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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconFirst, full disclosure. Years ago, a journalist from Vanity Fair called me. She was supposedly friends for 20 years with my then-chief of staff, and wanted to interview me. And having some brains in my head (I don't trust this stuff), I asked my associate about her, and she said "Y'know, she's been a friend of mine; I'll vouch for her." So, I said 'OK, I'll call her, feel it out, and then make a decision.'I called her, and she gave me a line of lies (that I found out later were a line of lies) about how I was a cultural phenomenon and she wanted to study this sociologically, and understand the points of view about how they became popular (but they weren't), and she gave me this whole line, and I thought "OK, I like the point of view; she's supposedly friends with my chief-of-staff who has known her and says she's a decent person," and I agreed to do it.Meanwhile, my editor at HarperCollins said "Don't. Trust me on this. Don't. Trust me on this. Don't. Trust me on this. Don't." Turns out (I'm going to go back and forth in history a little bit), after the article was out, my editor, who was protecting her source who was a dear friend who worked at Vanity Fair , said "I couldn't tell you because I promised " - don't you hate those? --- I couldn't tell you, because I promised, but that Vanity Fair , according to my source (a male who works there, whose name I do not know, or I'd give it right now) said that they actually had a planning meeting to set me up and do a hatchet piece. I'm telling you this because I want clarity that what I'm about to say is not vengeance. You've heard me say I love vengeance....I love it. Justice, vengeance - all one thing to me. I love it! And you've also heard how I want you to go get it, usually by being really nice ('cause that kills the bad guys) and being happy and successful.That woman from Vanity Fair came for the first meeting with me and I knew I was in trouble, when I came in and sat down, and she took a look at my figure and disdainfully asked me if I was a size zero, while she was somewhere between fat and obese, and I was trying to get her an appropriate sandwich, but she wanted to eat something with a lot of mayonnaise - I knew there was a problem from that point on, to be honest with you. And I was right. It was just a nasty hatchet piece of people saying gossipy stupid things and it was really mean. The writer's name is Leslie Bennetts. Really mean . But I found out way too late that that was Vanity Fair 's plan - it was their little editorial meeting, according to my editor at HarperCollins who's not there anymore and not related to this. But she didn't tell me in time. She said, "Well, I warned you!" A little more information would have been more helpful.The reason I'm bringing this up as disclosure, is that this same person is coming out with a book pretty much telling women not to stay home with their kids. Now, let me say something about women's magazines. By and large, women's magazines completely ignore me. "I am my kid's mom." You'd think one year in 31 years that I've been in the media - that one year I would have been made "Mother of the Year" in one woman's magazine. A couple of years ago, we tried to have a women's magazine "editor and publisher" luncheon with me when one of my new books came out. HarperCollins was going to pay for the lunch, I was going to appear...everybody eats, and I'd do a Q&A. They had to cancel it - nobody would come. Whenever they do articles like on mothers staying home, who do you think in the entire United States you would really think they'd ask for a quote, besides me? It doesn't happen. Okay?So, I want you to know that I've been getting e-mails from you folks about Ladies Home Journal and Glamour magazine doing a little one-page on this book which is encouraging women to do the wrong thing and be paranoid. Let me just share with you two of these letters. This one is from Christie: I was appalled today when a friend e-mailed this to me from Glamour magazine. The article tells stay-at-home moms that they will become dependent financially and lose themselves. I'm a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful six month old baby girl. I am a wife to a Navy officer (my warrior!), and I am dependent on him. Yet, I know that my family is dependent on me! My husband and child NEED me to do the tasks that make our home run smoothly in order to feel safe, secure and loved! I thank you for reminding your listeners on a daily basis the importance of being dependent on your spouse in your marriage both ways, and to be your kids' parents. Yes! That's the part Leslie doesn't seem to get! I don't know what her home life is like, but mutual dependency is a good marriage. This is from Jennifer: I was appalled at coming across an article in Ladies Home Journal (like a rabbit, it keeps multiplying!) . It's entitled "Why Moms Should Work." For women who have quit their jobs to stay home with the kids full-time, here's a reason to think twice. There's a whole page article she writes about why you shouldn't stay home with your kids. You have to read this! I will only tell you the last paragraph of the article. It says: "There's stress attached to everything we do. Women need to accept that it's fine to be a good-enough parent, a good-enough homemaker, a good-enough wife. We have richer, more satisfying lives when we do a reasonably good job at a multiple of tasks, than when we strive for this insane perfectionism in a single, limited role." I was crushed that she called staying at home with your children a limited role. I'm my 7 year old son's mom and the wife of my husband of 10 years. I'm certainly proud of that and firmly believe the reason my life is so good is because of women like you, Dr. Laura. You believe in us, and we praise you for that. I can't thank you enough for your voice, what you do for your country, and thank you for the tools for a happy home. And that includes staying home with our children. By the way, across the country, young women are jettisoning careers to stay home with their kids. According to The Wall Street Journal (printing information from the US Census Bureau), an estimated almost 6 million mothers stayed home to care for their families in 2005 - 1.2 million more than a decade ago. The trend of opting-out has been broader than previously believed, with women at all income levels taking job breaks. Meanwhile, Leslie Bennetts is paranoid about divorce, your spouse losing a job, and widowhood, as though the only answer to that was across-the-board "do not be at home, do not take care of your kids, do not be your husband's girlfriend"....get your job, be secure, just in case something horrible happens. Well, my answer to something horrible happening is find another way to deal with it if and when it does, rather than knee-jerking, giving up on your family.Last but not least, I'm going to close with this letter from Yvette: Thank you so much for your hard-hitting, yet Godly (if I may say so) advice. I had considered divorcing my husband, pursuing a Vice President job within a Fortune 500 Top 50 company, until I recently took your words to heart. My dear and understanding (for the most part) husband and I have been married for over 13 years, and we have a phenomenal 10 year old son. Although I had read many of your insightful books, I still worked 60 or so hours a week. I claim only stupidity, selfish desires and adhering to the current social norm. I have recently been available to listen to your daily broadcast, which is a godsend. Dr. Laura, I am so self-centered, that I was focusing solely on my career, impressing my boss, scoring myself the bigger paycheck, and securing the coveted VP slot, that I put my marriage and motherhood on the back burner. I must say, you have reminded me of my true calling. Thank you so much. I am now about to become my son's mom and my husband's wife. Thank you for helping me realize that no paycheck, no status can take the place of my true calling. For the first time I can remember, I actually apologized to my dear husband for not listening. Dr. Laura, it finally occurred to me that if I don't listen to my husband (who is, by the way, the most selfless person in the world and only has our family's best at heart) I'll never be blessed in the way that God desires. Of course, this occurred while I work. So I have a journey ahead. I know that sometimes we all need something from another person, therefore, please remember that, in reciprocation, I am ready to be of service to you in any way I can. You go home and take care of your babies. That's how you'll be of service to all the world - a better chance of raising good kids to be decent citizens, to go out and do wonderful things in the world.So, my comments about Leslie Bennetts' book are not vengeance. I have gone on to be happy, functional, secure, and continue with my career. That's my vengeance on what she tried to do. But warning you that women's magazines, and this sort of book, do not function in the best interests of families, children, or women is important to me. Encouraging women to do the wrong thing by making them paranoid about disasters, so they should only strive to be good-enough moms when they're around, good-enough wives if they have the time, but the work is everything, is exactly what for decades and decades women complained their men were doing. And paranoid feminists like Leslie Bennetts are telling you to go backwards in history and hurt the family... just like men who were never home and never involved did. More >>

Tags: CommitmentInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageParentingStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconFeminism Kills Women: Betty Friedan's negative view of so-called "women's work" created a movement that turned family life upside down and wrenched women from their homes. Turns out, women's work, is the very thing that saves women's lives! Research following 200,000 women from nine European countries for an average of over 6 years and 3,423 cases of breast cancer determined that women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 30% among the pre-menopausal women and 20% among the post-menopausal women. "The International authors said their results suggested that moderate forms of physical activity, such as housework, may be more important than less frequent but more intense recreational physical activity in reducing breast cancer risk." The research is published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention .The women in the Cancer Research UK-funded study spent an average of 16-17 hours a week cooking, cleaning, and doing the washing. Experts have long been touting physical exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer, probably through hormonal and metabolic changes. What kind of exercise, though, has been debated. Most of the research to date has examined the link between exercise and breast cancer in post-menopausal women only. This latest study looked at both pre- and post-menopausal women and a range of activities, including work (right now, only my fingers are getting a work-out), leisure (hitting the C button with my thumb to change channels is obviously a step down), and housework (I actually like folding clothes). "All forms of physical activity combined reduced the breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women, but had no obvious effect in pre-menopausal women. Of all the activities, ONLY HOUSEWORK SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED THE RISK OF BOTH PRE- AND POST-MENOPAUSAL WOMEN GETTING BREAST CANCER."Don't hold your breath to find this information on Lifetime Channel for Women, "Oxygen," "The View," college and university women's studies programs, "Cosmo", or any other of the women's magazines out there. Excuse me while I go vacuum. Cindy Sheehan: Cindy Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of twenty-four. Brought up by his ultra-liberal mother did not keep him from re-enlisting for a second tour to fight for his country. Picture that against the unbelievable photos published around the world of his mother hugging Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, by the way, "has said he will not renew the license for the country's second largest TV channel. Radio Caracas Television, which is aligned with the opposition, supported a strike against Mr. Chavez in 2003." (BBC News, December 29, 2006). Rocky #?: I stopped going to Rocky movies after the second. I loved the first; finding it tender, motivational, exciting, touching, and dramatic. I really didn't want to go to see the current Rocky film. I figured it was a silly attempt to get some mileage out of a franchise that needed to be put to rest. I was seriously wrong. "Rocky Balboa" is probably one of the best films I've seen... ever. It has the sentimentality of a film like "The African Queen." Sylvester Stallone, now widowed, is living in and on his past. He runs a restaurant named after his deceased wife, Adrian. He tells the same, lame war stories of past fights to all the patrons and sits for hours in front of his wife's grave. His son is weak, insecure and bitter, feeling like his life is nothing because he lives under his dad's shadow. Stallone looks and feels like well, crap. And this is what makes this movie so special.Rocky has something to learn and something to say. I don't want to ruin it for you, so just trust me and go see it. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFeminismInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMovie ReviewMoviesParentingSocial IssuesStay-at-Home Mom
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Tags: Family/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelationshipsRelativesSex
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05/07/2010
Icon Expensive Legal Documents The Dollar Stretcher by Gary Foreman www.stretcher.com gary@stretcher.com Do you have any recommendations on how to set up a living trust without paying high priced lawyer fees. I figure by the time we are done working with our local lawyer who has a good reputation it will run just over $1,000. We have children and need to make plans just in case. Julie in MI  Julie is to be congratulated for making 'just in case' plans. Far too many parents assume that nothing will happen to them and fail to take the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, the simple answer to her question is "no" I don't advise trying to set up a trust without a lawyer. But let's look a little deeper into Julie's question. Perhaps it won't be as expensive as she thinks.  We'll begin by considering a frugal truism. Avoid making expensive mistakes. A problem with your will or some trusts are almost impossible to correct. There's a reason that they call it your "LAST will and testament". Once you're dead you cannot amend or revoke it.  Being a sharp consumer doesn't mean always taking the least expensive alternative. In fact, doing that can sometimes cost you more in the long run. This is probably one of those cases.  In fact, not only should Julie contact an attorney for her will or trust, she'd also be wise to find one that specializes in estate planning in her state. There are some nuances that an attorney who works in another area of law or another state might not know. In fact, if you move to a new state it's important to see if your estate plan should be updated.  Let me be clear about this. I'm not a big fan of attorneys. Wills and trusts are more complicated than they need to be. And attorneys are a large part of the reason that they're so complicated.  But the unfortunate truth is that it does take specialized knowledge to do them so that problems don't crop up after your death. Not only with federal taxes, but also with state laws. And much as I don't like paying lawyers, the cost of doing it wrong could be very expensive for my children. So finding a lawyer who knows estate planning is likely to produce the right document at the lowest cost.  Julie might be tempted to consider some of the do-it-yourself will kits available. No doubt that some are quite good. Just remember that you'll die believing you did a great job. A problem won't come out until some judge says that your will or certain portions are invalid. So make your selection carefully.  So what should Julie do? She doesn't say so, but it could be that her concern is simply for her children's welfare. If that's the case a living trust probably isn't required.  A living trust is often used to avoid federal estate taxes. And that usually isn't a problem until you have over $500,000 in assets. So if Julie's goal is simply to make sure that if she and her husband die that the money goes to her kids and that she gets to select the children's guardian, then a living trust isn't necessary. Typically a will, which costs less, can handle the job.  Selecting a guardian is important. Remember that each state sets an age where a child is considered an adult. Until that age they cannot manage their own financial affairs. The guardian could be an individual (for example your sister, friend or attorney) or a corporation (a bank or trust company). There are various ways, including trusts, to set it up legally. You also have the option of letting the guardian control the money even after your children reach adulthood. Discuss it with your attorney.  Another reason this process, called estate planning, is important is that if you don't make your wishes known in writing before you die, the state will follow its own laws and make the decision for you. Not only as to managing the money, but who will raise your children. Your irresponsible bachelor brother could be asked to care for them. This is also a good time for Julie to talk with her choice and make sure that they're willing to accept the responsibility.  One final word of caution. I am not a lawyer and this isn't a place for amateurs. All I can do is warn you of the potential dangers. So before you make any decisions, contact the appropriate experts. Yes, experts do cost money. But this is one area where saving can be very expensive.  Gary Foreman is a former financial planner who currently edits  The Dollar Stretcher website  and newsletters subscribe@stretcher.com  You'll find thousands of articles to help stretch your day and your dollar. Copyright 2003 Dollar Stretcher, Inc. all rights reserved. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

Tags: BudgetChildrenmoneyParenting
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