Author Archive

Rosie to the Rescue: The “Choice” To Work Or Not

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Rosie Pope

Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

I met a woman today who was beginning her last day of work. Her son had just turned 11 months old, and she had decided that her job just wasn’t flexible enough for the work-life balance she wanted with her child. So after almost a year of angst, she decided to take the leap and put her successful career on hold.

I know a lot of women, and increasingly more men, who have made this decision, often to their surprise, after going back to work once their babies were born. I thought for a moment about what it would be like to decide not to work any more and to stay home with my three babies.

And that’s when it hit me, surprisingly for the first time! I realized just how impossible that would be for me and, I imagine, for so many of you. I can just imagine walking into our HQ and into my husband’s office (yes, we work together), sitting on the couch, and saying, “Honey, today is my last day.” Aside from immediately pouring himself a stiff drink, he would also have to find my doppelganger—not an easy feat considering I may be the palest person to have ever walked the planet!

But in all seriousness, our company is still very much at the point where I need to continue working at it, and my kids rely on it for their livelihoods. If I am completely honest with myself, though, the lack of choice made me panic, and, in that moment, I felt more trapped than I have ever before. Until I remembered… I actually enjoy my job and feel so blessed to be able to do what I do. (Not to mention the look of complete panic on my husband’s face when I threw the idea around the office in jest!)

But what about all the men and women who don’t enjoy their jobs and can’t make the choice to stay home for financial or other reasons? I started to feel trapped and panicked for all of them. It is not that either staying at home or working is better; it is simply that we’d all hope to be able to make that choice for ourselves and our families freely and not because of reasons like dollars and cents.

I meet many moms and dads who struggle with this; yet, I am often humbled by the businesses these individuals have started that allow them to work from home, or the ingenious ways they have structured their schedules to try to fit everything in. It is important, though, to know this goes both ways: There are stay-at-home moms who want to go back to work, just as there are working moms who want to stay home. The sad truth is that the choice is just not always there.

While I’m not in the position to choose not to work, it is my goal that all my hard work will mean that my daughter and sons will be able to have the choice to work or not when they get to be parents themselves one day. Working in part for “choice” (because I love what I do) and in part for my children relieves my panic. Being able to make a change for the better and for those that you love is empowering, and so, perhaps for a moment, I’ll stop freaking out!

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Rosie to the Rescue: The Fight for Infertility Rights

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Rosie Pope in Washington, D.C.Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every week at Parents.com!

I went to Washington, D.C. last week as an advocate for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes reproductive health and equal access to family building options for those who are battling reproductive disorders. Infertility strips you of any feeling of power or control. Not knowing when or if you will be able to have children is completely debilitating, and 1 in 8 couples in the United States deal with some form of infertility. For me and the other advocates whose lives have been touched by infertility in some way, this trip was an opportunity to get a little power back.

To be able to walk the hallways of government buildings in D.C. and visit the men and women of our government was the most incredible experience. Having recently become an American citizen, it was thrilling to be able to exercise my rights under the First Amendment. And while there are still many injustices in the coverage of infertility for families throughout the United States, I was there to specifically support The Family Act of 2011 S. 965, a proposed tax credit for costs associated with infertility medical treatment, and to push for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover veterans whose injuries at war have resulted in their infertility. As it stands today, when veterans are injured in action and that injury causes infertility, their health insurance will not cover them in this regard. After putting their lives on the line to protect the freedom of us and our children, we then deny them the chance to have children themselves.

I find myself getting quite emotional writing this (and I am still shocked that I managed to hold it together while in Washington), but this is an important issue that needs to be recognized. I feel honored to have been amongst so many courageous and moral men and women fighting for fertility rights during my trip. In one sense, I felt enamored with the government system because of the fact that I, little old me, could make an appointment—or just show up at the different state offices—and present my case to anyone that would listen. But at the same time, I was also disheartened by the long battle ahead on behalf of the rights of Americans and our military heroes who want to have children. I am no stranger to budgeting problems, and the money to fund the effects of this act is going to have to come from somewhere.

While there is still much left to be done to bring light and awareness to this issue, the chance to instill my passion and educate people with the power to make a change was an amazing opportunity. I hope that when my daughter and her friends want to have children, for the 1 in 8 of them that may be affected by infertility concerns, they won’t have to think twice about whether their health insurance will cover them for their infertility treatment. After all, it is hard enough to struggle through infertility, but to layer on financial hardship or be unable to afford treatment is something that no family in our modern society should go through.

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All I Really Want for Mother’s Day Is…

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

mother's day ecard minivanThis post is by Julianna W. Miner, who writes the blog Rants from Mommyland (recently named The Blog Most Likely to Make you Laugh by Parents Magazine). She has three kids, a long-suffering husband, a very naughty dog and a geriatric, ill-tempered cat. In addition to blogging, she teaches at a college she couldn’t have gotten into because she made bad choices in high school.

I love Mother’s Day, but I’m somewhat confused by it. I think it’s like New Year’s Eve; a combination of high expectations and inevitable disappointment. It always feels like there’s some ideal that only specials get to experience. I’m a regular, so it doesn’t happen to me.

I feel kind of stupid and whiny complaining about Mother’s Day. It’s not like my husband and kids ever got it wrong, per se. Or that I had really high expectations. Mostly I just wanted to sleep. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET ME SLEEP. But then someone would always get an ear infection. And I would forget to go to the grocery store the day before so my “special” breakfast would be comprised of an old Capri Sun and a crumbly granola bar fished out of the bottom of a school bag.

But here’s the problem: what I really wanted, they couldn’t give me. Because the only people who truly understood what I needed to hear on Mother’s Day were other moms. They get it. I needed someone to look at me and say: “Remember that time you showed up at preschool and you hadn’t slept all night and there was a booger stain on your shoulder and you were counting the minutes until you got back to your empty house so you could shower and possibly take a nap? But your kid was upset and needed you to stay and so you did? THAT WAS AWESOME OF YOU. High five.”

I needed someone to tell me that even though sometimes I yelled at my kids or let them watch too much TV, that I was still doing a good job. That making mistakes is part of it. That waking up every day and trying as hard as you can to be the best person you can be is enough. That you fall short. But you get up and start over. And that is what makes you a good mom. Not being perfect. Not being a person who never messes up. With the notable exception of Gwyneth Paltrow, those people don’t exist. Those imaginary perfect moms are like the idealized New Year’s Eve or the “Pretty In Pink” prom moment that none of us actually got.

Realizing all that made me feel better. It also gave me some much-needed perspective. I have a family who tries to make Mother’s Day special for me every year. I have friends who get it and who love me, even though I’m a big weirdo. I began thinking about all of the moms who have nothing. Who work twice as hard as I do with half the resources to support them. I began thinking about the women who struggled to provide a home for their kids. Or who were brave enough to leave bad situations to make a better life for their families. For those women, Mother’s Day is just another Sunday. Another day struggling and living in need.

What better way to acknowledge Mother’s Day (and give thanks for my own blessings) than to honor moms living in homeless and domestic violence shelters? So that’s what I decided to do. I enlisted my friends Courtney and Christine from Naughty Betty (the world’s most amazing gift and greeting card company) and together we designed a bunch of hilarious Mother’s Day eCards for the Real World. Then we found a sponsor. The folks from Sweet Relish.com stepped up and offered to donate up to $10,000 to Shelter House (an organization that helps families struggling with homelessness and domestic violence).

So here’s how you can help moms in need this mother’s day: check out our eCards, and if you like them, share them! The more they’re shared across the internet, the more money Sweet Relish will donate. We think the cards are pretty awesome on their own, but if you factor that they’re going help families who need it, we think they could go viral.


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Pregnant Woman Casts Vote Before Giving Birth

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Ballot

How far would you go to cast your vote?

One woman in Illinois, mom-to-be Galicia Malone, cast her vote this morning despite having contractions five minutes apart. According to NBC Chicago, the 21-year-old arrived at the polls for her first presidential election at 8:30 am, even though her water had already broken. She then gave birth at a local hospital.

Chicago’s Cook County Clerk, David Orr, commended Malone for her effort: “If only all voters showed such determination to vote. What a terrific example she is showing for the next generation, especially her new son or daughter.”

Image: Ballot at the Polling Station via Shutterstock

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Create a Healthy Home

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Dancing With the Stars host and mother of four, Brooke Burke, shares her tips for raising health-conscious kids:

1. Be a Role Model

“The best thing I can do for my children is to lead by example,” says Brooke. Carve out time each week to be active and opt for nutritious choices when planning meals. Doing so will show your kids that health is a priority.

2. Get Everyone Involved

Share the task of creating a healthy home by getting your youngsters involved. For big kids, ask for help with the grocery shopping or meal prep each week. For younger ones, try Brooke’s tip: “My children use a Brita for Kids Water Bottle that has a built-in filter. I make it their responsibility to refill their bottles throughout the day to stay hydrated.”

3. Stock Up

Provide your kids with the right choices by having a kitchen filled with wholesome foods. “I keep a snack bag handy filled with popcorn, dried seaweed, and nuts,” says Brooke.”Plus, I make sure to have a pitcher of water on the table at all times so my children aren’t tempted to reach for sugary substitutes when thirsty,” says Brooke.

Photo Credit: Brooke Burke-Charvet teamed up with Brita and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to encourage kids at a Pasadena elementary school to drink more water and fewer sugary drinks on October 17, 2012.

 

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Q&A With Author Dan Bucatinsky

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Dan Bucatinsky bears all in his new book, Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?, which hit bookstores today. With hilarious quotes, like “Daddy, smell my fingers,” this soul-bearing memoir recounts his journey through parenthood with his partner, Don, and their two children, Eliza and Jonah. We talked to Dan to get his perspective on the ever-evolving image of the “modern family.”

Q: The modern day family comes in so many different forms. How has the perception of family changed in recent years?

Images in the media, art, literature, and pop culture (especially in shows like “Modern Family”) resonate with everyone and bring us all closer. It takes knowing a different kind of family to be able to love a different kind of family. The media has helped people get to know us in a way we weren’t known before – and help teach that family is family no matter what form it comes in.

Q: What is your parenting approach when raising your two kids?

I fight the impulse to make it about me. I try to let them be their own individuals because I really want them to know I’m proud of who they ARE rather than what they DO (which isn’t to say I don’t cry every time I see that proud little smile on their faces when they feel accomplishment). And I don’t let them eat in the car.  That one is about me.  I’m tired of scraping squished raisins off leather.

Q: Why was it important to you to write a book about your experience as a gay parent?

I wanted to put something out there we would’ve found useful when Don and I started our parenthood journey — something honest and personal and funny.

Q: In what ways do your children benefit from being raised in an unconventional family setting?

Two gay men to dress you in the morning? That’s a guarantee you’re always going to match! Kidding aside, the terrifying act of speaking the words, “I’m gay,” forever changes a person. I can only imagine the value that adds to children raised by parents who have experienced that level of courage and honesty.

Q: What are the biggest misconceptions individuals have of raising a child with two fathers or two mothers?

That one parent is always the ‘mommy’ and one is the ‘daddy.’ I find that while we gravitate to certain roles and strengths as parents, each of us take on both roles at different times.

Q: Have you and your children discussed the best ways to handle criticism from their peers? What go-to responses or approaches do you recommend?

We have been fortunate to live in Los Angeles, a city where we aren’t made to feel out of the ordinary. On the rare occasion when the kids are asked where their mommy is, they have always been encouraged to take a matter-of-fact approach: “I have two parents. Mine are both dads.” 

Q: And we must know, what has been your most embarrassing parenting moment to date?

I did a pretty awesome shake-your-bootie dance for the kids over breakfast one morning, and then they told their teachers about it. What happened to the rule, “What happens at the breakfast table STAYS at the breakfast table?!” When I saw the teachers in the schoolyard, they made me do it for them. I didn’t have a choice so I did the dance. Mortifying.

And now… some fill in the blank fun:

The parenthood moment you’re dreading the most is dealing with my kids’ heartache of any kind, the cruelty of other kids towards them, bailing them out of jail, or explaining why they can’t get a tattoo. I guess I’m dreading a lot.

The most original punishment I’ve used before is once they weren’t behaving in the car because they wanted me to turn on the radio. Rather than turn on the radio, I forced them to listen to me sing “Tomorrow” from Annie over and over again. It worked like a charm.

Once I let the kids drink Diet Coke. Big mistake. Now they want it all the time. I say ‘no,’ but my husband allows a sip here and there. It’s a constant battle.

I hate to admit it, but I know every word to the opening theme of “The Backyardigans” and “Little Einsteins.” My favorite tune to hum is the theme music to “Charlie & Lola.”

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Q&A With Author Jenny Lawson

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The popular mom blogger Jenny Lawson, self-dubbed “The Bloggess” (more on that later), released her first book yesterday, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The novel shares hilarious, “mostly true” anecdotes from her, er, unusual upbringing. We talked to Jenny about being a mother, a blogger, and surviving her weird childhood.

Let’s start at the beginning. What was your childhood like?

My childhood was “violently unorthodox,” as I like to call it. My dad was a taxidermist, so I had some interesting childhood “pets” growing up. From the outside looking in, people might think it was a struggle. We were quite poor, and my family was odd, but overall I’d say it was great. Despite the quirks, I was loved and accepted for who I was.

How does that lesson translate in your book?

I’ve embraced my weirdness, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened shares stories about my life in an informal, fun, and irreverent manner. After all, diversity is what makes the world go around and that includes the need for a lot of bafflingly strange people in the world. I’m happy to be one of those people.

When using your own life as the fodder for your first novel, did you worry what family or friends might think?

My friends and family aren’t easily thrown.  My parents enjoyed the book, and all my close relatives and in-laws have either read it or have vowed not to read it to preserve their idea of me. I have a strong family who supports one another no matter what.  That’s sort of the main theme of the book, and it’s one that stands true in my life, as well.

Did you always hope to be a published author?

Growing up, I wanted to be a cowgirl ballerina. Or a writer. But I wasn’t thin enough to be a cowgirl ballerina, so I started writing instead.

Your blog, The Bloggess, is wildly popular. How did you come up with that name?

“Blogess” is  just the feminine of “blogger.” Think about it: Actor/actress, mister/mistress, blogger/bloggess, jogger/joggess. Although, those last two never quite caught on…

What does your daughter, Hailey, think about your blog?

Hailey is not allowed to read my blog because it’s a bit too cursey for a seven-year-old, but she desperately wants a blog of her own–she even makes these long video blogs that she wants to post on the Internet.

So then is Hailey the next “Bloggess” to be?

I’ve told her that she needs to wait until she’s at least sixteen before posting her video blogs to make sure that’s what she really wants.  Kids today live in a tech-savvy world we could never imagine, and I’d hate for those to haunt her when she’s a teenager.  Kids can be cruel, and stuff on the Internet never goes away.

Has your own childhood influenced the choices you’ve made in raising your daughter?

My family chose their own road with no regard to what others thought, and I think that made my life incredibly special. I’m trying to do the same thing for my daughter. Hopefully, she’ll appreciate it one day the way I appreciate it now.  Or we’ll spend a lot of time together in therapy.  Either way, the key here is that it’ll be time spent together.

What do you two do to spend time together now? 

We play a lot of Monster High–it’s like Barbies, except with zombies.  We also have a lot of “girl talk.”  That was Hailey’s idea when she was little, and it’s now one of the best parts of my day.

 

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Kick Back with the Kids

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Picture this:  A relaxing start to the holidays with you and the kiddies curled up on the couch with cups of hot cocoa watching…. Hmm…. Not that again!

Keep the kids entertained and beat winter break boredom with a new selection from Netflix called “Just for Kids.” The channel offers family-friendly viewing of kid’s content geared for ages 12 and under.  The section is organized by category—superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs, and more—or you can search by clicking on your favorite character, like Elmo or Dora, to find a selection of TV shows and movies featuring that character.

“Just for Kids” is currently available on PC, Mac, and Wii and will be coming soon to other platforms. With unlimited streaming memberships starting at $8 a month, a Netflix subscription may just be the perfect stocking stuffer for your kid.

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