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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconI'm traveling this week, doing my radio program from Detroit and then from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, so I thought I'd feature a guest blogger today, who wrote in with the following comments: Hi, Dr. Laura!I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful children, ages 4 1/2 and almost 2.' I have been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) since the middle of my first pregnancy.' I just picked up your book "In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms," and read it cover-to-cover in two days.' At first, the book made me angry.' Not at anything you said, but it stirred up some old emotions in me that I thought I had buried long ago. You see, I have felt a lot of negativity from my in-laws since the day my husband and I decided that I would quit my job to stay home to raise our family.' My mother-in-law and father-in-law, and even both brothers-in-law and their wives, who all have children in day care, felt that I was not pulling my weight-that I was a burden on my husband, and that my children should be in day care.' Can you imagine?!! My husband and I lead a completely different lifestyle from them, but that didn't seem to matter to them. We don't have a thirty foot trailer for camping, and it's not important for us to have brand new SUVs or granite countertops.' We can have those material things in due time, if we choose. Reading your book made me think about the past again, the way my children and I have been treated over the years, and it brought back all the anger and resentment.' As I continued reading your book, it clicked!' My in-laws are jealous of the quality time that I get to spend with my children every day.' Also, the biggie for me:' happiness is a matter of perspective.' Both my husband and I feel like we are doing the right thing by having me stay-at-home and that's all that matters.' Period. In a quest to keep the right perspective, I have started journaling my proud "mommy moments," and I thought I would share this with you.' Perhaps this might help other SAHMs keep a positive outlook, too.' There's no denying that being a full-time stay-at-home mom is both rewarding and challenging.' So, I started journaling all the wonderful moments that I experience with my children on a daily basis - the moments I would never be able to experience via Mommy-cam. Today, my daughter lovingly brushed the hair away from my forehead and kissed me sweetly on my forehead, just as I have done to her countless times.' I wrote it down.' When my little boy wraps his pudgy arms around my legs and squeezes me with all his might, I write it down.' That way, when things get tough, which they will, I can quickly glance over my Mommy journal and see why I'm doing this again, to help me keep a positive outlook.' I know this won't make whatever is troubling me magically disappear, but I do think that seeing what's positive and wonderful in my life will help to clear my head and give me strength for Round 2 and 3. You have been such a wonderful influence on me, Dr. Laura.' Thank you for helping to lift my chin, so when people ask me what I do for a living, I can respond, smiling, "I am a proud FULL-time stay-at-home Mommy and I love my life." God bless you and yours, C. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraStay-at-Home MomStay-At-Home-Moms
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Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMilitaryMother's DayMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe coordinator behind a children's coloring book that was pulled from FEMA's website recently is standing by her work, despite its controversial cover (which shows a child's drawing of the New York's "Twin Towers" on fire, with a plane flying toward them), according to Fox News.Ostensibly, this downloadable coloring book was created to help children cope with disaster, and was developed by Minnesota's Freeborn County Crisis Response Team after a tornado hit their area. "I stand firm that it was a very well thought out and useful resource for kids," Rose Olmstead told Fox News.' I think she is sadly mistaken.' I read the entire coloring book, and these are my observations and opinions:1. The title of the coloring book is "A Scary Thing Happened," a children's coloring book to help cope with disasters.' I would not have shown this to my child.' The cover has the World Trade Center towers burning, with a plane coming in for the second kill, a house with the roof blowing away due to a tornado, and a car that is smashed from the top - this doesn't resemble a car accident, so I don't know if a tornado was supposed to have hauled it up and then dropped it on its top before righting it, or what.' Can't figure that one out.'Here's where I take issue:' a tornado is an act of nature.' The tower disaster was an act of evil people determined to murder all those who didn't share their religion.' It's wrong to put these two together, because the explanations for these events are worlds apart, and people cope differently when other humans perpetrate heinous acts on purpose, than when nature does what nature does, or when accidents happen.' Coping with these two category types is psychologically different.' As you might guess, murder and mayhem perpetrated by man is much harder to deal with, because it becomes more personal.2. After highlighting terrorism on the cover, the book starts out showing excessive rain causing a flood, a tornado and a house fire - typical disasters for a community.' The text then says, "You may wonder why anybody would do this or why it happened to you." Well, are we blaming God for rain and high winds?' Who else could do this?' This is neither discussed nor explained. "...why it happened to you" is definitely a good question to ask, because that is what most people of any age would ask.' On the next page, the question is not answered.' The page just shows a child among three different images of terrorist-hijacked planes and World Trade Center towers.' This actually made me angry, because it was a pointless segue from the previous page.3. The next section is pretty good.' It talks about sadness, but then it throws in "You might think you made the disaster happen, but you didn't." What kid thinks a tornado or flood is their fault?' This book is just all mixed up with concepts, and ultimately, I don't believe it is helpful to children at all.4. One of the worst parts of the book is a section that mentions "In the disaster, there was no warning and no time to get ready." Well, people in flood, earthquake and tornado areas have family and community plans in place, and generally instruct their children on what to do.' The same goes for house fires.' This book leads children to believe that they have absolutely no power, because it does not inform them that there is such a thing as preparedness.' Coloring after the fact is cute, but preparedness before the fact helps children to anticipate and feel a sense of power vs. a feeling of helplessness.5.' Since this book doesn't really settle on one concept, it does not effectively deal with any, which is a shame, because the last part talks about discussing your feelings, doing good deeds, and taking care of yourself as a way to cope.'I stand with the people who wanted this book pulled because of the cover with the burning towers, but I stand with them more because of the quality of the effort than just because of a controversial cover.Disasters have different origins:' those that are natural are dealt with one way, while those that are perpetrated by humans are handled another way.' If FEMA wanted to do a book about how to deal with the fear that there are millions of people who want us dead because of their blind bigotry, hate, and misguided sense of spirituality, well, that's a very different book from this one. More >>

Tags: attitudeFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingPoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconPhilip Markoff, 23, the alleged Craigslist killer, has a loyal, faithful, supportive fianc'e.' The big question is....WHY?Authorities say he trolled Craigslist's erotic services section, where he met a 25 year old woman and lured her to a luxury hotel in Boston.' Supposedly, he meant only to steal money, but he also had a loaded gun, and allegedly shot her dead, presumably because she fought him.How's this for evidence:'1) the murdered woman's underwear was at his house2) the bullet that killed her came from our boy's gun, and if that isn't enough,3) his fingerprints were found on the wall of the hotel room where a stripper was tied up in an attempted robbery.What does his pathetic fianc'e do?' She proclaims her love and support and her complete disbelief that any of this is true, describing him as a loving and caring person.You've heard this story (including women who hunger to marry convicted murderers) way too often.' Why do women do this?Simple.' Question:' how humiliating is it to be associated with an evil person?' Answer:' Very!' So, if one takes the position that "I only know him as a good person," some of the humiliation is tempered.' After a little while, the healthiest of these women fade out of sight; the others make their identity "the fiancee OF (fill in the blank)."'Some women find glory in "standing by an evil man," because they believe it defines them as truly "good" to sacrifice and have such loyalty, faith, and belief.' Some women believe that their love can and will transform the man - that it will heal him, and then their own lives will have value, and he will be beholden to them, never leaving them and always loving them. Other women are frankly amoral, narcissistic, and/or sociopathic, and they identify with the perp.' That kinship keeps them connected. Still others want their 15 minutes of "reality show fame" and notice, and feel a most distorted sense of value from that exposure.All in all, this young woman's response ought to have been:' "I am shocked and horrified that I could not see that this man had two lives.' I am sorrowful for the woman who lost her life and her family and friends.' I regret the harm he's caused so many people.' This is going to take me a while to recover from, as I obviously had a brush with evil."Instead, her family quietly called the wedding hall and cancelled the reception, because Philip was probably not going to be available. More >>

Tags: MotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingWomen's Point of View
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Tags: Common SenseFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconYour child is in school.' You believe your child is safe.' Your child comes home after school, hysterical and unwilling to ever go back.' The part of the world in which you thought your child would be safe just exploded in front of your eyes.What happened?' Well, if your name is Mrs. Redding, you just discovered that your child was stripped almost naked in front of more than one school official who had no legal right to do so.' You then find out that the school is perfectly fine with what happened, because they are "doing it because they feel an intense need to protect the safety of the students."' How's that for irony!This is what happened (as will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States of America).' A 13 year old honor student in a small Arizona town was hauled down to the principal's office to strip down to her underwear, because another eighth grade student who was found with a cigarette and some pills pointed the finger at our victim.' The 13 year old denied having anything.' They searched her backpack:' nothing.' That's when the vice principal said the school nurse would conduct a strip search. "They saw everything.' It was really embarrassing.' These are people I see every day," said the victim.' The school did not call her mother, child services, or police; they just stripped her down.Believe it or not, after the school lost a lawsuit in a Federal appeals court, and the school was found liable, they have taken the case to the Supreme Court, who will hear the case tomorrow.'I agree that it's important for the school to find dangerous drugs and weapons.' Dangerous weapons can be found in a "pat-down," but even that is a kind of sexual harassment.'I believe that you parents should tell your children to always refuse to fully remove their clothes (except, perhaps, for jackets and coats), even if it is the principal who demands it .' Parents should make sure that the rules in their school district include sequestering the student, calling the parents and the police/child protective services before a child's body is touched, unless there is considerable reason to believe that the child is armed with a deadly weapon. More >>

Tags: EducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageParentingSchoolSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconSome actors talk about how and from where they get their "motivation" in the portrayal of some character.' Actors usually get the role and then search for the motivation behind the role.' I am the exact opposite.' I get motivated about something, and then go out and make it happen.For years, I have been striving to have women re-establish their sacred place in the universe by influencing them to value their womanhood, and not simply resign themselves to being worker bees or unattached sexual objects.' My latest book, In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms , is my contribution to that end, reminding women that 1) they are the spiritual center of the family, and 2) that their love' and attention cannot be replaced by hired help.' I've been working very hard to have mothers and wives value themselves in these roles and not feel "less," but instead, enjoy the esteemed pedestal once again.To "bring it home," so to speak, I decided to do an extravaganza of an event, called In Praise of Mom , to applaud and recognize the beauty and importance of mothers everywhere.' Why am I so emotional about this?' Simple.' I almost missed out on this most incredible miracle (and sometime pain in the neck) called motherhood.In the 1960s, I was seduced by the feminist anger that proclaimed that husbands and kids were in the way of getting power and respect.' We lost way too much because of the anger vented on men and mothering.' As many of you may know, I did not have the most mothering mommy possible, and that probably contributed to my negativity at the time.' But at age 35, I had an epiphany.' What I was missing from my life was being a wife and a mommy.I now know the glories and agonies of being a mommy, and I am grateful I didn't miss out on one minute of it.' I receive calls every day from women who are mothers of good kids, troubled kids, confusing kids, rambunctious kids, curious kids, risk-taking kids and more.' For a mom, the well-being of her child and family is number one .' It occurred to me that I should use the opportunity afforded by the release of my new book to celebrate Mother's Day in a new, fun, touching, memorable way.' As my son is in the military (as are many of yours), we won't be together on Mother's Day.' The next best thing is for all us mothers to get together and laugh and hug about our trials, tribulations, and exaltations of motherhood. In Praise of Mom will be a one-time only event on Tuesday, May 5 in a movie theater near you...and it will be beamed live by satellite to more than 400 theaters around the country.' Let's get all the moms in our lives together and applaud ourselves! To purchase tickets, click here . More >>

Tags: MotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. Laura
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05/13/2010
IconI don't see morality, ethics, or character in too many places in our society these days, so when I do, it's time for rejoicing and handing out kudos. So, kudos go out to G. Craig Hanson, the president of Simmons Media Group, which owns KXRK-FM radio in Salt Lake City, who dumped a morally repulsive and exploitative commercial off his station.There's an infidelity dating service, The Ashley Madison Agency, on the Internet for people "looking for a little something on the side."' They boast - yechh - over 3.6 million members in the United States and Canada.' These are people looking for a quick "hump" without their dates, fianc's, and spouses knowing anything about it.The ads are off KXRK-FM, but they're supposedly still airing in Salt Lake City on 97.5, The Blaze.The President and CEO of Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman, says he aims to buy TV spots and billboard space in Utah, and labeled as "hypocritical" the media outlets that refuse to take his ads.You know, I get called "hypocritical" all the time, because it's a "nice" swear word to use to discount somebody else's point of view.' A hypocrite actually is someone who says they believe one way, while (secretly) they behave the opposite.' A "teacher" (as opposed to a hypocrite), for example, is someone who formerly smoked and has quit, and now campaigns to get others to do so in order to have a good and healthful life.'People like Biderman call others who judge them negatively "hypocrites" because, in their world, they can't imagine people with different values as being real, serious, happy, and successful.' They just see the potential for a dark side in everyone and decide to try to make money off of it.So, "poo poohs" to Noel Biderman, who wants to provide people with the opportunities to betray their vows and diminish their own characters with ads providing affair "match-ups," and kudos to KXRK-FM's president G. Craig Hanson of Salt Lake City who said the scum won't float on his lake. More >>

Tags: AdulteryBullyingDatingInfidelityInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParenting
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a kid, we spent most of our time outside playing...something.' Riding bikes, playing ball, walking, running, performing dramatic vignettes, or finding clues in twigs, among other activities.' Imagination, strategy, and fresh air were the mainstay of life then.And then....the incredible technology age came along, with chatter, Twitter, and pics, texting and more.' You don't have to be a rocket scientist to guess that that isn't very good.Kids today aren't on "friendship" sites to get help with their math homework or discourse on all things philosophical.' They're basically trying to make a mark, to be somebody, or to impress somebody, all without having done a damn thing to actually earn the attention.But why should they?' Look at what they see on television:' reality show after reality show where people get "famous" for behaving badly and creating nothing of value or beauty.' Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich may even be getting his own television show after being tossed out of office because of severe wrongdoing.That's where kids get the idea that "outrageous" is more important than goodness, patience, commitment to a goal, and values beyond their own immediate "fantasy" gratification.' I don't know how you parents can shield your children from this "Pinocchio Island," which ultimately degenerates the value of living and giving to merely depraved acting out.' Removing all TVs and never going to the movies might be a start - maybe the Amish have it right in that regard.' They have long held that so-called "modern" advances don't necessarily advance the human spirit.It breaks my heart to hear all the stories each day of children and young adults who, in a rush to feel the power of adulthood freedom, don't get the matched message of responsibility and nobility.' Religion in this country is breaking down as people go to Easter services or Passover dinners as mostly a yearly reunion, as opposed to a daily profound observance.' Families are breaking down with "shack-up," out-of-wedlock children lost in a morass of adult yearnings for easy intimacy.' And so it goes.Do I sound negative?' You bet.' I am worried.' I am heartened by the emails and calls from families struggling in the midst of all this societal turmoil, which has robbed them of the support and respect they so dearly need to help their children find a good and righteous path in life.' My heart goes out to them, and, hopefully, there will be more like them. More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMental HealthParentingPersonal ResponsibilityReality TV
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05/13/2010
IconA caller with a seemingly simple question has been haunting my mind since Monday.' The caller was a stay-at-home mom with four children under the age of six.' I thought I was heroic chasing after one child who never napped.' I can't imagine four little tykes going in different directions, all with different personalities and needs.' Wow.After asking some sneaky questions, I discerned that she was - in two words - BURNED OUT.' It's difficult to get around the understandable embarrassment or shame that a mother has for even thinking that she wished she were on another planet away from the children for a while.' But this is a totally understandable and normal reaction to a lovely, but draining, situation.When a woman is at a job, she can take a number of bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, and a lunch break which may even include shopping (a great tension releaser!).' When taking care of a number of children whose needs are relentless and inconsistent, it's easy to see how one brain and heart can be overwhelmed if the kids don't nap - mine never did, and I remember feeling mentally exhausted.Mothers do, but shouldn't, feel guilt at not always being thrilled out of their ears to be taking care of their children.' My first argument is that there is no one with any career or activity who doesn't regularly feel the same way.' Human beings need breaks - changes of scenery and input - and activities that help let off steam and revive one's sense of joy in life.' That's why in my book, In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms , I've written about the necessity of taking guilt-free breaks - and taking them before you break!First, to the husbands:' Make sure you command and demand that your beloved wife and mother of your progeny go out with her girlfriends, go have a one-hour bath with bubbles and wine, or go ride her bike with a bike club for a morning - something so that she can feel revived and relaxed.' Plan it for her if she's stubborn (the stubbornness usually comes from feeling guilty).' Tell her that a GOOD mother takes care of herself so that the "giving" flows more readily.Second, to you mothers:' Grandma is useful for a break while you do nothing or something that relaxes you.' I told this caller to get one of those carriers that attaches to a bicycle, and get a child bike seat affixed behind her bike seat - that takes care of three kids right there, and one is in kindergarten.' Take 'em all on a bike ride to picnic or relax in a park - that's only one of the things I did with my child.' Turn on an exercise video and dance along with the music to get a workout - the kids will join in, or play next to you with their toys.'My message is:' no guilt.' Any profession has tools that must be taken care of to keep working properly:' a computer, a saw and hammer...whatever.' For us mothers, the tool is ourselves.' So, no guilt.' Take it as a responsibility to keep yourself loose and refreshed.My final message is that being home with your children opens up many opportunities if you think out of the perimeter of your property.' It isn't supposed to be a "work farm."' It's supposed to be a joyous home.' Oh, and here's why that caller stuck in my mind:' I heard a depth of sadness in her voice that seriously worried me, and I realized that many of you moms try so hard that you forget to take care of yourselves.' In doing so, you lose contact with your mission in the first place.' When that happens, your children miss you.So, ladies, turn on that music and dance and sing around the house and enjoy! More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMental HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraStay-At-Home-Moms
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