Marriage, Kids and Happiness: Changing the Statistics

Are you married with kids? Are you married and considering having kids? Do you want to be married with kids some day? If so, this post is for you. There are some startling statistics concerning marriage and happiness in couples who have kids, and we need to work hard to change them. Here is the link to my Thursday post for the Greeley Moms–please share it if you like it!

 

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/11065425-113/kids-married-couples-spouse

 

In other news, we just found out we can lease back our house from the buyers until our new house is completed in the fall. This means no more packing and planning to move twice like we thought, and this also means regular blogging and WordPress reading can begin next week! Thanks for reading as always, especially since I’ve been so terrible at reading and commenting in the past two months.

Open Ocean Sailing With Young Children: What Do You Think?

Would you cross the Pacific with young children in tow? Were these parents living the dream or putting their children in unnecessary danger? Here is this week’s blog post for the Greeley Moms–thanks for reading and sharing if you choose! 

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10970392-113/parents-boat-diapers-family

 

Don’t Discount Public Schools

Whatever type of education you choose for your child, it is your choice. I support you! If public schools are an option, I’d encourage you to give them a second look. Here’s this week’s post for the Greeley Tribune:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10866886-113/public-child-schools-choice

Thanks for reading and sharing if you choose.

In other news, we listed and accepted a contract on our house last week! A month of prepping the house and cleaning up after two toddlers has left blogging on the very bottom of my to-do list. Now that we are under contract, though, I have some time to do more than paint trim and organized closets. Watch for a Mama’s Heart on Fire post soon. I have been AWOL on reading and commenting on all of your fabulous blogs, and I am so sorry. I will do my best to play catch up. I’ve missed my WordPress friends!

Kicking Out the Kardashians

The latest Vogue cover featuring Kim, Kanye and North has me thinking…when will the Kardashians ever go away? Why did our society allow them to become famous in the first place?

For a family of little talent who set off a reality television craze in our country, you’d think their 15 minutes of fame would have been over a few years ago.

Why is it that they are SO popular in America? Are we really a country of brainless zombies who think we want to be like these people? They don’t seem overly charitable or generous, and I’m not seeing any kind of motivation or drive (except when it comes to seeking fame) that I’d like to emulate one day. I especially don’t want my daughters to think of any of them as role models.

I admit (although begrudgingly) that I watched a *few* episodes of E’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” in its first seasons. Ok, maybe it was every episode. I was young and stupid—please don’t judge me.

It was kind of like a train wreck: so shocking and painful that I couldn’t turn my eyes away. I know it’s a lame excuse, but it’s true. They don’t have much of a filter when it comes to appropriate conversations with each other, and the obsession with clothing and make-up and style takes over their lives.

I admit: I played a part in helping them rise to fame by boosting their ratings every week. Now I’m working hard to help undo this Kardashian-monster I had a part in creating.

Once my girls came two years ago, I realized if I wanted the Kardashians to go away before my girls were paying attention to popular culture, I needed to do my part and turn off my television when an episode was airing. I decided to stop giving them any ratings from the DeBusk household.

I sneakily tuned in a few weeks ago when I was at the gym (someone else had surely been watching it earlier, so I couldn’t have been boosting their ratings by tuning back in, right?), and I caught a clip that was brazen enough to make me flip the channel and stick by my earlier Kardashian boycott.

It was an episode when Kim was preparing for the birth of North (there’s another reason not to watch the show—who names a baby North West?), and she talked about having her “glam squad” on standby for the weeks leading up to her birth. She decided she didn’t want her baby to see her mother for the first time without full makeup and hair done.

Moms, how many of you had your “glam squad” prep you before your newborn baby saw you for the first time? Can a person be any farther disconnected with reality than wanting their newborn to see them in full makeup and eyelashes? Why do they call it reality tv?

This is absolutely not the way I want my daughters to be. I want my girls to be down-to-earth enough to realize the relationship between a mama and newborn baby is absolutely magical and has nothing whatsoever to do with makeup or perfect hair. I want them to know what is appropriate conversation to have in public, and I want them to realize that 15 minutes of fame is not all it’s cracked up to be (see my post about ABC’s The Bachelor). I want my girls to have a talent, a job and work ethic. I want my girls to define success by more than a photoshoot in a big magazine. I want my girls to give their children more respectable names than North West.

Kim, Kanye and the rest of the Kardashian clan, I’m sick of you and your family. Please, please give us all a break and fly under the radar for a while. And if any of you tune in to their horrid reality television (no judgement here) or want to buy a magazine filled with their photos and gossip, think twice about whether you really want to support the Kardashian craziness any longer. Our country and kids deserve better role models.

My post originally appeared on the Greeley Tribune at the following link:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10781000-113/girls-baby-fame-Kardashian

 

 

Photoshopped Ads Blur More than Thighs

An interesting headline caught my eye this week because it pertains to the heart of our perceptions of beauty and to the minds of impressionable young girls.

Target ran a junior swimsuit ad with a model whose image was poorly photoshopped. Her rib cage and arm looked pieced together, and her thighs and swimsuit bottom had clearly been altered to make her appear thinner. (See the ad here.)

To make matters worse, when Target issued an apology for the poor photo editing, there was no mention of why they felt it necessary to alter the body of this beautiful teenage model initially or how they may be contributing to a culture-wide problem of teenagers and women who are chasing after unattainable perfection.

When is enough enough? When will we step up and demand for the marketing aimed at our daughters (and ourselves) to reflect reality? Are these models not thin enough? Are their thighs really not spaced far enough apart?

As a mother of two daughters who has struggled with body image issues in the past, I think it’s absolutely disgusting that retailers are altering beautiful young girls and in turn leaving normal girls feeling like something must be wrong with their bodies because they don’t match the glossy advertisements.

I’m aware it happens in women’s advertising and publications, but I feel like as an adult I finally am secure enough in who I am, imperfections and all, to be able to flip through a magazine without staring at the shape and size of the models featured and longing to change my body. As a teenager, though, I am certain I would have spent time comparing myself to swimsuit models like the one in the Target ad and feeling bad about myself at the end of it all.

Teenage girls are learning, growing, blossoming and delicate. No matter what shape or size their body takes, they need the confidence to love themselves and see their own value and worth.

Our society, retailers and publishers included, owe it to these young women to help them navigate through the challenges that come with defining beauty; however, I’m not content to stand by and wait for some huge movement which might never occur. I’m determined to do what I can to protect the hearts and minds of my girls.

I can empower my girls to believe in their own beauty and recognize false advertising for what it is.

I can laugh at crooked arms and creepy thigh gaps in botched photoshopped pictures so I can show my daughters what really happens to pictures before they are published for us to see.

I can support brave retailers who step up and refuse to alter the bodies of their models.

I can show my support to celebrities who share non-photoshopped images with the public so we can see what is really happening after the women leave the studio.

I can read and share articles like fellow Greeley Moms blogger Jaymi’s post on true beauty.

I can show my daughters how to love and accept an imperfect body by taking care of myself and saying no to unnecessary cosmetic procedures.

I can open up discussion about the moral obligation retailers and magazines have to help our young girls have a healthy body image, but I won’t rely on them to make that happen.

Our daughters are depending on us to fight for them, and I hope you’ll join me.

Here is this the original link for my post for the Greeley Moms:

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/10691542-113/girls-body-daughters-beauty

Moms: Go Ahead, Use the “h” Word

Hang on to your pony tails, friends. This mama needs to preach.

A week ago, I came across a blog post entitled, “Stop Saying Being a Mom is Hard” which was shared on Facebook. As a mom who has blogged frequently about why it’s not only ok but healthy to be honest as a mom about your struggles and failures, I was intrigued by the title. I clicked on the link and hoped, desperately, that the title was simply a writer’s trick to lure you into a post in which she gave permission to all moms to be honest.

Not quite.

The author laid out a very beautifully written argument about how motherhood isn’t easy, how it’s all about working diligently for your children and your family and how we mothers need to focus on the blessings and not allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut of negativity. She also encouraged moms to pray and reach out to friends. I really loved 98 percent of her article and would have shared it with my friends if it wasn’t for the little 2 percent in which she said we mothers should stop saying being a mom is hard.

I read through the comments looking for moms who would protest, and there were plenty. The author held strongly to her point, though, and said she chose to write the post after she saw too many of her friends complaining about motherhood on Facebook.

Here is my argument: saying something is hard is not the same thing as complaining, and if we don’t allow ourselves to be honest, we risk having a society in which we all plaster on fake smiles and tell each other everything is “fine” because we are too afraid of being judged by fellow mothers.

Complaining about how hard your kids and life are on social media is one thing. I have done it plenty of times, and I can see how an overwhelming Facebook newsfeed of ranting mothers who are struggling through potty training, runaway kids at the grocery store or children who cut their own hair while a parent is distracted can be discouraging.

If these types of rants and posts are fostering a culture of negativity where mothers are surrounded by other mothers who do nothing but complain, we will all be drained and too overwhelmed to better ourselves as mothers.

Is this something we as a community of mothers should work on? Absolutely. I am so grateful for my life and my children (as I know you are, too). Getting caught up in the negatives to the point where we can no longer see the gifts we have is working against us being the best moms and daughters of our God.

However, I absolutely believe we need to maintain a culture of honesty with one another. If not, we will have social media filled with nothing but pictures of magazine-worthy, toy-free living rooms, photos of homemade reindeer soap and stories about our children doing nothing but sharing and hugging one another all day. And who knows how painful our face-to-face interactions would be when no one felt allowed to say anything other than how much they loved being a mom. This is a recipe for fostering shame, guilt and secretiveness between mothers who need to support one another.

The author also suggested in the comment section to remember moms who have lost their children or those dealing with infertility. As someone who battled for a long while with infertility and wanting a family, I can respect this. We all need to be mindful of our words, status updates and Tweets, thinking of each one through a different filter before sharing. There are moms and women who would give the world to be in our shoes, and we need to be aware of this daily. We are truly, truly blessed to have children to hold and hug each day.

However, having an attitude of gratefulness and maintaining some restraint in the complaint department on social media are NOT the same thing as not being real with each other.

We have to find a balance, moms, and I believe this balance includes permission to say, “Man, this mom thing is hard,” without judgment.

Should we think before we complain mercilessly on social media? Yes.

Should we look for the joy in our lives and work toward feeling grateful every day? Yes.

Should we encourage one another down this wild journey called motherhood every step of the way? Absolutely.

Along the journey of accomplishing these tasks, we should give one another permission to say, “Being a mom is hard.”

Daughters: 10 Reasons You Deserve Better than “The Bachelor”

With the season finale of ABC’s “The Bachelor” coming up next week, I am a coldhearted cynic who doesn’t feel terribly sorry for the girls who have been sent home. Haven’t they seen the show? The odds of winning Mr. I’m-So-Dreamy’s heart are a mere 1 in 25, and the proposal at the end of the season rarely ends in a marriage. Yet I keep watching every year. It’s also highly addicting. (Don’t judge. You know you watch it, too.)

So, here are ten reasons why I will highly discourage my little ladies from ever choosing to go on “The Bachelor.”

  1. Although it’s romantic and over-the-top to ride horses along the beach in St. Lucia or cruise around Miami on a private yacht, dates like those are “inorganic” and created for the audience. You are just playing a piece in a producer-created event which is designed to get ratings. A real date which is orchestrated by the man who is after your heart will be so much more meaningful, even if it’s not fit for national television.
  2. With only a dozen or so dates, no matter how dreamy or exotic those dates may be, you won’t get to know someone’s true personality. Seeing how a man responds to an unexpected bill or phone call to his grandmother is much more telling about his character than how he rappels down a cliff in Jamaica while shirtless.
  3. The odds are seriously stacked against you. With 24 (or 26 this season) other girls vying after the heart of the same man, chances are you will NOT be the winner.
  4. When you are rejected (as you have a 96 percent or higher chance to be), you deserve better than being humiliated on national television. Your tears and your emotions are too special to be used as a ratings ploy.
  5. America is cruel. You are too valuable to be subjected to criticism from a national television audience who doesn’t know you or your heart.
  6. The metaphors are ridiculous. Every situation, whether bungee jumping or plunging into an icy pond, is somehow connected to an idiotic symbol of love. “Stirring this hot chocolate with Juan Pablo reminds me of how my heart is being stirred and warmed up to the idea of falling in love.” Bleh. You deserve more.
  7. You need a man who is going to have eyes for you only. If he’s off kissing three or four other girls in the minutes before he comes to woo you, he needs to be punched squarely in the jaw before you run far away and never look back.
  8. Your heart is too precious to be shared until you know it’s with a man who will cherish it and share your emotions. Too many women share their hearts with Mr. Bachelor prematurely because they feel pressured to make sure he knows they are here for “the right reasons.”
  9. The Bachelor himself may not always be on the show for “the right reasons.” You might be giving your heart to a fame-hungry and fortune-seeking man.
  10. Love will find you somehow, some way, without throwing yourself shamelessly at a beefy guy on a reality television show with all of America watching. Trust me–there are many great men out there who will move mountains some day to win you over, and you’ll be so glad you saved your heart for one of them instead.