’s world the minute you do or don’t something, it is documented for the entire world to know until the end of time.  There is no getting around it, hiding from it, or denying it.  Kids will bully and torture other kids via text messages and all of the social media outlets.  It is devastating how kids can tear each other down and it is more disturbing at what lengths the victim will go to end it, including ending their own life.

While I do not want to know every little thing that goes on in Liam and Ava’s life, I am still their parent.  I need to look out for them and protect them to the best of my abilities.  It would be naive for me to sit here and think that Liam and Ava would always come to me if something upsetting in their lives were happening.  Teenagers by nature think they know it all and many times try to fix it.  Other times they are just too embarrassed or hurt to say anything.  While I do not think this app should be used as a 24 hour monitoring device for your child.  It would be most helpful to check in once in a while to make sure nothing detrimental is happening.  Of course like anything else this app needs to be used wisely and with discretion.

I will end with these few statistics.

“Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:

  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.
  • Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:

  • Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
  • 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
  • About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
  • Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying

The Cyberbullying Research Center also did a series of surveys that found these cyber bullying statistics:

  • Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly
  • Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying
  • Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims
  • Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls
  • Cyber bullying affects all races
  • Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide”