Mother's Day

Last week, I gave a live radio interview over the phone at 6:40 a.m. My husband stood watch outside our bedroom, blocking our three kids from interrupting. He did a fine job. Afterwards, I opened the door and blurted out, "I did a terrible job," which was exactly how I felt.

My two daughters, ages 8 and 5, came running from their rooms. They both said, "Mommy, you don't do a terrible job at anything!"

I'm still amazed by their show of support -- and by the example I unconsciously set for them of how to inflict self-criticism as a woman. Giving coherent radio interviewers, especially over the phone, particularly before 7 a.m., is hard. But instead, I was hard on myself.

So in honor of Mother's Day coming this weekend, let's tell stories of the good -- and bad -- role models we set for our daughters. Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women? Why? How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 9, 2007; 7:45 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
Previous: Maternity Leave -- What's Fair? | Next: How Much Scheduling is Overscheduling?


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



First!

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 9, 2007 7:42 AM

"So in honor of Mother's Day coming this weekend, let's tell stories of the good -- and bad -- role models we set for our daughters. Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women?"

You either have to be female or gay to participate in this, another one of Leslie sexist posts.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 7:49 AM

You also have to have a daughter. Moms with boys I guess don't have to worry about what kind of example they are setting for them.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 7:51 AM

Dammit, my mother loved my brother better!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | May 9, 2007 7:54 AM

Come on. In an entry where I talk about being hard on myself, is it really necessary to start the discussion by being hard on me too?

Its not much of a stretch to translate this subject to fatherhood as well as motherhood, to raising boys as well as girls...use your imagination!

Of course moms with boys need to worry about this...don't you think your sons will have at least some interaction with women in their lifetimes?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 8:00 AM

"I'm still amazed by their show of support -- and by the example I unconsciously set for them of how to inflict self-criticism as a woman"

That's pretty much the answer to Leslie's question about being a role model and setting expectations for her daughters (and son).

Leslie seems to bomb out a lot, but when her husband does the simplest task, he gets a brass band.

How about teaching the kids to not interrupt when someone is on the phone?????? What a concept!!!

If nothing is ever good enough for Leslie, how can it be for her children?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:03 AM

What about dad's Leslie? I know this is Mother's Day approaching, but I don't need to use my imagination to see this should be renamed from On Balance to On Balance for Women. The past 4 days have been women's topics.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 8:07 AM

As some of you know, my sainted mother had only boys. The best lesson she taught us was not to wear dresses.

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 8:13 AM

Ah, Fred the Enlightener has arrived.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 8:17 AM

And this has what to do with Balance?

Oh, I forgot. This is really a platform for evangelizing her agenda.

Posted by: Balance? | May 9, 2007 8:17 AM

Wow, Leslie, I totally get what you're saying. I can be way too hard on myself sometimes. I work really hard to keep much of my insecurity to myself, though. But I'm not really sure that's any better in the long run.

Common folks, what's with the overwhelming negativity today? The way a mother carries herself and feels about herself has ramifications for girls, boys, and husbands. Why is anyone even questioning that?

Posted by: Robert in Austin's Wife | May 9, 2007 8:20 AM

Hmm, that is a tough one. A lot of men and women are highly critical of themselves. It is not unusual to seem perfectionists beat themselves up. I guess the best role model you can be for your son or daughter is to let them know you are human. You do some things well, some things badly and most things good enough. To makes mistakes is human and that is just part of the learning process. Self acceptance is a wonderful trait. Leslie, you are way too hard on yourself. But I guess that drive and motivation has gotten you to where you are today. There are only several ways to get to Harvard 1) born rich and connected, 2) born a genius, 3) have incredible drive and motivation. You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... Give yourself a break this Mother's day and love yourself unconditionally. That is the best gift you can receive on this day.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 8:22 AM

"evangelizing her agenda"

Agreed.

But this is her blog, right?

I suppose we can only hope for guys like Fred and Chris and FO4 to make it interesting for us when the topic is one-sided

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 8:23 AM

Actually, what my sainted mother really told me about dresses is that I don't have the legs for it!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 8:26 AM

Leslie,

I think you are getting a lot of cr*p because it wouldn't have taken much for you to have written your questions in a more inclusive manner. I'm sure this blog will diverge in topics just like all the rest, but that doesn't mean you should draft entries with such a narrow focus. I'm sure you could have seen the criticisms coming from a mile away...

Just my 2 cents...

Obviously, being a good role model as a parent is equally important to both sons and daughters. For me as a working parent, the balance is how to set good examples (and limits) even though I'm not around from 9-5. I struggle with this because when I get home, I want to play and have fun with DS. I don't want to discipline - though I force myself to do it despite the temper tantrum that ensues immediately after.

Posted by: londonmom | May 9, 2007 8:27 AM

I think that it is hard not to be a woman and be hard on yourself these days. Be the perfect mother, be the perfect wife, work your a$$ off, but do it with a smile and a warm plate of cookies at the end of the day. All the while, makeing sure that you don't step on anyone's toes or be un-PC about anything.

Please, kids need to see that mommy isn't perfect. While I don't think you should constantly be screaming "I suck," kids need to know that you aren't perfect and that they shouldn't try to be perfect either. It's okay to say that you are having a bad day or that you messed something up, as long as they know that you are going to try again tomorrow.

Like this blog for example, if I had to be Leslie everyday on this blog, i'd go insane from the negative remarks about nothing.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 8:29 AM

Guys, the topic can't include everyone everyday. I am usually interested in the topic and she almost never writes about feminist Italian-American women married to Irish-American men who have two incomes, no kids, and two dogs. Most of these topics can apply to your parents, your friends, your wife, your husband, etc., so use your imagination. Or don't post.

I am always too hard on myself. I've gotten better being married a self-assured guy. He encourages me to be more assertive. I think it's very important for women to be confident as mothers or care givers. That's the best way to battle stereotypes. This ties into the discussion about women asking for raises and how girls are raised to be humble and not "toot their own horn."

Being humble and practicing humility are not bad characteristics. I think that lots of people could benefit from them. But when they come at a price (like self esteem), these characteristics should be reevaluated.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 8:29 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 8:31 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 08:31 AM

Isn't Mother's day on Sunday?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 8:35 AM

Nothing wrong with talking about mothers on mother's day, but I am curious Leslie why you only asked about being a role model for daughters. I'm just curious if you think (and the other bloggers think) that Mom's self-criticism rubs off on daughters but not sons.

I personally disagree, but I assume you referenced daughters instead of children for a reason...

Posted by: londonmom | May 9, 2007 8:35 AM

Today's topic is Mother's Day???

It's been the same topic all week. I seem to remember Mother's Day being one day.....not an entire week.

BTW, the same goes for Father's Day. It's one day.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 8:36 AM

It's probably a small and silly thing, but one of the things I've been doing since I had kids is to try to get over my sheer-terror-fear of the dentist. I actually went for 5 years without going because of this stupid fear, a big mistake. My kids go every 6 months like clockwork and I have worked really, really hard to overcome this fear and be able to display a positive attitude (instead of a chalk-pale face showing teeth gritted in horror) for my kids when we go to the dentist.

Probably not what you were looking for, but that's okay.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 9, 2007 8:37 AM

"My two daughters, ages 8 and 5, came running from their rooms. They both said, "Mommy, you don't do a terrible job at anything!""

Leslie,

Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 8:44 AM

WorkingMomX

Great example of a woman puttting herself down -

"It's probably a small and silly thing, "

No, it's not. It's a big deal to FACE YOUR FEARS, and if even if isn't, SO WHAT?

"Probably not what you were looking for,"

Again, SO WHAT?? This is the NET, who cares??

Posted by: Thomasina | May 9, 2007 8:50 AM

'Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"'

Yeah, although it will actually be more like: "Mom (or perhaps even addressing you by your first name), you're such a b!tch! How could you do this to me?! You've totally ruined my life!"

All over something trivial like not allowing her to go to the mall or a social function.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 8:54 AM

Holy cow, Leslie, they are all over you today.

I think the mother-daugher bond is an incredibly interesting topic. I see how my wife tends to "blame" her mother for things and while her father is a near-saint. I also see how my daughter really needs focused one-on-one with my wife. I see how my mother, who had no daughters, embraces my wife and has a very special place in her heart for her granddaughter. There are entire books on this topic, so I don't think making it a blog topic for one day is some sort of ridiculous exclusion.

I'm sure we'll cover father-son relationships and the very interesting dynamic of what you learn and what you give to the child who is not your gender.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 9, 2007 8:55 AM

Fred,

I don't know how old you are, but you didn't need good legs for skirts before about 1964.
_____

I have sons, and I was just going to lurk today...but I changed my mind. Why is it so important to model for girls, and not for boys? Where do you think little boys learn how to behave toward little girls, anyway?

I have ALWAYS thought it was important to teach the boys to respect women. They give me grief, of course, but they see me working, and being the available parent (STBX wasn't much help in THAT department), and having opinions, and not kow-towing (sp?) to a man, and not hiding the fact that I'm fairly intelligent.

Plus, they pitch in at home; they each clean their own rooms (which includes changing the sheets, not leaving clothes all over the floor, dusting and vacuuming), and they clean their own bathroom, and clean the basement, because it's their hangout area -- AND they cut the grass too. They certainly don't see me as a drudge slave to their every whim.

I was the the strict one; I demanded a lot from them, and put up with very little nonsense (unless it was funny, then I laughed about it while I grounded them). STBX was lazy. He never supported me with discipline. He was always sleeping it off or nursing a 'headache' when he managed to come home at all. Guess who they respect more.

So when son #2 quotes from 'Ron Burgundy' (it's science!), I tell him that I hope he marries someone just like me!

Mothers of sons, unite! We can change the world, one little boy at a time!

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 9:02 AM

Not exactly on topic but I think that mothers can have a great influence on their sons too. They can learn from their mothers how to talk to women and, more importantly, how to listen to women.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 9:05 AM

I bring home the bacon...
Fry it up in a pan...
Set a good example for my children...
And when they're in bed, I strip for my man...
I am woman! Wooo!

Posted by: Hmmm... | May 9, 2007 9:06 AM

This IS an interesting topic however it's a topic that has been discussed over and over again. Balance means equally weight on all sides. Pulling the "woman" topic out every chance she gets makes her want most women don't want to be. A complainer. Just go back and look at the last 20 posts of hers and you'll see what I mean just from their titles. This past week has been especially one-sided.

Being hard on ourselves is part of how we advance in life. Self improvement comes from course correction.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 9:06 AM

I only have a son...so I no need to set no examples!

Posted by: I'm off the hook... | May 9, 2007 9:06 AM

Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? No, you need to be harder on yourself for being hard on yourself about being hard on yourself; in other words, stop before we add another layer of being hard on yourself.
Are you too hard on yourself? Yes and no. The iron discipline with which I rule my life leaves me crushed and empty insi...aww, who am I kidding, I'm a slacker at heart who realizes that I save energy by doing something right the first time. No biggie.
Are most women? No, neither are most people. Why? Look at the general population and their instant gratification mentality. I can has cheezburger! NOW! I mean, even David Hasselhoff gets his Wendy's.
How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom? Well, as I am a guy, I obviously don't have this problem- furthermore, obviously men are not supposed to fill this role. Society teaches us we are here to serve as a barrier to happiness in women, and encouraging their self-loathing habits as they cry and run screaming for the tubs of ice-cream... no. really. Ok, not really... Hypothetically, you can say "look at me, I am a wreck, you don't want to be like me. Don't make the same mistakes. Maybe don't encourage them to be hard on themselves, but instead encourage wisdom so that no matter what they are faced with they will try to do the right thing. This of course is more difficult than inspiring through fear of failure or "discipline," but the payoffs are greater, as they will be better able to take care of themselves in this crazy world.

Lastly (for now), if you don't feel good about yourself for one reason or other, sitting around in self-pitty doesn't make it any better. Do something positive- and that doesn't mean instant gratification positive. Whether it is getting a new hobby, making new friends, volunteering to improve the community, working out, quitting smoking, or something, do it and take strength from each new accomplishment. Dwelling on the what ifs and failures of the past does not lead to progress. Of course, if you are an elitist, you probably don't need any more drive, so dwell on the failures a little more and give the rest of a chance to catch up. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 9:07 AM

Did educmom just bash Fred?

Go get her Fred!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:10 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 9:10 AM

"You also have to have a daughter. Moms with boys I guess don't have to worry about what kind of example they are setting for them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 07:51 AM "

I disagree with you - moms DO have to worry about the example they set for thier boys. If you wait on them and let them treat you like &^%^, that is how they'll learn to treat their future wife. If they see you as a strong, individual woman, that is what they'll look for in a future spouse.

I think the best example you can provide your children (boys and girls) is to model the type of person you want them to be or let them treat you the way they should treat other women. It is also important to live a fulfilled life. Before you guys go off on me about being selfish, our children know when we are not happy. I saw it in my mother (a frustrated SAHM) and chose a different path (self-employment). My family is important to me, but so is using my own brain. I know they benefit from that example.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 9, 2007 9:14 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

Kids pounding on the door or yelling right outside of it are pretty disruptive.

This is just too far, folks. What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview? The fact that in your household a different solution would have been optimal is immaterial. These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:15 AM

"...more importantly, how to listen to women."

and listen, and listen, and listen, and listen... j/k. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 9:15 AM

Now we got a party! Fred AND Chris are here!!

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 9:17 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

Kids pounding on the door or yelling right outside of it are pretty disruptive.

This is just too far, folks. What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview? The fact that in your household a different solution would have been optimal is immaterial. These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:15 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 9:17 AM

No, no, no!
I'm sure Fred had FANTABULOUS legs!!
In fact, maybe his mom was...jealous! Yeaaaah, that's the ticket!

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 9:19 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM
Oh please, her kids are 5-10 years old. Supportive to a child is saying thanks, your good at something. Basically most kids are self centered and want immediate gratification. But I bet you will go and tell us you are raising perfect children.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 9:20 AM

"They can learn from their mothers how to talk to women and, more importantly, how to listen to women."

There are two fundamental theories for dealing with women.

Neither works.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:20 AM

**has, not had

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 9:20 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM
Oh please, her kids are 5-10 years old. Supportive to a child is saying thanks, your good at something. Basically most kids are self centered and want immediate gratification. But I bet you will go and tell us you are raising perfect children.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:20 AM

Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers.

Posted by: TO: Adoptee | May 9, 2007 9:21 AM

"What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview?"

Cause the parents shouldn't have to "team up", the kids should have been taught BASIC MANNERS years ago!!

"These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them."

That's right!! I wouldn't know how to handle these spoiled brats at all!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:21 AM

"What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview?"

--------------------------------------

Apparently, it didn't work if she thought she did a bad job. Whether she did, or not, though...is a different story.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:23 AM

One of the most important jobs as mother is to be an example for my sons. On the silly side of examples, I'm not a girlie girl. To date, the boys are not attracted to girlie girls. High maintenance women earn disdain. The oldest married an extremely competent woman. They are creating a partnership. I would like to think seeing a partnership cast in love in their parents is one reason.

On a more serious side of examples, the boys see their mother engaging the world. Whether working or non-working, I've never been a do-nothing. I create and follow passions.

Another somewhat-silly example, the boys also see their mother freak out emotionally on occasion. Learning to deal with me when I'm at the mercy of my hormones is a good thing.

So Leslie, you're right. Fathers can also talk about lessons learned from their moms (like Fred did...darn it Fred, I hope I taught my sons the same thing).

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 9:24 AM

Leslie, in spite of the criticism, I think this is a great topic and something that I think our generation worries about more than our mothers did. My mom and I get along great but my brother's relationship with her is oddly strained - and he's closer to our dad than I am. This seems reversed from most "adult children" I know.

I feel a great deal of pressure to be a good model for both my sons and daughter in similar but not identical ways. There's more pressure, I think, with respect to the daughter. I'm short and not naturally thin (and have thyroid disease) and so I've struggled throughout my life with body image issues and had a pretty significant eating disorder in my early 20's. I am very conscious of not making self-critical comments around my kids and I try very hard to promote positive self-image for all three. I've resumed running and feel stronger, fitter, and thinner than I have in years and I think they can tell that being athletic makes me happy. It's been fun to have the children cheer me and my husband on as we've completed goals like a half-marathon and see how excited they are for us as we get closer to our marathon. Food choices are a big deal - my ex and his wife are not healthy - they are obese and eat a lot of junk food. We try to model good eating habits, healthy food choices and yes, indulge in occasional treats. But I worry about *everything* - my family has a history of alcoholism so I also am very conscious of how often and what our kids see us drink. I worry about teaching them the value of community service but not at the expense of family time. It's a balance and a constant struggle - what we model to our kids is so much of who they will become. Being a firm believer in the "do as I do, not as I say" adage, having kids has also made me wear a helmet while biking and skiing, made me try new things, made me aware of how to teach tolerance. When you see your actions reflected back at you from your kids, I think you become very aware of the person you are and the person you want to be.

Posted by: Stacey | May 9, 2007 9:24 AM

Those those who are blaming Leslie and her husband's parenting skills for the way the kids were supposedly acting outside the door, you need to back off. That has no merit and is just mean and gutless.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 9:27 AM

"Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers."

Messages to daughter:
-- marry well
-- there is ONE way to raise a family
-- it is fine to think you are better than other people
-- it is good to be judgemental

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 9, 2007 9:27 AM

my my my, aren't you being judgemental this morning! Someone spike your wheaties or something? There is no reason to bring up day care as part of your rebuttal. your post is troll in the making

Posted by: to to adoptee at 9:21 | May 9, 2007 9:28 AM

Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers.

Posted by: TO: Adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:21 AM
Being judgemental is a wonderful thing to teach a child. I bet your kids are as respectful of other people as you are.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 9:30 AM

I think it's about changing how we talk around the little sponges. It's easy to stop swearing, but it harder to change "I did terribly" to "That was hard, but I did my best."

And this is about fathers and sons. It's about everyone respecting everyone so we can all grow up to respectful of everyone. Very profound, I know. ;)

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 9:32 AM

Good Lord, folks -- it's so difficult to extrapolate from mothers and daughters to fathers and daughters or mothers and sons? Are you looking for a reason to get PO'd?

And why would it be so bad to talk about mothers and daughters anyway? I am the most powerful influence in my daughter's life, just as my husband is the most powerful influence in our son's life. Not to undercut the importance of the cross-gender bonds, but my daughter's primary source of information about what it means to be a woman is ME. And that is a tremendous privilege and a grave responsibility.

Having a daughter made me very aware of a lot of my own insecurities and issues, and made me very determined to try to shield my daughter from them. I want her to have the best, fullest life possible, which is hard to do if you spend your entire teenage and college years (as I did) fixated on being fat. Now I wonder how much fun I missed because I was fixated on stuff that didn't matter. I never once owned a little red dress, or miniskirt, or sexy shoes, or learned how to flirt, because I didn't think I had the figure to pull it off, so it was better not to try than to be rejected. Now I see how cute and skinny I was and think, what the heck was I thinking?? True "D'Oh!" moment.

So if I can protect my daughter from that kind of limiting self-doubt, that's my highest priority. And I know she watches everything I do (I tend to wander aimlessly while on the phone, so now she marches intently around the house while talking). Which means I have to act the part. So I've dropped any kind of negative comments about my weight or my looks from my vocabulary.

Food is also a big thing in our family; I was a very picky eater and prefer bad foods, which is another thing that has limited me. So I cook healthy foods in moderation at home, teach her about healthy eating and good food choices, and praise her for trying new things.

The biggest thing we deal with is her perfectionism -- she needs to do everything perfectly, have everything in its place, be right all the time, and she beats herself up over really stupid stuff. So I also let her know when I've missed something up, or make a joke out of it, so she sees that no one is perfect, and we love her even when she messes up. But boy, is it baby steps -- she used to break down if she spilled her drink; now she just says "uh-oh" and goes to get a paper towel to clean it up with.

I worry about this most with food, since you put those perfectionist/control tendencies together with teenage years, and anorexia isn't that far off (and if there is a genetic link, well, my mom had it, so that's a possibility, too). Which is why I make sure that any time we talk about food, it's in the context of being healthy and strong and having energy to do the things she wants, and having fun trying new things -- NOT about dieting or being skinny or looking pretty. But teaching her about moderation in ANYTHING is a continuing struggle.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 9:36 AM

Speaking as a husband of one wife and father of three daughters (and one son):


Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women? Why?

DW is. I wish she'd realize that the girls - especially the 18-year old, about-to-be-high-school-graduate-and-
college-student, aren't perfect and it's not her "fault".
Mostly she's fine with it, but every once in a while, whooo....

How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom?

By setting an example.

And by fighting your own fights - don't drag anybody else into them.

Last night, I was cooking dinner as DW and 18-year-old DD come home from the store in the middle of a raging fight. DD wants to go see a movie that's rated R. DW is dead set against it. Personally, I'd never heard of the movie, don't know what it's about, don't know why it's rated R, etc.

DD: "Dad, she's being totally unreasonable. I want to see this movie with my friends. I'm 18. Tell her it's okay for me to go."

DW: "NO!!! Tell her right now that she's not going to see that trash and corrupt her mind while she's living in this house."

Me: Um, dinner will be ready in 30 minutes, and ...

DD and DW, simultaneously: "I knew it you're on her side! I've had it." (Sounds of two doors slamming within a second of each other.)

THAT's what Leslie and her husband have to look forward to. :-)

(Venting? Who, me? Nah, why would I do that?)

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM

I think kids SHOULD believe their parents are perfect. Something should be rock solid in this confusing unpredictable world.

Once my kids were raging about Grandpa's lack of business acumen - he was selling a car, and my 13 y.o. son found him a buyer. Instead, Grandpa sold it for a hundred dollars less to a guy he liked better. Great. That was a hundred bucks my son expected as a commission. So, the kids are complaining, and I ask - what about us? Are you talking the same way behind our back, second-guessing our decisions? Both DS and DD look at me with an expression of great surpise: "You? You guys are smart!". That's when I knew our job was done. They won't suffer fools gladly, and they can tell the difference. Fast forward 10 years, the son is an AF pilot, the daughter got an MS in architecture and became a real estate developer.

We SHOULD tell our children that there is perfection in life, and they should strive for it. We ourselves should do our damn best. Never give up, never fish for a compliment, saying "I was so bad, wasn't I?". Show them that we make mistakes, but we don't think it's OK. We regroup and correct our mistakes, and we don't relax until it's done.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 9:41 AM

"It's about everyone respecting everyone so we can all grow up to respectful of everyone."

It is this kind of hippy communism that leads to people singing an off-key politically correct version of kumbaya to terrorists. j/k, again (surprise) ;-P

I was raised to follow the golden rule, but also to not blindly expect everyone else to follow it.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 9:42 AM

"Well, as I am a guy, I obviously don't have this problem- furthermore, obviously men are not supposed to fill this role. Society teaches us we are here to serve as a barrier to happiness in women, and encouraging their self-loathing habits as they cry and run screaming for the tubs of ice-cream... no. really."

Chris, how did I know this was you? :-) Thanks for the first laugh of the day. Followed shortly thereafter by Fred's legs and Army Brat -- most excellent.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM

Laura,

Good Job! You are teaching your daughter how to respect herself, but when she gets in school and learn that the other kids don't respect her you'll learn that you forgot to teach her about how others will see her and that image at that age is everything. Hope you have a way to pay for her therapy.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM

Army Brat- that's a good story. I got a good chuckle out of it. I think it is a story about teaching and then learning to let go.

18 and not allowed to see an R rated movie? I don't know what movie but seeings as she is 18 and legally an adult, that is one of the choices she should be able to make by herself by now. I didn't say she should see it, but I would like to believe she should know how to make that simple decision.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 9:46 AM

Army Brat, good story!
I hope you at leaast managed to enjoy your meal.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 9:47 AM

I think this is an absolutely amazing topic. Leslie, you have had eating disorder issues in the past, correct? I think that has A LOT to do with you second guessing yourself- always having that voice in your head that you're not good enough.

In all honesty, the vast majority of women I know have food issues and body issues. This is an incredibly confusing time to be raising daughters. Hyper sexualization, anorexic starlets,...I do not want my daughter to grow up feeling awful about herself all the time.

Not to say it's not difficult to raise a boy, but I think most parents will tell you that raising a healthy girl with high self esteem is VERY hard.The emotions and hormones are so overwhelming for so many girls.

I think it's a great topic.

Good things I do:
I stayed home, then went back to work- hopefully showing her that I think motherhood and family is just as important as being independent and in a career.

Not talk about how fat I feel: I focus on being healthy and staying fit, which we do as a family.

Always talk about her body in a strong way- look at those muscles, all of those veggies grow strong bones, etc...

Things I do wrong:

I get frustrated with clothing sometimes- I'm hourglass and it's tough to find pants that fit. I'm always getting them tailored and pulling and fixing...

I read US Weekly (ack!)

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 9, 2007 9:49 AM

Off topic:

David Hasselhoff can has cheezburger!

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 9:52 AM

Leslie, a hug to you today. A very nice post, and kudos to you for sharing an unselfconfident moment with us readers.

I have a son (he's almost 2) and do sometimes worry about how I act and what he is picking up.

Actually, one thing I've been thinking about is how my husband likes to tease me (his nature -- he does it to everyone he loves) and how my son will react to that before he kind of "gets it."

How will my relationship with my husband (which I consider a wonderful one, but still with issues, as with all relationships), affect my son's choice of a girlfriend, wife (or if he is gay, partner)?

What if he consistently brings home women I think are horrible? Does that mean I've screwed up somehow? It will be interesting to see, in 15 years or so!

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 9:53 AM

Chris - hey, it meant more for me! I don't have body image problems - I know I'm overweight; that's life.

Dotted: I figure it this way. She goes to the movies with her friends; I don't check her ticket stub when she gets home. If she gets home on time, with the car in one piece, no alcohol on her breath, and no sign of drugs, I'm pretty happy.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 9:57 AM

My son knows I'm not perfect. He sees my foibles too frequently. No one would mistake me for June Cleaver. Our house is not neat as a pin. The other day, I found myself doing laundry at the last minute so that my son would have a clean soccer uniform by 9:00 AM. As we were waiting for it to dry, I apologized for being so unorganized. He said, "Don't worry, Mommy. I like putting my clothes on when they are warm out of the dryer. That's my favorite thing."

Which made me realize that kids don't expect perfection. Mostly, they need love and stability. They need healthy food, a roof over their heads, an education, and some fun. Everything else is optional.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 9:57 AM

Army Brat:

You should have applied the 'standard' Solomon-Dad strategy of making both miserable: Tell them that DD *must* watch the movie *with* DW.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:00 AM

Wow, Mike C, thanks for the oh-so-helpful comments. So your solution is what exactly? Teach her that "image is everything," and that being accepted by other people is the Most Important Thing? Then what do I do when she discovers that she CAN'T please everyone all the time?

I figure if I'm saving for therapy one way or the other, I'll at least start with the values that are important to me: i.e., that people who believe "image is everything" aren't worth the time and energy you spend trying to please them.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 10:01 AM

"They need healthy food, a roof over their heads, an education, and some fun. Everything else is optional."

You forgot Legos. Boys need Legos. Lots and lots of Legos. Enough Legos that you invariably step on loose pieces in bare feet in the early morning [which also provides children with an introduction to profanity].

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:07 AM

Army Brat - If I didn't know better, I would think that you live in my house :)

"Army Brat- that's a good story. I got a good chuckle out of it. I think it is a story about teaching and then learning to let go.

18 and not allowed to see an R rated movie? I don't know what movie but seeings as she is 18 and legally an adult, that is one of the choices she should be able to make by herself by now. I didn't say she should see it, but I would like to believe she should know how to make that simple decision."

Ok - I agree with this to a point. If she is 18, she may legally be an adult, but this child/woman is still in high school and still a dependent child. Should she be allowed to stay out all night after Prom because she is 'legally an adult'? Should she be allowed to smoke in the house because she is 'legally an adult'? Should she be allowed to spend the night with a boyfriend, either at his home or hers, because she is 'legally an adult'? At 18, yes, young adults make their decisions whether or not they are going to do these things (the daughter could go to the movies without permission and just say she is somewhere else, or seeing a different movie). The parents are the ones who set the standards, moral and otherwise, for a family. Whether or not others agree, or the child is legally an adult is really beside the point.

My 19-year-old wants to have co-ed sleepovers which we will not allow in our home. She also wants to set her own curfew. We have told her that if she doesn't follow the rules in our house, she can leave. We pay for food, shelter, college, car ins, some clothing, cell phone, etc. She does work part-time (college student) and is responsible for gas, fun money, some college expenses. Legally, she is old enough to do what she wants, but we have set the level of expected behavior in our house and expect her to be respectful of that.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:08 AM

Laura -- you sound great. I'm sure he's doing this already, but in the quest to manage food, body image, etc. make sure your husband is helping -- by making sure your daughter hears him tell you are beautiful always. Plus, it's nice for you to hear this too, huh? You sure can't please everyone, but it's important that the people who really matter to you appreciate you and demonstrate it.

Posted by: Arington Dad | May 9, 2007 10:09 AM

Laura,

Teacher her balance. Teacher her that it's ok to be herself, others may see it as bad but that doesn't make it bad.

Sounds like your method is to let yourself go and hope for the best.

That's what I am saying exactly.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 10:10 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie

Perhaps she meant, "TODAY'S topic is Mother's Day." What does it mean to you?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:11 AM

Apparently my lack of happiness with my nose and body shape has caused self-esteem issues with my now 17 year old son per the ex. The reasoning being that since my son and I look alike; and I don't like things about my appearance; hence, these same things are wrong with his appearance and I've messed with his self-esteem.

I'd never looked at it that way..... mothers have to be careful about everything apparently.

Posted by: C.W. | May 9, 2007 10:14 AM

anon at 10:08
I didn't say she should see the movie. In fact I like the solomon approach noted earlier of forcing both to see the movie together. I said she is old enough to make the decision herself. R is 17 and under by the way. It isn't like it is illegal. She is 18, an adult and legally able to see R rated movies. Therefore, comparing to drinking, coed sleepovers, etc. is inappropriate.


Army Brat - I know what you mean. I had another talk with my son just last night about prom night, drinking, after prom, etc. He is 16. We said no after prom. He isn't happy about that, but as a sophomore asked to go by a junior girl, I believe it is okay to set that limit.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 10:14 AM

"Legally, she is old enough to do what she wants, but we have set the level of expected behavior in our house and expect her to be respectful of that."

I agree that you can set the rules in your own house, but being too controlling can backfire. When I was in college, my parents thought they had a right to control my every move, and even gave me an 11 pm curfew. I put up with it for a while, but after a year, I got sick of it and rebelled. They pulled out the "our house, our rules" card, and I couldn't disagree with that, so I moved out. I had a full scholarship, and made arrangements to live at school over the summer and work. They were horrified when I told them I was not coming back for the summer, and would not be coming back on breaks either. I never went back home to live, and our relationship was strained for a long time, until they finally figured out that I was an adult and began to treat me as one.

Posted by: Suzan | May 9, 2007 10:16 AM

Changing the topic: what I learned from my mother (who isn't "sainted" like Fred's because, well, she's not dead yet):

- how to work hard to support the family (you can't really support a family on an Army NCO's pay, at least not in the '50s and '60s. Mom was a teacher who almost always worked while I was growing up.)

- how to take care of the family by herself when she had to (the Army sent Dad to Korea by himself for a year, and Vietnam by himself for 14 months).

- how to be true to yourself, and not compromise your own values and standards (got the same lessons from Dad; they were a good team)

- how to throw a curve (hey, Dad was in Vietnam; somebody had to teach me. The only problem was that I'm lefthanded and she's not. To this day I can't throw a curve lefty, but using my right hand, as the expression goes, you can stand behind a tree 60 feet six inches away and I'll whomp you to death.)

Which reminds me - gotta get the Mother's Day package in the mail. The kids made her a bunch of home-made cookies and decorated them; gotta get them in the mail to North Carolina today or they aren't going to make it.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 10:19 AM

dotted,

How is the after prom handled at your son's school? At my nephews school they ride on buses and go to an event for the night that is chaperoned by parents. Then, they take them back to school in the morning so they can go home. I agree that I would be worried if it is a free for all and the kids can leave and run wild though.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 10:20 AM

Dotted - the high school's "after prom" was to take over an entertainment complex - "Dave and Buster's" - all-night. She went to the prom then went to that. Once they entered the "after-prom" party, they weren't allowed to leave until it ended at 0600, after which the chances of getting into too much trouble were diminished. Other schools in the county take over movie theaters, indoor swimming pools, or similar places. The events are chaperoned - by parents who do NOT have kids attending the prom, which I think is a good thing - and seem to work well.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 10:23 AM

You know, when I was in high school, it wasn't uncommon at all to hear girls saying, "Oh, I totally failed that exam! I just know I did!" "I did terribly on that presentation!" It was a way of bonding with other girls; when Girl A said, "I did such an awful job!" it was a clear signal for Girls B, C, and D to reply in chorus, "Oh, no you didn't! You did so well! WE are the ones who did terribly!"

I haven't seen this behavior much in adult women, and when I do, it stands out as unpleasant and immature. Almost all the adult women I know are hard on themselves in that they want to keep striving to better themselves, their careers, their causes; they don't engage in pointless, rhetorical, "Oh, I totally screwed that up!"

I think that men and women can both set an excellent example for sons and daughters by continuing to strive to reach goals and by saying "I totally kicked ass on that interview/presentation/brief" when one did in fact kick ass. It's not vain or jerky or conceited to be proud of succeeding at something.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 9, 2007 10:23 AM

My mother used to beat the bejeezus out of us depending on her whims and moods. She used one of those wooden paddles you get with a ball and rubber band, pull off the ball and whack us with it. One time my brother hid the paddle so she got anohter one and beat him with it for hiding the first one. Don't get within an arm's length of her because she'd reach out and slap us in the face. She also read my sister's diary and beat her when she came home from dates, especially her school prom. I never dated in high school because I didn't want to get beaten, too. Actually, she was angry at our father and took it out on the kids.

Ah, yes, Martyr's Day -- we get to choose her nursing home.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:28 AM

'Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"'

Yeah, although it will actually be more like: "Mom (or perhaps even addressing you by your first name), you're such a b!tch! How could you do this to me?! You've totally ruined my life!"

All over something trivial like not allowing her to go to the mall or a social function.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 08:54 AM

Don't forget the follow-up question, "Mom, can you drive me and [friend] to the mall?"

Within the same paragraph, of course!

(Just say no)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

Wow, Leslie, some people are really being negative this morning. I get it that you're talking about moms because Mothers' Day is coming up and I'm sure there will be a Fathers' Day post in June too. And though I am gender-neutral about a lot of things, I do think we learn many of our ideas about gender from our parents: the way they experience their own gender and the way they interact with ours.

Both of my parents are critical people, especially of themselves. My mother also tried hard to instil a more uncritical sense of acceptance in her children. The mixed message I got from her was "I love you just the way you are, but please learn to sing better/ have better manners/ help out more/ do your hair properly/ etc and I will love you more." For her, being a woman meant being subject to all kinds of expectations around appearance and accomplishment, and in her world men were exempt.

As a result my brothers are pretty free of the perfectionism that defines me.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

"That's when I knew our job was done. . . . Fast forward 10 years, the son is an AF pilot, the daughter got an MS in architecture and became a real estate developer."

I applaud the career accomplishments of your children. On the other hand, we will only know that we did our job well as parents if our kids grow up to be adults who love and accept themselves, are curious and caring, have integrity, courage, honesty and a strong sense of values. They may choose to have no children or six, be unemployed musicians or CEOs. Those choices will not tell me if I did my job.

If you consider your parenting to be validated because your children have successful careers, you might want to consider the messages you are sending and whether they are consistent with the values you purport to hold dear.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

At 6:15 a.m. I'm up, dressed and on the way to work. You have the luxury of doing an interview OVER THE PHONE FROM YOUR BEDROOM. Slacker.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:31 AM

At 6:15 a.m. I'm up, dressed and on the way to work. You have the luxury of doing an interview OVER THE PHONE FROM YOUR BEDROOM. Slacker.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:31 AM

Or maybe you're a SUCKER!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

Geez -- talk about navel-gazing.

Leslie may not have done a terrible job on her 6:40 a.m. interview, but she did a truly terrible job writing today's column.

It's like something you'd come up with while doing the hot rollers in the bathroom at 6:40 a.m.

Perhaps, in honor of the bloated, freakish, guilt-inducing, commercial extravaganza that is Mother's Day, we should talk about how NOT to take ourselves so seriously.

Posted by: What a Trip | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

"No, no, no!
I'm sure Fred had FANTABULOUS legs!!
In fact, maybe his mom was...jealous! Yeaaaah, that's the ticket!"

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 09:19 AM

No, my legs are hairy. My sainted mother is the second most beautiful woman in the world, Frieda, of course, is first!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

I think Leslie posted this because of the tendency of women in America to apologize too much and critizice themselves too much.
It is a self-defeating culturally-learned behavior.
One thing to teach kids is that you must not let others turn your concientiousness (spell-checkers, please criticize) be turned against you. Others may try to focus on your small failings to make you feel incompetent, so they can control you. We need to teach daugthers (sons) not to let that happen.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | May 9, 2007 10:40 AM

Leslie - I'm sure it gets frustrating for you to have to see negative posts. What you may not realize is that your blog comes across as being focused on the lives of upper-class white women, almost exclusively. What might work a little better is to re-read your posts before you submit them, and just ask yourself - what would a man, a poor person, a widower/divorcee, or anyone different than me think when they read this. Might help, and some of us might feel less excluded.

Posted by: jj | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM

"You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... "

Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM

Lighten up people, everyone just needs to admit we are jealous of Leslie's elite ability to get paid to write a couple of paragraphs on anything, ask a couple questions to get comments, and call it a day. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:47 AM

SAHMbacktowork

Yes, Leslie had an eating disorder and was a battered wife.

There probably still remain some scars.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:49 AM

Lighten up people, everyone just needs to admit we are jealous of Leslie's elite ability to get paid to write a couple of paragraphs on anything, ask a couple questions to get comments, and call it a day. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:47 AM

Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:50 AM

"You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... "

Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie.


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM
If you think Leslie has nothing to say, why do you read this blog?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 10:51 AM

"If you think Leslie has nothing to say, why do you read this blog?"

I think she has plenty to say - I just don't think she's the goddess that you do.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:52 AM

"Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie."

To anonymous @ 10:46 --

Your use of the phrase "constant sucking up" suggests that you regard Leslie as an authority figure.

Do you have some kind of impress-the-boss hangup yourself?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:53 AM

How does it feel to be an official a-hat? You must be a cum laude graduate of the School of Pointless Pettiness and Mean Spiritedness. Congratulations!!

Posted by: To anon at 10:46 | May 9, 2007 10:53 AM

I hope the men on this board don't count themselves out too early in the game. I am almost always left out of the conversation, at least in terms of my personal life, because I don't have kids. But I can contribute to this conversation by remarking on the difference my mother made in my life, as can all of you. And I personally love hearing your opinions. So, since you can't offer how you have influenced your daughter as a mother, tell us how your mom influenced you?

My own mother, I kind of have mixed feelings about. I adore her--she is, in a way, my best friend, and in some ways I admire her strength. But in other ways I have a hard time understanding why she does what she does. For example, she's a strong woman, but she's always relied on a man for her upkeep. When she divorced my dad, she married my stepdad. Now that she's separated from him, she's got a boyfriend who she says will "take care of her." My mother is not the gold-digging type--she just doesn't like to work very hard. She's somewhat low maintenance, but she expects her husband to finance things she couldn't afford herself if she were alone: trips abroad, nice clothing, jewelry, classes she takes solely for emotional fulfillment and not for her career, etc. (Note: stepdad is not innocent here, either, and can spend outside of his means as well.) I have received some very extravagant gifts from BF, but I know if he were to leave me at any time, I'd survive and not try to replace him. And while right now I can hardly afford necessities, I have a plan of action that will allow me to become self-sufficient in the long run, and not searching for a boyfriend in my fifties.

My mom has taught me to find beauty and love in the world, and she's taught me to stand up for myself and demand respect. She didn't, however, teach me self-sufficiency or responsibility. So now I'm torn between the reality I've made for myself, the future I want for myself, and the free spirit I inherited from her that is not anchored very well in reality.

Will I say any of this on Mother's Day, though? I think you know the answer. I keep these feelings to myself (mostly), because it's my responsibility to build the life I want for myself, and just because chanting mantras and reading tarot cards all day sounds nice, it won't give me the life I want, and that's not her fault.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 10:54 AM

I think kids SHOULD believe their parents are perfect. Something should be rock solid in this confusing unpredictable world.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:41 AM

But . . . their parents are not perfect. What's the point of losing your children's trust and confidence by encouraging belief in something they are sure to discover is untrue? That only makes you a perfect liar. Striving for perfection is a laudable goal. Claiming you're already there is for those with a Messiah complex or the mentally unstable.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

Read the first few posts and wow people -- lighten up a bit -- anyway -- I have an bad habit of always saying to my daughter "you are so pretty." and to my son I say, "you are so smart." I dont know why I do this -- but I do. So I have been striving to say to both of them "you are so smart." Some days are easier :) And some days I cant say it to either one (FYI-- that was a joke)

Posted by: Marie | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

"Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous."

If you were truly not jealous, you wouldn't have responded to Chris's silly comment.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

In recent weeks I have gone from a full-time worker bee to a stay at home mom. I have been a faithful reader of On Balance for quite a while now, but have not blogged because of my own balance struggles juggling FT work, family, etc. I have really been looking forward to joining the discussions.

It is very disheartening for me to have to wade through all the negative Leslie bashing to read the meaningful responses to today's topic. I may be a stay at home mom now, but my time available to enjoy this blog is still limited.

If today's topic is not of interest to you or does not meet your expectations for the blog, why not just get on with your day?

Posted by: 8:57AM MDT | May 9, 2007 10:57 AM

I don't think she is a goddess either. The turth of the matter is none of us even know Leslie. We only the know the few snap shots that she is brave enough to share with the public.
But if you can't respect that fact that few people go to Harvard, Wharton, and write a book, you are just being dishonest with yourself. Or are you trying to tell us that you have done all those things? There is nothing wrong with admitting some people achieve things that others do not.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 10:57 AM

"...those with a Messiah complex or the mentally unstable." Generally those with a Messiah complex ARE unstable. However, they can get a tax break! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:58 AM

If y'all don't stop bashing Leslie today, I will give y'all two Cultural Tidbits of the Day and One Fred's Child Rearing Tip of the Day.

You will be sorry!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 10:58 AM

Ok, Mike C, I get your point now. I guess I just don't see where in my post it indicates that my parenting philosophy is to "let yourself go and hope for the best." Which is nowhere near close. What set you off on that? If you read the last half of my post, it was all about the struggle to teach moderation and balance to Little Miss Perfectionist.

But teaching balance is also inherently tricky when the messages coming from everywhere else are so one-sided. Our whole society tells girls that the most important thing is being pretty and thin (and having the coolest clothes and toys). Even at 6, my daughter is already hyper-aware of this, from commercials, from billboards, from what she sees on the street. She knows from her friends in school that she is already judged on what toys she has, what TV she watches, whether she's seen Spiderman 3, etc. Her only bulwark against that onslaught is a family that values her for who she is, not what she has or what she looks like. So we can't be 50/50, when it's 100% one-sided from everywhere else. It is my job to actively resist that pressure, and to give her the tools to do so -- to teach her that character and morals and values and inner beauty and behavior and good habits and health and good judgment are what really matters.

And it's not just about protecting her from the inevitable disappointments -- I don't want HER judging other people on such a superficial level, because that's a crappy way to go live your life. The fact is, she is thin and (I think) gorgeous, and we could buy her a lot of "stuff" -- it would be pretty easy to give in to the commercial pressures and turn her into a little princess who thinks that looking pretty and having the right clothes is the be-all and end-all of what matters as a person. But to my mind, those are the wrong values for going through life. So it's my job to teach her to focus on the right things (both with herself and others), and to give her the inner strength to stand up to a society that is constantly telling her that being pretty and skinny and having cool stuff is the most important thing.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM

My mother taught me how to relate to women as equals, and to respect them.

My mother taught me how to be kind and considerate.

My mother taught me that "women's work" is also "whoever is available's work".

My mother taught me to appreciate the hard work others do for you, and to let them know you appreciate it.

My mother taught me how to stretch a dollar, and how to make things last.

My mother taught me how to iron a shirt, how to cook, and how to make a bed.

My mother taught me to treat others as I'd like them to treat me, but at the same time to stand up for what I feel is right.

My mother taught me that violence against women is completely unacceptable, for any reason.

My mother has been gone for 30 years; I still miss her.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 11:01 AM

I think successful careers in the areas I mentioned tell a lot about internal drive, adventurous spirit and mental abilities of people. I can't care less how many children they have or what kind of partners they choose. But I certainly would be concerned if they became unemployed musicians. When they were growing up we told them that the world needs them, and they have responsibilities. By the way, I was also very solicituous of them, and if I took a business call and spent half an hour on the phone in the museum instead of talking about Monet, they would get profound apologies (and avoid a lecture!)

It's not only about the careers. If I said that my daughter became a cashier at Winn-Dixie I would have to wax and wane about her other great qualities. But if at 27 years old she can acquire 150 homes development and bring it from ground up, selling every one -- she doesn't need to prove her human or business skills. Incidentally, she recently married her boyfriend of 7 years. Great guy, great in-laws. Her MIL called her from the jewelry store asking for her opinion on the piece she was buying. Who can beat that?

Posted by: 9:41 AM | May 9, 2007 11:03 AM

"Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous."

If you were truly not jealous, you wouldn't have responded to Chris's silly comment.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

uh... no, 10:55, Ms. Armchair Psychologist. Sometimes I choose not to resist the urge to tell someone they've said something really stupid. Like you. Said something really stupid, I mean.

jealousy and the ability to separate fact from fiction are unrelated.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:04 AM

Where in the world did some of you get the idea that each and every topic here had to be directly relevant to YOUR life? This Blog is 5 days a week - is it so unbelievable/unacceptable that some of the topics might not apply to you? If Leslie wants to talk about mothers and daughters for one day, fine. If it doesn't interest you, don't check back in. In the alternative, apply the larger question (setting a role model for your children) to your own experiences, whether it be father-son, father-daughter, or mother-son. Is it so tough to figure this out on your own? Or is it that your day doesn't officially begin until you are rude or insulting to someone?

If Leslie's purported agenda irritates you so much, please feel free to stop reading and posting. The attack-mode mentality of many posters here is the least attractive aspect of thsi blog, and detracts from many legitimate discussions.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Posted by: Anon for this Post | May 9, 2007 11:05 AM

"Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous."

So there is some jealousy there!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:05 AM

Eating disorders are a rich girl's problems. Men who beat up on women send up red alerts long before you get so involved you can't get away. Obviously something in Leslie's background/childhood set her up for these things. Maybe she's had too much handed to her on a silver platter and never had to become a responsible adult. Read 'Queen Bees and Wannabees.' I think Leslie is a Queen Bee.

I only wish I had the money to go to Harvard and Wharton instead of working two jobs to go to night school.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:05 AM

John L, and Laura - Both lovely posts! Um, got something in my eye...

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 11:05 AM

I think I may cry after reading about your post.

Posted by: To John L | May 9, 2007 11:07 AM

foamgnome

"There is nothing wrong with admitting some people achieve things that others do not."

Frankly, with Leslie's DNA, background, almost unlimited opportunies, and lawyer daddy, I'd be pretty surprised if she didn't achieve some of the things she has.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:07 AM

"Eating disorders are a rich girl's problems."

Total BS. I got by with anorexia for years because I masked it with "Plain spaghetti for dinner AGAIN? I'm not hungry."

Seriously, plain spaghetti at least four nights a week when I was a kid. We considered Saltines a luxury.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 11:07 AM

"I think kids SHOULD believe their parents are perfect. Something should be rock solid in this confusing unpredictable world."

No, they should believe that their parents are RELIABLE. Perfection is impossible to live up and utterly defeating in the long run. Kids should know that their parents have warts and flaws. They should also be 100% certain that they can rely on those flawed human beings for help, comfort, understanding, and love.

Posted by: pittypat | May 9, 2007 11:08 AM

But if at 27 years old she can acquire 150 homes development and bring it from ground up, selling every one -- she doesn't need to prove her human or business skills.

Posted by: 9:41 AM | May 9, 2007 11:03 AM

That's right, folks. It's all about the money. As long as she's a successful real estate developer and salesperson, she doesn't need to prove she has any character or integrity. So much for the values of 11:03.

Another generation is raised to believe that career-success, as measured by the amount of money this daughter makes, equals character and happiness. Greed, greed, and greed = success.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:09 AM

to 10:38: No I am not a sucker. At least I can work to support myself, contribute to the tax base, and don't have to lay down and spread my legs to keep a roof over my head.

Posted by: 10:31 | May 9, 2007 11:10 AM

"I only wish I had the money to go to Harvard and Wharton instead of working two jobs to go to night school. "

If you had the brains, you wouldn't need the money. Harvard is one of those schools that is so well endowed that if you apply and are accepted, money isn't an issue. You would get aid if you couldn't afford it.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:10 AM

Leslie was a battered wife too?

Wow, self esteem issues abound- she must be trribly worried that her daughters will have the same fate as she...

Yes, she went to Harvard and Wharton, but she was MISERABLE and self loathing- abused by herself and another that she trusted?

Come on, cut her some slack. She'll always have these feelings- there's nothing wrong with not wanting her kids to live the same nightmare!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:13 AM

"It's not only about the careers. If I said that my daughter became a cashier at Winn-Dixie I would have to wax and wane about her other great qualities"

Why? I'm a cashier at Pic'n Save. I don't need any "other great qualities" to be loved by my Dad.

There is something weird and creepy about you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:13 AM

11:05am- If you're poor and can get into Harvard, there is a needs-based scholarship waiting for you. Have you TRIED to get into Harvard?

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:14 AM

"I only wish I had the money to go to Harvard and Wharton instead of working two jobs to go to night school. "
It is actually easier to finance most private colleges compared to state schools. Most private schools have need based admissions and make up generous financial aid packages. Contrary to popular belief, not all rich kids get into the ivy league and not all kids at the ivy league come from wealthy families. Get good grades and jump on the internet and do a little research. Money is not stopping people from going to Harvard.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 11:15 AM

Yikes!! The creeps came out of the woodwork today. Must be a full moon. Signing off for now. The nastiness is just not worth it.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 11:15 AM

"uh... no, 10:55, Ms. Armchair Psychologist. Sometimes I choose not to resist the urge to tell someone they've said something really stupid. Like you. Said something really stupid, I mean.

jealousy and the ability to separate fact from fiction are unrelated.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:04 AM "

Wow. You really do have some issues here. (Shakes head.) Chris's post was just funny. He was making a joke. (And I usually don't even like his jokes.)

Maybe you need a real psychologist.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:15 AM

Okay, since everyone is saying to "lighten up", I'll interject: mothers, please teach your daughters the rules of softball - or at least to listen to base coaches. It prevents people having to go all psycho-coach on them.

The following is a true story; the names have been changed to protect the guilty. The players in question are all 13-15 years old.

PC = "psycho coach", coaching third base.

The situation: bottom of the last inning, trailing by one run; nobody out; runners on second ("Mary") and third ("Ashley"). "Sarah" up.

PC: (giving signs: okay, we'll put on the safety squeeze. Sarah will bunt. Ashley will go about 15 feet off third; if the defense fields the bunt and throws to first, or misses the bunt, Ashley will break for the plate)

PC: (verbally) Mary, there's nobody out and no force at third. You don't have to go on a ground ball; if she hits it to third stay there and don't run into an out. (PC cleverly tries to decoy the infield into thinking that Sarah will swing away.)

Sarah bunts; a perfect job - it roles five feet in front of the plate and stops. The catcher holds her ground; the pitcher fields the ball and looks straight at Ashley. Ashley can't go home; looks like we'll have bases loaded, no out with the next batter up. Except that - Ashley turns to trot back to third, only to see Mary standing on third.

PC: Mary, go back to second.

Mary: Why? I'm safe here.

PC: Mary, go back to second. Ashley has to get to third.

Mary: Why?

PC: MARY, STOP ASKING QUESTIONS AND GO BACK TO SECOND! NOW!!!!!

Mary heads back for second; Ashley steps on third. Mary gets halfway back to second and stops.

Mary: Sarah's on second!

PC: What? How? (Sarah, being a smart aggressive baserunner, got to first, looked up and saw that there was nobody near second except for the centerfielder, and being smart and aggressive, decided to take second.)

PC: Sarah! Go back to first!

Sarah: Why?

PC: SARAH! DON'T ASK QUESTIONS. GO BACK TO FIRST, NOW!!!

Sarah: But why? I'm safe here.

PC: SARAH!!! GO BACK TO FIRST - NOW!!!!

Sarah goes back to first; Mary goes back to second. The defense never threw the ball anywhere; they were afraid that Ashley would wind up scoring from third if they did. So we wind up with bases loaded, no out, and a coach who's about to have a stroke.

The next batter up is "Lee". Lee hits a pop-up to the pitcher. The umpire hollers "infield fly; the batter is out". PC is hollering at the runners to stay put. They do; they know you can't run on a pop-up to the pitcher.

Except the pitcher dropped the ball, after batting it about 5 times. It falls on the ground at her feet.

PC is telling all the runners "Stay there. Lee is out. You don't have to run. Stay there."

Do they listen? No. Ashley starts towards home. The pitcher picks up the ball and tosses it to the catcher, who's standing on the plate. Ashley think's she's out on a force out, and trots slowly over to the bat to pick it up and take it back to the dugout. The catcher, who seems to be the only one on the field who knows what's going on, tags Ashley. Now she's out.

The catcher looks around to see that Mary is halfway between second and third. She tosses the ball to the third baseman. Mary thinks she's out and stops.

PC: MARY, GO BACK TO SECOND!!!!

Mary: What, again? Why? I'm out.

PC: YOU'RE NOT OUT!! GO BACK TO SECOND!!!

Mary: Sarah's there!

PC: SARAH, GO BACK TO FIRST!! MARY, GO BACK TO SECOND!! DON'T GET TAGGED OUT!!

Sarah: I can't go back to first; Lee's there.

PC: WHAT??? LEE'S BEEN OUT FOR FIVE MINUTES!!! MARY, GO TO SECOND!!! SARAH, GO BACK TO FIRST!! LEE, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!!

Lee: Why am I out? She dropped the ball.

PC: GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! MARY, GO TO SECOND. SARAH, GO TO FIRST. LEE, GET OUT OF THE WAY.

At this point the third baseman figures out that she should just tag Mary for the third out. Triple play, game over.

PC: Girls, I've got high cholesterol, I'm overweight, and heart attacks run in my family. You ain't helping!!!!


Light enough for you?

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 11:20 AM

"I only wish I had the money to go to Harvard and Wharton instead of working two jobs to go to night school."

First, you'd have to get in. That's a big assumption right there.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:22 AM

>Why? I'm a cashier at Pic'n Save. I don't >need any "other great qualities" to be >loved by my Dad.

0.And who is your dad?
1.And who else loves you?
2.And do you matter for the rest of us?
3.And are you happy?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:23 AM

"Legally, she is old enough to do what she wants, but we have set the level of expected behavior in our house and expect her to be respectful of that."

I agree that you can set the rules in your own house, but being too controlling can backfire. When I was in college, my parents thought they had a right to control my every move, and even gave me an 11 pm curfew


Well, I guess it depends on your definition of too controlling. Our college-aged daughter has a 1:00 pm curfew and thinks that is too controlling. Her high school stay out all night after prom was vetoed because she wanted to go to a friend's house rather than the school-sponsored after-party, which was approved.

If you didn't have a full scholarship to college, would you have learned to live with your parents rules, or would you have moved out anyway? (really curious, not trying to be snarky)

As far as a movie not being the same as sleep-overs, etc, both are 'legal'. My point was not whether or not she should decide to see a movie, it was that the parents set the rules of the house. Even if you don't agree with them, it is the parents' prerogative. We have some rules that are seen as tolerant and others that are seen as ridiculous and controlling. YMMV.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:24 AM

Army Brat- another good one! :-)

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:26 AM

There's no rule that says fathers can't teach their girls how to play softball, you know.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 11:26 AM

Army Brat: laughing really hard here :)

Posted by: pd | May 9, 2007 11:26 AM

Two englightening conversations this morning with my 5 year old:

Son: Mom, why do you put that cream on your face?
Me: To try and look beautiful
Son: But mom, you already are beautiful
Me: (with tears in my eyes)Will you please remember to tell me that on Mother's Day? (because us single mothers don't have too many people to wish us a happy mother's day)
Son: Sure, if I remember!

Second conversation, when I burned the toast, swore and apologized to my son:

Me: Sorry, I just don't know how to do this! (this being some general reference to parenting alone)
Son: But mom, you do know how to do it, you do it so well everyday.

happy Mother's Day!

Posted by: Single Mom to a boy | May 9, 2007 11:27 AM

Even adults are confused by the infield fly rule!

Now, if they would just get rid of that dammned DH!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 11:28 AM

"Our college-aged daughter has a 1:00 pm curfew and thinks that is too controlling."

I hope you meant 1 AM, otherwise she'd barely have enough time to finish lunch... she also would not make it to any afternoon classes. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:30 AM

Single mom to boy, there's something in my eye, and I think you put it there...

Trust me, you ARE beautiful. Best of luck to you.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 11:31 AM

to 11:24 -- I don't know what I would have done if I had not been on full scholarship. I think that the fact that I was almost self-supporting was a huge factor in my decision. I felt like I had been responsible enough to be allowed to live my life on my terms. I knew I could do it, so I took the leap. The "our house, our rules" ultimatum just egged me on to do it faster. If I had been more dependent and needy, I probably would not have felt that the rules were so unfair. For me, it was just time. My parents did not see it that way. They still think of it as me running away from home.

Posted by: Suzan | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM

"uh... no, 10:55, Ms. Armchair Psychologist. Sometimes I choose not to resist the urge to tell someone they've said something really stupid. Like you. Said something really stupid, I mean.

jealousy and the ability to separate fact from fiction are unrelated.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:04 AM "


Wow. You really do have some issues here. (Shakes head.) Chris's post was just funny. He was making a joke. (And I usually don't even like his jokes.)

Maybe you need a real psychologist.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:15 AM

I understand it's difficult for some of you to follow the train of thought here, but it's not that complex. Chris is funny. He made a joke. He's not the poster to whom I responded, if you care enough to go back and re-read. I replied to one or more jealousy - ninnies -- the ones whose answer to everything in life is, you must be jealous. I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM

My mom never admitted when she made a mistake or was wrong. I try to convey to my sons when I am wrong or incorrect or whan I made a mistake. This shows them that we are all-even their parents- human and we all make mistakes. Once we figure out what they are, then we can fix them.
My sister is just like my mother. She will never admit that something is wrong - she will also never say: I don't know. I think kids should be aware that you as a parent might be unaware of an answer, but then you can go and find it out. So sis is in an abusive marraige with three small kids learning that mom has no respect for herself (cause dad teaches that every day).

My obligation to the world is to send my sons out there with respect for themselves and others. They will treat people in their relationships with respect and take responsibility for their actions. They will learn how to take care of themselves. What a big obligation we all have to society.

I try all the time to show my confidence to them. And to show my shortcomings, to show them all people are human.

But yes, moms are usually too hard on themselves. Because society demands this. If the house isn't clean it is my fault. If thank you notes aren't sent it is my fault. If we eat junk it is my fault. No matter if my husband is responsible for that, society puts it all on the woman.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 11:33 AM

Laura | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM,

That's what you should have said the first time.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 11:33 AM

Single mom,

ISTM that you get a "Happy Mother's Day" comment every time your son says something like that to you.

Here's someone wishing you a Happy Mother's Day on Sunday, and every other day as well!

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 11:35 AM

I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM
You may not be jealous but you are certainly nasty. Maybe a psychologist might help you learn to be a nicer person (ie. a happy person). Maybe the can't help you but it might be a good start.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:36 AM

army brat- As a serious high school softball player, this would have killed me. I got quite a chuckle out of that!

Single mom- See it IS OK to not be perfect. They don't want or need perfection from you. Good job raising a sweet boy.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:37 AM

Suzan, good for you. I have always thought it's ridiculous for parents to treat their 18+ year olds as children, but then, the best thing the 18+ year olds can do to prevent it is to act like adults, which you sound like you did admirably.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 11:37 AM

Ok you two, there is plenty of my dripping sarcasm to go around, no need to fight over it!

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:38 AM

to 11:24 again - Perhaps you see it as your perogative to set the house rules. But you also should understand that your daughter is an adult. Soon, she will be making her own decisions. She needs a chance to practice that on her own. Choosing what movies she sees, IMO, is a really small decision. If you continue to micromanage her life, she will never learn to make good decisions for herself.

Posted by: Suzan | May 9, 2007 11:39 AM

"Our college-aged daughter has a 1:00 pm curfew and thinks that is too controlling."

I hope you meant 1 AM, otherwise she'd barely have enough time to finish lunch... she also would not make it to any afternoon classes. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:30 AM

Thanks, Chris - I did mean 1:00 AM. While she is away at school, she has no curfew. She also found a way to arrange her schedule so that the first class on any day is 11:00 a.m. Who knows how late she stays out?

Another point about house rules. We have younger children so some of our rules are based on how things affect the entire family (coming in late, banging around in the kitchen and being disruptive to the younger ones). We have even told the oldest that we know it's not her fault that there are younger siblings that must be considered, but they do exist, life isn't fair, and you have to deal with the reality of your own family situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:40 AM

"Who knows how late she stays out?"

Best not to think about these things lest it drive you to drink and you run into her at the bar. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:42 AM

I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM
You may not be jealous but you are certainly nasty. Maybe a psychologist might help you learn to be a nicer person (ie. a happy person). Maybe the can't help you but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:36 AM

It's either the sound of two anons who don't know each other venting a week's worth of anger at the wrong target, or one bi-polar person who failed to take his medication this morning.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:44 AM

Well, I think this is a great topic. I also love Army Brat's lighten up post. :)

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a good mom lately. My mother died suddenly two years ago when I was 37 and my children (her first grandchildren-- whom she adored) were 3 and 5. I really miss her but I miss her most when I realize I no longer have the ability to chat with her about motherhood and get her views on different stages of parenting etc. Being a mother without my mom has been very difficult for me.

On topic, I would say that I am tougher on my daughter than I am on my son. I also feel that my husband is tougher on our son than he is with our daughter. We both try to be aware of that and not do that but it happens sometimes. I also try to be very careful not to talk about dieting around my daughter but instead to model good eating habits. We were shocked one day when my daughter came home from kindergarten and announced that she was fat. She is not at all instead she is tall and thin. But somehow she had gotten the idea that that was something to worry about. I nearly cried and resolved to make sure that I set good examples in that area.

I have found that both of my kids are like sponges and soak up whatever my husband and I do and say. So being hard on ourselves leads to hearing our kids being hard on themselves. On the other hand the yoga classes I take, the time my husband takes on his own show our kids how important it is to take time for yourself. Bottom line for us is trying to take a step back and remember that the kids are watching everything we do.

Posted by: downtown dc mom | May 9, 2007 11:44 AM

Chris

"Who knows how late she stays out?"

Best not to think about these things lest it drive you to drink and you run into her at the bar. ;-P""


So true Chris. It's also weird that the parents know the class schedule....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:45 AM

You may not be jealous but you are certainly nasty. Maybe a psychologist might help you learn to be a nicer person (ie. a happy person). Maybe the can't help you but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:36 AM

ha! I'm perfectly happy and nice. You're still an idiot, though. What a shame.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:45 AM

It's either the sound of two anons who don't know each other venting a week's worth of anger at the wrong target, or one bi-polar person who failed to take his medication this morning.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:44 AM

Or 3, as evidenced by an apparent 3rd anon poster. LOL

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:45 AM

"Who knows how late she stays out?"

Well, for example, one year I had to go during the summer in order to squeeze all my classes I needed to take in time to graduate when I wanted, and ended up with the earliest class at 10:00 am, every day.

I typically returned to my dorm room around 3:00 am...

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 11:45 AM

If you can manage to set up your class schedule such that you don't have to get up intil 10:45am, you brag to anyone and everyone about it, including your parents. College course schedules are not things only insane parents know.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 11:48 AM

Laura | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM,

That's what you should have said the first time.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 11:33 AM

there's a first time for everything, I see. I didn't think I'd live to see the day someone thought he could improve on Laura's ability to communicate.

That's the Almighty's way of saying it's a good day to leave this blog to the omniscient.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:48 AM

I never said my daughter couldn't choose a movie, that was Army Brat's DW. All I was trying to do was say that a family makes their own house rules.

worker bee said "I have always thought it's ridiculous for parents to treat their 18+ year olds as children, but then, the best thing the 18+ year olds can do to prevent it is to act like adults,"

I agree wholeheartedly. I know many here may disagree, but I feel that as long as we are supporting our daughter through college, she must follow house rules. If she doesn't like the rules and can present her arguments in a calm reasonable discussion, we can change our rules. We really are not as controlling as it sounds. We don't allow certain things IN OUR HOUSE (porn, cigarette smoking, vulgar language), but if she goes out and sees or does it somewhere else, oh well.

Posted by: to Suzan | May 9, 2007 11:49 AM

army brat- As a serious high school softball player, this would have killed me. I got quite a chuckle out of that!

___________________

atb, PC did too, in hindsight. Like a few days later. However, the running gag in the program is that PC is now in charge of teaching base-running.

John L - yes, fathers, too, can and should teach their daughters to play softball. But as Leslie said, "today's topic is Mother's Day".

And Fred, if you've ever seen a runner in softball called out on the lookback rule, the infield fly rule suddenly makes perfect sense! :-)

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 11:49 AM

It seems like todays topic tanked. Maybe Brian will offer us a more stimulating topic tomorrow.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 11:50 AM

What a drag it is getting old
"kids are different today,"
I hear ev'ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she's not really ill
There's a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

"things are different today,"
I hear ev'ry mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband's just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

"men just aren't the same today"
I hear ev'ry mother say
They just don't appreciate that you get tired
They're so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

"life's just much too hard today,"
I hear ev'ry mother say
The pusuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother's little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day

Posted by: Mother's Little Helper | May 9, 2007 11:51 AM

Army Brat,

Funny! I flashed back to some of the "discussions" I had with my mother, with poor Dad stuck in the middle (the only man in the house -- I have a sister but no brothers).
I'm in the same boat -- three "men" (well, now 2) and me (fast approaching menopause), with a cat (spayed) and a dog (spayed).

Between the estrogen roller-coaster and the testosterone tsunami, our house is an interesting place to be...

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 11:52 AM

John L

"I typically returned to my dorm room around 3:00 am..."

Wish I could have been there with you!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 11:55 AM

Fred, we are going through CTOTD withdrawals.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 11:55 AM

One thing I've not seen addressed here is the issue of how we are each conditioned by our own histories and how this gets passed on to successive generations. For example: My mother was raised in a rural environment, the older of two children (the other being her younger brother). Her father was the youngest of 14, all of whom lived to adulthood and all of whom lived in the same area, so there lots and lots of cousins around. My mother was the smarter older sister. My dad, on the other hand, was the younger of two children. His sister (my aunt) was the smarter older sister. His family moved around a lot and lived quite some distance from any extended family. I was never particularly close to my mother growing up - always identified much more closely with my dad, although it wasn't until years later that I realized we'd both grown up in the shadow of a smarter older sibling! Also interesting in retrospect is that neither parent had grown up with a same-sex sibling, both seem to have related more closely to the opposite sex parent, which then carried over to my generation in that neither knew how to relate very well to the same sex child in the family. What goes around comes around, I guess! Then again, maybe I'm psycho-analyzing my family history too much!

Posted by: Murphy | May 9, 2007 11:55 AM

Laura wrote: "Are you looking for a reason to get PO'd?"

Sad to say, Laura, but there are people on this blog whose main motivation this seems to be, and unfortunately it's not always possible to ignore them (even though that's all they truly deserve). Alas, not everyone's the voice of reason that you are.

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 11:57 AM

as another ex-high school softball player, i just love army brat's story.

It is lacrosse rules that get me right now. Obscure rules while they bash each other's brains out. I even get aussie rules and cricket...but lacrosse...whew...

I also taught my boys how to throw a baseball, catch a ball, how to throw a football, etc. My husband, and their father, knows how but doesn't know how to teach them...I think of it as quality time.

how to prevent negative thoughts-go do something and be proud of what you do.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 12:01 PM

Leslie,
There may be a healthy side to this blog--where people can debate topics, share ideas, etc. But it also brings out a lot of unhealthy interaction--where people degrade, harass, and are otherwise mean to the other people on this blog. I think you either need to have someone moderate it, deleting inappropriate posts as they occur. Or, require people to sign in--choosing a screen name that's connected to them. That way, posters that are in violation of the rules of conduct for the blog can be blocked. After all, this blog is connected with a very well-respected newspaper, and I think that any forum that The Washington Post is supporting should be in good taste and productive.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 12:03 PM

Eating disorders are a rich girl's problems. Men who beat up on women send up red alerts long before you get so involved you can't get away. Obviously something in Leslie's background/childhood set her up for these things. Maybe she's had too much handed to her on a silver platter and never had to become a responsible adult. Read 'Queen Bees and Wannabees.' I think Leslie is a Queen Bee.

I only wish I had the money to go to Harvard and Wharton instead of working two jobs to go to night school.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:05 AM

Well, we know you are busy spitting on the hands of those from whom you expect a generous tip for lousy service!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:03 PM

anon: 11:55,

That was the only semester I had such a luxury, and it was only half the semester that summer (they ran on a compressed half-schedule in the summer to shove as many classes in as possible).

Every other semester, I had an 8:00 class. I thought that was rough, then I graduated and got a job, and found out I was expected to show up at 7:30! Even worse, now I start work at 6:30!

Kids in college have no idea how great they've got it, whether they are in a small state school or a prestigious university. Those were the days...

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 12:04 PM

Army Brat -- ok, you got me. I played college softball, and I have no clue what the "lookback rule" is. Please enlighten me, because I am now doubting my own competence as a woman and a softball player. :-)

And to 11:55 "'I typically returned to my dorm room around 3:00 am..."

Wish I could have been there with you!"

Ummm, I am thinking this falls into the same category as Mona's "my boyfriend is your husband" classic. :-)

Favorite recent child story -- the girl version of the earlier sweet little boy story:

Daughter: "Mommy, why do you wear your hair short?"

Me: "Well, because it looks better that way."

Daughter: "Well, when I'M a mommy, I'M going to wear MY hair LONG, because it will make MY little girl happy."

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 12:04 PM

I replied to one or more jealousy - ninnies -- the ones whose answer to everything in life is, you must be jealous. I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM

Ahh...antisocial personality disordered blogger at her finest.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:05 PM

Laura,

Well, the anonymous poster who responded to my "come in at 3:00 am" post might have been a woman...

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 12:07 PM

This is a case in point--why should the Washington Post be sponsoring a blog where this type of exchange takes place???????

I replied to one or more jealousy - ninnies -- the ones whose answer to everything in life is, you must be jealous. I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM

Ahh...antisocial personality disordered blogger at her finest.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 12:05 PM

Posted by: TO LESLIE | May 9, 2007 12:07 PM

This is a bipolar day...some of the nastiest posts I've ever seen, and posts like John L's (I can only pray my boys remember what I taught them) and Single Mom's, and Fred's stories (that softball game must have been a RIOT!).

I just wish I had time to keep reading, but it's time to give a quiz!

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 12:08 PM

What is wrong with people?!?!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18538497/site/newsweek/

Posted by: yikes | May 9, 2007 12:08 PM

to To leslie:
if you don't like what someone wrote, I suggest ignoring it. There are plenty of good posts here to bother sweating over the dross.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 12:09 PM

I think you either need to have someone moderate it, deleting inappropriate posts as they occur. Or, require people to sign in--choosing a screen name that's connected to them. That way, posters that are in violation of the rules of conduct for the blog can be blocked. After all, this blog is connected with a very well-respected newspaper, and I think that any forum that The Washington Post is supporting should be in good taste and productive.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 12:03 PM

Please don't turn this into a "nice" blog.

Who decides what is appropriate?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:11 PM

John L

"That was the only semester I had such a luxury, and it was only half the semester that summer (they ran on a compressed half-schedule in the summer to shove as many classes in as possible)."

Doesn't matter. It still would have been heaven on earth while it lasted.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:12 PM

I hope I teach my boys as well as my mother-in-law taught her son, my husband. Given what life gave her, she raised a fine man.

taking delight in the small stuff is my current motto

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 12:14 PM

" After all, this blog is connected with a very well-respected newspaper, and I think that any forum that The Washington Post is supporting should be in good taste and productive."

Ha, ha, ha! Have you read any of the other forums sponsored by the Washington Post??

Good taste?? Productive?? It's the Net!!!

Also, what you think is worth less than zero.

Posted by: Officer Krupke | May 9, 2007 12:17 PM

Some of these posts are pretty nasty. Don't know why people seem to personally attack Leslie.

Have to admit, though, wasn't a big fan of her blog today. The topic has a lot of potential, but I didn't think it was written in a particularly meaningful manner. And the problem with blogs that tend to be written with only one perspective in mind is that it encourages attacks like this. The blog loses its purposes. But I agree - you can't win them all and Leslie shouldn't be so hard on herself! Her intentions are good.

Posted by: londonmom | May 9, 2007 12:17 PM

It was even better than that; I only had two classes that half-semester, one at 10:00 and one at 1:00, so I was done by mid-afternoon. Plenty of time to do the homework, take a nap, whatever, and then the rest of the afternoon/evening was mine, all mine!

Problem was, there were few of my friends there that summer, and the ones that were there usually had more rigorous schedules than mine, so I was often all on my own.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 12:17 PM

"After all, this blog is connected with a very well-respected newspaper, and I think that any forum that The Washington Post is supporting should be in good taste and productive."

Classic doormat type trying to get others to follow the "rules".

Bugger off!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:19 PM

Yikes:

Thia is not really surprising. Pop 'em out, and then plant 'em in front of a TV. The virtual babysitter. Even works overtime while moomy and duddy go make a sibling.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:19 PM

I did help coach both my girls in softball for many years. I can see this play in my mind perfectly! What was even funnier was when best friend would play against each other. More sticking out tongues and I get you later! Too funny!

Too bad too many parents took all of this too seriously!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 12:20 PM

John L -- I'm with you on your 12:04 post. One benefit of being an English major was none of my profs liked to have class before 11 AM, whereas all the science classes seemed to start at 8:30 MWF or -- worse -- TThSa. We wouldn't even THINK about leaving the dorm for a party until at least 10:00 PM, and get in at 1 or 2 on a slow night.

Huge physical shock when I started a paying job and had to be up and at work by a reasonable hour! No sympathy from my dad, either -- I'm like, man, it's so HARD to get UP at 7:30 AM, and he was like, uh huh, yeah, sucks to be you -- I leave by 6 AM every day to beat cross-town Houston traffic.

Of course, karma is also a beeyatch. I married an engineer and now have two children who are genetically incapable of sleeping past sunrise (we're lucky to get 6 AM). Now a "late" night is 11 PM, and "sleeping in" is 7:15. :-)

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 12:26 PM

This was an amazing post in some ways. Despite a excellent educational background and business success, Leslie still feels somewhat incompetent. I suspect that for some women they will ALWAYS feel incompetent. I think that women should look in the mirror and maybe take more responsibility for their circumstances than blaming "institutionalized this and that".

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 12:30 PM

John L

I thought DH was bad. His earliest college classes started at 1:00 pm.

He took a lot of evening courses (mostly Movie Appreciation types).

When we were in college, students could smoke and eat in the classroom! Attendance was mostly not required! Multiple choice exams!

Ahh, the good old days.

Posted by: DZ | May 9, 2007 12:32 PM

I don't know if I'm too hard on myself or not -- but one thing I've really been working on lately is not fighting with my husband in front of the kids. Sometimes it's just SO hard to have to suck it up and be nice and then have to address the issue later as adults -- still working on that.

but I was wondering, has anyone else seen that show on the Learning Channel about the family with the sextuplets and twins? It's called Kate and Greg plus eight -- or something like that -- and the thing is, the woman is just awful! She's really mean and she's always snapping at everyone -- and there's this scene where she humiliates the husband at Toys R Us because she doesn't think he's pushing the cart correctly -- or something. I confess, my husband and I have developed a strange fascination with the series -- mostly because it makes so glaringly obvious why you shouldn't fight in front of your kids (though I think this couple may have a few other problems as well . . )
Reality TV at its best.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 9, 2007 12:34 PM

Armchair Mom

"Reality TV at its best."

You're not supposed to admit you watch TV (especially with your spouse or kids ) on this blog.

You should claim to have ditched your TV long ago (given it to charity is the best lie), so that you can look down your nose on the peons.

BTW, I love The Tudors.

Posted by: Diane | May 9, 2007 12:43 PM

"She's really mean and she's always snapping at everyone -- and there's this scene where she humiliates the husband at Toys R Us because she doesn't think he's pushing the cart correctly -"

I have a neighbor like this, she constantly criticizes her husband and talks about him with contempt and rolls her eyes. He is very easy going and works two jobs and she is so unpleasant that we avoid her. I just feel sorry for him.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 12:44 PM

"She's really mean and she's always snapping at everyone -- and there's this scene where she humiliates the husband at Toys R Us because she doesn't think he's pushing the cart correctly -"

Sounds like Carrie on The King of Queens.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:46 PM

True confession, I do not buy Frieda anything for Mother's day. She is not my mother.

Don't hand me this nonsense about the "mother of my children". She needs to talk to the kids about it!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 12:56 PM

It amazes me to see how meanly (is that a word)people talk to each other. I have seen husbands and wives who never say please, thank you, that was good, that was nice etc. It is sad and not a very good example for their children.
I had a date once with a guy who would not look at the waitress and never thanked anyone who served us - water boy, server. No second date for him.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 12:59 PM

Fred -- I am so there with you. I do not buy cards for my grandmother, MIL, step-MIL, step-mother, or anyone else on Mothers' Day. I have one mother and therefore one Mother's Day obligation. Now if someone acted as a mother to me, that may be different, but for me, 1 mother=1 card/gift :)

Posted by: Marie | May 9, 2007 1:00 PM

To 12:03: My jobs are not in the service industry and do not require tips.

Posted by: 11:05 | May 9, 2007 1:01 PM

Laura, the "lookback" rule is when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the circle and a runner is off base. The runner must immediately proceed to a base without stopping. Although she can go to either base, if she stops to "look back" she's out.

It exists because there's no leading off in softball; the runner has to be on a base when the pitcher pitches. When the pitcher has the ball in the circle and isn't making a play, the play's over and the runners have to get on their bases. Otherwise the runners could stand six inches off the base forever and the pitcher could never pitch.

Most players learn it by doing the following: start to steal a base. The defense concedes you the base and tosses the ball to the pitcher. Stop to listen to your base coach's shouted instructions. Turn to look at the coach. Then start running toward the base. Hear the umpire holler "you're out" and wonder why.

There are some nuances, but that's the gist of it.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 1:02 PM

Fred,

I am really, really surprised at you!

Your wife is disappointed that you don't give her a Mother's Day gift/card.

This is really out of character for you!!!

Posted by: gutless coward | May 9, 2007 1:05 PM

dotted - lacrosse, ugh! My daughters go to the high school with the best girls' lacrosse program in the nation, and none of us can stand the game. Seriously, several of our oldest daughter's friends have scholarships to schools like Notre Dame, Boston College, Georgetown, etc. and she gave up on even trying to learn the game. Just not worth it.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 1:05 PM

We need at least one more mention of daycare today to bring happiness and sunshine to this blog!

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070507/D8OVPH1O0.html

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 1:07 PM

pATRICK- That crap really bothers my husband, too. He fells pity for men who allow themselves to be emasculated and hates the nagging hags who do the harping.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 1:08 PM

KLB,

You would like being around me, then; my wife kids me about always saying "thank you" to the waitress every single time she brings us anything to the table. Sometimes even the waitress is starting to look like she's thinking "what's up with him?".

But hey, we've had wait staff fight over us at restaurants we regularly go to, so I guess being nice and polite (and tipping well) has its benefits!

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 1:09 PM

"I suspect that for some women they will ALWAYS feel incompetent. I think that women should look in the mirror and maybe take more responsibility for their circumstances than blaming "institutionalized this and that"."

pATRICK, I agree that it's important for women to take responsibility for their own happiness and (I hate this effing word, but it fits here) "own" their decisions. There is too much blaming in our society. However, it is foolish to assume that society as no effect on our personalities. Lots of girls grow up with insitutionalized misogyny (TV commercials, sitcoms, books, even sermons). It's so pervasive that it can easily be overlooked.

So the trick is to find the balance (shocker). Women should (1) learn how sexism is taught in our society, (2) recognize when they are being oppressed and (3) actively overcome it instead of becoming a victim. When you know what is happening, it's easier to figure out how to avoid it.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 1:12 PM

I don't have a daughter, but I think we as women can be terribly self-critical. I work with about twenty women and the constant, I hate my hair, I am so fat, What I said was so stupid, etc. is a constant refrain. I notice men are not this way.

Posted by: Suzy | May 9, 2007 1:12 PM

I don't think a psychologist could assist you with your inability to read, but it might be a good start.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:32 AM


I sure hope you don't talk to your kids that way, because they're going to need a LOT of psychotheraphy to get over such a verbally-abusive parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:13 PM

You are giving yourself away with your comments. BTW - your daughter's school lacrosse team recently lost to another school (PA team maybe?).

My daughter goes to a different school in the same county as you but went to an elem school that feeds into both high schools, so we are also familiar with some of the kids. We know several who played jv but quit to play rec instead because it wasn't fun unless you were the star of the team.

Posted by: to Army Brat | May 9, 2007 1:14 PM

foamgnome

"It seems like todays topic tanked."

What a shock! How could such a tragedy happen?

"Maybe Brian will offer us a more stimulating topic tomorrow. "

Just looked out of the window. Nope, hell hasn't frozen over and pigs aren't flying.

Same old back patting from Brian.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:16 PM

To Anon at 1:16 -- SO COME UP WITH A FRICKIN' TOPIC. What would you like to discuss? What is on your mind?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:18 PM

My wife's mom was a tremendously controlling, blanket mother, who never let my wife do anything herself. She ended up teaching herself how to cook and sew, because her mother felt those things were her responsibility.

MIL did learn how to dish out the guilt, though, having been handed that skill down by her own mother. My wife gradually realized what her mom was doing to her with all the guilt trips, and moving a state away from her did a world of good for her self esteem. Had she remained nearby (as her mother did with HER mom), the constant guilt-trip education would have kept on well into adulthood...

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 1:19 PM

to: to Army Brat: yep, they lost to a team from New York (they beat the PA girls pretty bad, and just beat the New Jersey girls last weekend. But the New Yorkers got them). That makes two losses this century; one for the coach.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 1:21 PM

Whoa, atb! Couldn't fit anymore derogatory terms for women into your post? There are tons more you could use, like cow and b*tch.

Seriously, how is this behavior "emasculating"? If the husband were doing it to the wife, would it still be emasculating? Or would it be defeminizing (is that a word?)?

Somethings have absolutely nothing to do with gender and everything to do with personality. If I saw that, I would say, "she's really being a jerk, poor guy." If I saw a man doing that, I would say "He's really being a jerk, poor gal." Besides cutting a guy's, ahem, junk off, I can't think of an emascualting behavior. How does anything a woman do affect whether a guy is male?

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 1:22 PM

"It amazes me to see how meanly (is that a word)people talk to each other. I have seen husbands and wives who never say please, thank you, that was good, that was nice etc."

No kidding! BF and I had a huge issue about this once. We temporarily broke up, and I was sooo upset about it, and then once my roommate pointed out to me that BF was rude and told me to "shut up" for no reason, right in front of him. "Shut up" is like a dirty word to me, or worse, it's so disrespectful. But I'd gotten so used to hearing it from him. Once I (re)realized how ugly it (and other things) sounded, I wasn't so upset about the breakup. I mentioned this to him, and things have gotten better, but every so often he'll curse or be rude to me and I call him out on the spot. Without fail, he apologizes and then we can have a productive conversation. That was when it really started to hit me that people will only treat you how you allow yourself to be treated, and the doormat act stopped there.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 1:22 PM

Army Brat --

Whew! Thanks. Yes, I knew this rule, just not by this name. As a matter of fact, it was one of my favorites -- speaking as a former pitcher, anything that gets people off base without my having to face a batter is, by definition, a good thing. :-)

And don't even get me started on lacrosse. I'm still struggling with soccer.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 1:26 PM

"So the trick is to find the balance (shocker). Women should (1) learn how sexism is taught in our society, (2) recognize when they are being oppressed and (3) actively overcome it instead of becoming a victim. When you know what is happening, it's easier to figure out how to avoid it."

I agree, I just wonder how much of this is just cultural and is being driven by other women. Women seem to live lives of comparison, whether it's job, kids,husband, beauty etc and it seems to come from other women. It is hard for me to understand as a man all this self doubt and self criticism i see in women.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 1:28 PM

Somethings have absolutely nothing to do with gender and everything to do with personality. If I saw that, I would say, "she's really being a jerk, poor guy." If I saw a man doing that, I would say "He's really being a jerk, poor gal." Besides cutting a guy's, ahem, junk off, I can't think of an emascualting behavior. How does anything a woman do affect whether a guy is male?


NOT TRUE! Some behaviors are emasculating! She is attacking his worth as a man and making him lose respect from other men. Similar would be comments on a women's fertility, housekeeping and child raising skills. Attacking a person's ability and pride as a gender not just being a jerk.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 1:33 PM

Although I have never been an active poster on this blog I used to enjoy reading the different perspectives. Now it is just nasty and a downer in my day. Too bad. If people don't think a day's subject is relevent to them, why can't they just find something else to focus on. If we truly all have balance issues then there should be plenty of other, more positive ways to keep ourselves busy.

Posted by: teriR | May 9, 2007 1:34 PM

pATRICK wrote: "I agree, I just wonder how much of this is just cultural and is being driven by other women..."

I'd also suggest that part of it is driven by the massive amount of advertising in our society, which in order to create a need for products often preys on (or even increases) people's -- both men's and women's -- insecurities.

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 1:35 PM

Army Brat-I simply forgot about leading off in softball. I played fast pitch back in the day. I would have sworn you could lead off, steal just like in baseball. Heck, we wore long pants so we could slide. Mind you, I will not slide. I was too old to learn to slide by the time sliding was allowed in high school. I used the run-through-the-catcher technique to good effect.

About after prom: all of your comments about after proms being organized have convinced me I need to get a lot more information from my son, his date, etc. Thank you all for the good info. Now to do something with it!

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 1:35 PM

DUCK patrick!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:37 PM

Fred - I agree with the no present to me from my husband. I'm not his mother. He did, however, help the boys pick out something (I hope). My husband is flying up to visit his Mom for Mother's day weekend.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 1:37 PM

Mona-good for you. I hate how my bil treats my sister, but she doesn't treat herself well because I think deep down she believes him. It's horrible, since they have three young kids watching them (his dad treated his mom like that, apparently so he apparently thinks it is okay). So those children are learning this. It"s interesting, b/c he doesn't have great things to say about his dad, so I wonder if he knows that his kids are going to have those same thoughts about *their* dad.
I always wonder why my mom stayed with my dad for so long...

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 1:37 PM

I certainly think that some other women can be part of the problem. With my female friends, I try to talk about what I'm most proud of, like finishing a task. I rarely complain. I try to find other people like me. When I meet people (men or women) who complain constantly and blame others, I steer clear.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 1:39 PM

atlmom, I had the same problem as your sister for about three minutes. "I must have really hurt him," "If only I could do better at..."

Please.

The epiphany was, "Okay, he's not happy about this, but you know, he's no angel either..." Once I brought up some of his flaws, he started to understand where I was coming from. Usually when confronted with a problem, I tend not to distract with "Well, YOU do THIS..." and instead deal with the problem. But with him, sometimes I have to point out that he's not perfect either and that he needs to stop being so critical. It's working. He might be intimidating, but stand up to him and he's actually a pretty reasonable guy. I just needed to grow a spine, that's all, and let me tell you, it feels a lot better having one...

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 1:42 PM

Suzy,

You're right, and in a way I feel sorry for men :)

I agree that the constant stream of self-criticism women keep up can be annoying (it can also be a way to bond with other women, kind of like going to the bathroom in pairs).

Men just keep it bottled up inside, and they have heart attacks when they're 50.

IMHO, it's better to vent and live longer.

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 1:43 PM

Dotted -- You can steal in softball, you just have to wait until the pitch is thrown. Our coach had us practice endless drills to get the timing of foot leaving the base precisely when ball left pitcher's hand. Luckily, I usually got to be doing the pitching instead of the running -- since with my hitting prowess and innate speed, I wasn't much of a threat to either get on base or do much if I did get there. :-)

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 1:44 PM

catlady

"I'd also suggest that part of it is driven by the massive amount of advertising in our society, which in order to create a need for products often preys on (or even increases) people's -- both men's and women's -- insecurities."

That must explain the insanity of massive amounts of expensive shoes!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:45 PM

I disagree pATRICK. My bil lives his whole life comparing himself to everyone else and what he has in comparison to others. So does my sister. They are two very unhappy people. He wants to spend more on a house than everyone he know (even if they can't afford it). I once asked my sister why he needed a car living in nyc (no family yet). My sister's answer was: no one else he knows has a car in the city. And: no one else we know has a weekend home. Yeah, well, so what? But anyway-you get the. Point. Men compare their toys to others all the time.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 1:50 PM

"making him lose respect from other men"

pATRICK, would you lose respect for a man if you saw his wife brow-beating him? If so, why?

"women's fertility, housekeeping and child raising skills"

believe it or not, fertility and housekeeping and child rearing are not feminine qualities. My husband is feritle and does housekeeping and, well, dog rearing. He is still a man.

I someone insulted my housekeeping, I would agree. If someone made assumed I couldn't have kids, I would let them. If someone insulted my ability to raise kids, I would agree--that's why I'm not having them!

See Mona's post about being a doormat. If you internalize insults, you're only hurting yourself and allowing it to happen. Both women and men should stand up to it not because it's the masculine thing to do but because no one deserves being treated that way.

Along those lines, John L., I hope your mom also taught you that violence against ANYONE or any living thing is wrong and should never be tolerated.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 1:51 PM

I should have written, "...which in order to create an imagined need for products..." OR "...which in order to create a demand for products..."

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 1:52 PM

"violence against ANYONE or any living thing is wrong and should never be tolerated."

*sigh* no, no, and no. Defense and protection must be taught- especially in the face of terror. Good sometimes has to fight to triumph over evil.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55477

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 1:58 PM

Meesh,

Well, my mom (my dad too) made it clear there were times when violence may be necessary, but only as a last resort and depending on what was at stake.

Now, if a woman was threatening me or someone I cared for with a knife, I wouldn't think twice about taking action against her, but I don't think that kind of action to be concerned about ever entered into my mother's realm of experiences.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 1:59 PM

pATRICK, would you lose respect for a man if you saw his wife brow-beating him? If so, why?

I am not sure that YOU would ever understand. I would feel that he is not the man of his house and that he was weak to let her treat him like that. I would feel that she is disrespecting him as a man. Now having said that, in this case, I somewhat feel that. However, knowing him and her I feel the contempt for her. He grew up with a very poor, very weird family. His two daughters and his wife- don't understand are very important to him and he does not want to break that up and he has the personality to put up with it. Whether you and your feminist friends admit it or not, men and women have certain general gender expectations that are expected out of them and always will.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:00 PM

When I was a little girl and talked about what I wanted to be when I grew up my Mom told me I didn't have to worry about that because I was pretty and I should be able to marry well. I decided that I wanted more than that, but always wanted to have a little girl so I could teach her how to be independant. Now as the Mom of a 12 yr old daughter I have tried to teach her that there is nothing that she can't do, whether it is teaching her to cook simple meals or more involved taks. We are remodeling and I found this is a great opportunity to teach her that there is nothing she can't do. I have taught her how to lay tile, patch walls and paint. She takes great pride in her accomplishments. She likes that she can show the tiles she put down on the floor and pointing out the areas she helped patch and paint. The thing that cracks me up is that when I point out to her that she will be able to use these skills when she grows up on her own home she told me that she will just have her Dad and I come over and do it for her. All I can say is that I tried :)

Posted by: CaliforniaMom | May 9, 2007 2:01 PM

1:58, I checked out the link and agree to the overall premise (not necessarily that writer's point) that we do need to defend ourselves against threats. That's why we have an army. I was talking about random violence or violence to control someone.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 2:05 PM

Meesh:

I'm curious how you and your husband have handled the inevitable barrage of questions in regards to your choice to not have kids.

My husband and I have been married for just over a year and we have waded through most of it family-wise, but friends and colleagues still feel it's their duty to convince us that we're making the wrong choice.

We know that we've made the right one, I'm just curious if you have experienced this at all, and if you have, what your response has been that seems to stop it.

(And if any of the reasons are too personal to share, I understand.) Thanks!

Posted by: JRS | May 9, 2007 2:06 PM

"violence against ANYONE or any living thing is wrong and should never be tolerated."

IJust squashed a bug. Beat me.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:07 PM

Meesh asked pATRICK, "would you lose respect for a man if you saw his wife brow-beating him? If so, why?"

At the risk of sounding like Weingartner, let me ask each of you the following question:

pATRICK, would you also lose respect for a woman if you saw her husband brow-beating her? If so, why?
&
Meesh, would you also lose respect for a man if you saw his wife brow-beating him? If so, why?

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 2:07 PM

Mona- see my reaction is: if she's so horrible, why did you marry her? I mean I say that to my dh if he calls me silly or something: hey, *you* married me! I mean, doesn't it say something about him? If in fact this was a sensible argument?

I mean he graduated from college over 20 yrs ago and he still tries to tell everyone how wonderful he is cause he went to an ivy league college. And so that's something he holds it over my sisters head that she didn't. Who cares unless you're looking for a job and you are less than five yrs out of college?

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 2:11 PM

"Whether you and your feminist friends admit it or not, men and women have certain general gender expectations that are expected out of them and always will."

Oh, I'll admit that some people expect women to act a certain way and men to act another way. That is obvious. I just choose to ignore the people who expect people to be either Barbie and Ken.

Sometimes, my husband and I take turns mowing the yard and mulching and absolutely FLAUNT our disregard for their expectations. Right out in public!

pATRICK, it's all in good fun. I respect your opinions and hope we don't have to take each other too seriously.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 2:12 PM

pATRICK, would you also lose respect for a woman if you saw her husband brow-beating her? If so, why?

Yes I would, I feel standing up for yourself is an essential quality. I would also lose respect for the man because he is treating her like dirt.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:12 PM

"I think you either need to have someone moderate it, deleting inappropriate posts as they occur. Or, require people to sign in--choosing a screen name that's connected to them. "

Wow, what an innovative idea. Haven't seen it suggested here before. Maybe you should also suggest that people should play nice and that if they don't like the topic they should write a guest blog.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:12 PM

"he still tries to tell everyone how wonderful he is cause he went to an ivy league college. And so that's something he holds it over my sisters head that she didn't. Who cares"

HAHAHAHAHA - You've been reading this blog for how long? And still ask who cares about ivy league?

Posted by: to atlmom | May 9, 2007 2:14 PM

pATRICK, it's all in good fun. I respect your opinions and hope we don't have to take each other too seriously.


MEESH, I don't agree with you too often but I respect your opinion too. I may not agree with you, but I would die defending your right to say it.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:15 PM

"men and women have certain general gender expectations that are expected out of them and always will"

Oh please; only if you still live in the 50's. In fact, I'd lose MORE respect for a man who is verbally abusive to a woman than if he took verbal abuse from her.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 2:16 PM

Just change the subject whenever someone raises it.

Posted by: To JRS | May 9, 2007 2:16 PM

,"violence against ANYONE or any living thing is wrong and should never be tolerated."

Looks like David Hasselhoff with his cheeseburger is in BIG trouble, what with the violence against animals & vegetables!

What do you suggest I eat, if not a former living thing?


Posted by: Thomasina | May 9, 2007 2:19 PM

JRS, it has certainly come up. Most people don't question. For the ones who do, I just say that we're not really kid people but acknowledge that we might change our minds (yeah right). We've been lucky in that our parents respect our decision and most strangers are too polite to badger us.

Catlady, I would lose respect for a man who let himself be treated that way. I would also lose respect for woman who let herself be treated that way.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 2:19 PM

JRS or tell them that you and your hubby just aren't sure how to make kids. Then ask them if they could tell you how you go about it.

That's what one of my friends says to people who shouldn't ask those questions.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 2:20 PM

Meesh, in that scenario, she is a b!tch and he's a pitiful doormat. Both are to to blame. I don't like bullies and I have a hard time respecting people who can't stand up for themselves. If it was vice versa, I'd want to shake some sense into the woman. I'd consider him an abusive jerk, and her a doormat. It's "emasculating" to see a big testosterone driven creature turned into a puddle. There isn't an equivalent term for when a female has her respect demolished, at least not that I know of. Take it up with the English language.

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 2:20 PM

To those who choose not to have children:

Do you get offended when someone asks if you plan to have children? I think this is a fairly common conversational type of question, especially to newlyweds. I have asked this question myself, depending on the relationship I have with the people involved. I would definitely ask relatives such as cousins, and also close friends. However, if they say they do not plan to have any, I don't ask why, and I don't try to tell them that they should have children.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:24 PM

Re Meesh's and pATRICK's comments on women cutting each other down, I see some mothers who are actually competitive with their own daughters--as if their own self-esteem depends on being thinner and prettier than a person twenty years their junior. Now there's a good example!

Regarding the self-doubt, though, while I do think some of it comes from unhealthy comparisons (to others, to cultural stereotypes etc), I think some of it also comes from the fact that women's roles in society are still under a great deal of scrutiny, and in a great deal of flux. Men's roles are, too, but I don't think that men's choices have widened as precipitously as women's choices have in recent decades. I think this prompts women to a lot of soul-searching because some of our natural role models (mothers, grandmothers) can't answer all of the new questions that are being raised.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 2:25 PM

In other words, what pATRICK, Meesh and (I hope) most of us agree upon is that we would lose respect for a spouse if we saw his/her spouse brow-beating him/her.

I'd like to expand this to suggest that brow-beating is inappropriate behavior whenever ANY two (or more) people have a disagreement.

There are more civil ways to handle differences of opinion (e.g., in courteous tone, using logic and reason) that would be likelier to achieve the desired results if the person has a legitimate case for a viewpoint -- while simultaneously conveying respect for the other person.

As one of my grandmothers liked to say, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 2:25 PM

"Regarding the self-doubt, though, while I do think some of it comes from unhealthy comparisons (to others, to cultural stereotypes etc), I think some of it also comes from the fact that women's roles in society are still under a great deal of scrutiny, and in a great deal of flux. Men's roles are, too, but I don't think that men's choices have widened as precipitously as women's choices have in recent decades. I think this prompts women to a lot of soul-searching because some of our natural role models (mothers, grandmothers) can't answer all of the new questions that are being raised."


Now that is a good well thought out post. Congrats.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:28 PM

Lots of girls grow up with insitutionalized misogyny (TV commercials, sitcoms, books, even sermons). It's so pervasive that it can easily be overlooked.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 01:12 PM

Maybe in the past this was true but, I believe the pendulum has swung the other way on all of the things you mention (except the sermons). If you only go looking for opression, that is all you will see.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:30 PM

My wife and I got the "when are you having kids" questions after we got married, mainly from her mother, who, I think, looked forward to having yet another way to try and instill more guilt into my wife.

My wife's response to her was always "when we are good and ready", and she eventually stopped with the question.

My side of the family never asked; either they assumed we'd get around to it eventually or were too polite to get nosy. Once we do get pregnant, though, I bet one of their comments will be "well it took you two long enough!".

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 2:30 PM

"So the trick is to find the balance (shocker). Women should (1) learn how sexism is taught in our society, (2) recognize when they are being oppressed and (3) actively overcome it instead of becoming a victim. When you know what is happening, it's easier to figure out how to avoid it."

I agree, I just wonder how much of this is just cultural and is being driven by other women. Women seem to live lives of comparison, whether it's job, kids,husband, beauty etc and it seems to come from other women. It is hard for me to understand as a man all this self doubt and self criticism i see in women.


Posted by: pATRICK

Well, if socially women are constantly to be "nice" and "not fight" and have "good relationships" and not be "aggressive" or "angry", then you have what is called relational aggression.

It goes on right in front of your nose, and you can't quite put your finger on the behaviours (they tend to be silent) but they are nonetheless abusive.

Mean looks, nasty notes, giggling & talking with one or more people that INSTANTLY stops when a certain person moves within range...

Let's not forget the napalm-bomb of girl relationships, "I won't be your friend anymore!" If the only way you have to define yourself is through relationships (not your grades, or your athletic prowess, or what have you), then this leads to emotional abuse.

It happens a lot.

Ask women of your acquaintance whether or not they prefer male friends, and if yes, why? I almost guarantee you some of the answers will be, "You know where you stand with guys. They're direct," and "Girls/women will betray your confidence to climb the social ladder."

I can only think of one girl who really drove me nuts with that sort of thing. She tried dropping the bomb, "I won't be your friend anymore!" I think it may have hurt her when I told her she wasn't a friend worth having, so push off.

Fortunately, I do have good female friends. I think we have all had similar experiences like that. It's taught us to speak up clearly when there are issues, rather than turn away and let things fester between us. Some people never really heal from the betrayals though.

I've taught my kids that it's best to be yourself--no matter how unfashionable or unpopular that makes you NOW. Eventually it will be all the rage! Also the difference between self-worth and self-esteem. Don't confuse the two. Be polite, but always listen to your gut instincts. Nice people may have sinister motives. If someone offers you booze or drugs, ask what is it in for them for YOU to have YOUR judgment impaired? (This has warded off at least one very bad thing for one kid.)

Personally, I hope that in lieu of dead flowers they do their homework and chores with alacrity. It would be a nice change, particularly if they make it a habit. I can dream!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 9, 2007 2:31 PM

Anon at 02:24 PM, I don't get offended when people ask if I plan to have kids. I do get offended when, after hearing that I do not plan to have kids, people tell me "Oh, you'll change your mind!"

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 2:32 PM

To anon poster 2:24:

I think it's a natural question to ask if someone wants kids or already has kids. I understand that for most people it is the natural progression, even though at times I would have much preferred the discussion of my engagemnent/wedding, etc. to stay on course, vs. immediately jumping to the subject of kids.

I feel that anything beyond that, though, is encroaching. It's a personal decision. We have one friend in particular who feels the need to bring it up everytime we see him. He has a child and another on the way and insists we're making the wrong choice. It's irritating, but I figure he's the one in for the bigger surprise, considering he and his wife think that life is not going to change all the much going from one to two!

I look at it this way: I would never ask someone why they had X amount of kids. I would also never suggest that someone might regret their decision to become a parent. It's preposterous to consider saying this to someone. The same should be applied to the other end of the spectrum.

Posted by: JRS | May 9, 2007 2:33 PM

I do get offended when, after hearing that I do not plan to have kids, people tell me "Oh, you'll change your mind!"

Grr...I'm firmly in your corner on that one. Hubris, pure and simple!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 9, 2007 2:34 PM

Lots of girls grow up with insitutionalized misogyny (TV commercials, sitcoms, books, even sermons). It's so pervasive that it can easily be overlooked.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 01:12 PM

Maybe in the past this was true but, I believe the pendulum has swung the other way on all of the things you mention (except the sermons). If you only go looking for opression, that is all you will see.

I will let my female pastor(the one who married me) know about her rabid oppression as soon as she is free from comforting both men and women at the hospital this week. (ROLLING MY EYES) Oppress!Oppress! LOL

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:34 PM

pATRICK, I concur with your glowing judgment on worker bee's post. Maybe we should make it the Post of the Day, what think you?

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 2:34 PM

workerbee: I thought you were considering adoption. Is that still true?

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 2:34 PM

pATRICK, are you saying you're married TO your pastor?

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 2:37 PM

Off topic:

I wonder how much sushi I need to eat on Friday to get 100% of the FDA daily value of imported melamine. I hear this chemical additive has been proven effective at successfully shutting down functioning "renals" in pets, and that it has also been fed to chicken and fish... ;-P (Gosh, can't they just say kidney failure, or would that be too blunt?)

News reports have been rather vague thus far...

One percent of our food gets inspected. Who cares about guns? Last time I checked, everybody eats...

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 2:39 PM

When people used to ask us about having kids, I would say, "Can't. He had a vasectomy" and that was that. People were usually caught off guard enough not to say anything else. Also, it was fun on my end.

Posted by: mountainS | May 9, 2007 2:42 PM

pATRICK, are you saying you're married TO your pastor?

No, (I will tell my wife that one, she will die laughing) she married my wife and I at church. By the way, I vote for workerbee too.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:42 PM

One percent of our food gets inspected. Who cares about guns? Last time I checked, everybody eats...

Remember Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle"?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 9, 2007 2:44 PM

Glad to brighten Mrs. pATRICK's day!

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 2:44 PM

"She is attacking his worth as a man and making him lose respect from other men."

Patrick --

No man can be made to lose respect of other men without his own active participation.

A man has to consent to being emasculated in order for it to happen.

Posted by: pittypat | May 9, 2007 2:44 PM

Now as the Mom of a 12 yr old daughter I have tried to teach her that there is nothing that she can't do,

Posted by: CaliforniaMom | May 9, 2007 02:01 PM

But is this really true? Can she become a professional soccer player? How about a virtuoso violinist. Doesn't this set her up for self criticism when she tries something and can't do it? It is the same issue that feminism has by saying that women can have it all; the truth no one can have it all and no one can do "anything" they want. Doesn't mean they shouldn't try.

I think in a effort to maintain a girls self esteem, you (royal you) are setting them up to be self critical women.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:45 PM

mountainS

I used to stop the nosy Parkers in their tracks by telling them that my husband was impotent!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:47 PM

It is the swing of the pundulum that I am concerned with: hubris tastes best when served with pity bread.

Bad, even for me, but I will not beat myself up for it. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 2:47 PM

I can't help but wonder if PITTYPAT is really LESLIE just trying to stir the pot. I guess we will never really know.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 2:47 PM

"Men compare their toys to others all the time."

Yeah ... and that's not all they compare!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:48 PM

Chris that is such a valid concern. Who knows what else it is in? I wrote my congressmen and told them that they need to label food if it came from China or has anything in it that came from China. I have a right to know what I am feeding my children.

I have no idea why we need wheat gluten from China. Well, I know it is because it is cheap, but look at what they put in it!

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 2:48 PM

pATRICK and catlady: Thanks!

adoptee: Yes, it's still true I am considering adoption. Mostly though, the people who ask if I'm having kids mean biologically, as it tends to come up in 'biological clock' discussions.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 2:48 PM

And really- re: kids, people are just rude. What if the person you're talking to has been trying and can't get pregnant? Or has some fertility issues and is sensitive about it? You jst never know.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 2:51 PM

"And really- re: kids, people are just rude. What if the person you're talking to has been trying and can't get pregnant? Or has some fertility issues and is sensitive about it? You jst never know."

This is so true!! My husband has replied when he's tired of being asked, "Because I can't have them. Thank you for brining this up, can we continue with the work now?"

No matter that he chose not to have kids. It's his personal choice. And it helps put rude people back in their place when they shouldn't have asked to begin with!!

Posted by: JRS | May 9, 2007 2:54 PM

"It is the swing of the pundulum that I am concerned with: hubris tastes best when served with pity bread."

baked by a martyr..............

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 2:54 PM

baked by a martyr..............

No doubt wearing a HAIR shirt (see last Friday's blog)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:01 PM

"Fred,

I am really, really surprised at you!

Your wife is disappointed that you don't give her a Mother's Day gift/card.

This is really out of character for you!!!"

Posted by: gutless coward | May 9, 2007


What can I say? Even old Fred chaffes at certain things and can be snarky!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 3:01 PM

A different subject. Anyone sen their kids to camp? How did they like it? Not you please but them? Son is going to basketball camp.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:01 PM

To 2:45 post: I think you missed the point. I doubt California Mother is blowing smoke to her daughter about her amazing potential as a concert violinist when she can't even read music.

I read her post as being about busting gender roles -- i.e., "there's nothing she can't do because she's female." Yes, that is an overstatement -- I get that there are some opportunities that don't exist for women. But I don't think the solution to that is to tell our daughters not to bother trying.

When I was a kid, the gender lines were clear. One of my kindergarten books was "Boys Are, Girls Are" ("boys are doctors, girls are nurses; boys fix things, girls need things fixed"). There were NO pro women's sports, except tennis and golf (and even there, you couldn't come close to making a living at it). There were no women astronauts (and living in Houston in the late 60s/early 70s, being an astronaut was IT). I never saw a woman doctor or woman lawyer. I wasn't even allowed to try out for little league.

But then a lot of people like my mom took on that whole system. My mom personally got that book removed from my school. She always pushed to give me whatever opportunity I wanted, even if it was a "boy" thing. And she always raised me to believe I could do or be anything I wanted. And because of people like her, I am something I never knew existed when I grew up (female lawyer). Astronaut? Not so much -- vision DQ'd that option (and, oh, yeah, terrible fear of heights -- minor detail). But just one generation later, my daughter can even make a living playing basketball, if she has the talent and desire and work ethic. Who knew? Not me, that's for sure.

The fact is, the rest of the world will tell you, early and often, about everything you can't or shouldn't do. So I don't buy the argument that moms always have to be completely realistic to avoid raising false hopes, even if in the process you squash dreams. To my mind, the best thing a mom can do is to help give her daughter the guts to tackle anything she is interested in -- even if it falls within the category of "but girls don't do that."

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 3:06 PM

pATRICK, How old is son? What is age-range of campers? How long is camp? How far from home?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:08 PM

yeah, I was most shocked after the initial pet food recall. I switched all our pet food to Natural Balance, since it is supposed to be the best all natural product- only to discover they had it in some of their products too... we still use natural balance, just a different type not exposed to the questionable ingredients.

Now that we are told it could be in the main food supply, but "not to worry" I know without a doubt this nation is in trouble. Pets are small- what about kids whose systems are small too? How much of this stuff gets passed on? Too little info has been disclosed to the public. Good for you for writing Congress.

Unfortunately, you will no doubt get a generic letter reassuring you that Rep So and So has your best interests at heart by forging new trade agreements with other nations, and providing even more freedom to others to bring things across our borders in the true American spirit... and Rep So and So hopes you will vote for him/her in the next election, if you are still alive to do so.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 3:10 PM

Expectations are premeditated disappointments.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:12 PM

To my mind, the best thing a mom can do is to help give her daughter the guts to tackle anything she is interested in -- even if it falls within the category of "but girls don't do that."

I might add DAD to that. My 6 year old son tries to limit what girls should do to my 4 year old daughter. I always look my daughter in the face and say 'Girls can do anything boys do" which usually prompts a smile from my daughter and a stuck out tongue at my son.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:13 PM

The son is 6 and it is day camp around the corner from our house. It is all day. Camp may be too strong of a word. However I have heard for 7-8 yr olds going away overnight. That seems awfully young.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:15 PM

"Around the corner" sounds like a good sign for a camper so young.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:23 PM

Laura you are awesome and correct.

One thing my mom did, in raising three girls, was to tell us all we were going to college. Neither mom nor dad went. Mom did not teach us to cook or clean (tho mom was an awesome cook). She always said: if I couldn't afford the cleaning person, I wouldn't buy the house (we really couldn't afford it in the real sense, but I digress).

She did not want us growing up thinking we should just find someone wealthy to marry-that we should be able to take care of ourselves. She waited to get married (she thought her friends who got engaged in high school were crazy) she waited several yrs after getting married to have kids. My sister learned from mom's actions, though. But my mom taught us that she didn't want us to have the same life as she did-she wanted us to have more opportunities and more choices.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 3:25 PM

pATRICK, so true! I think that statement--girls can do anything boys can do--means even more coming from a dad. It encourages girls to take their dads as role models in addition to their moms. I'm sure the same is true from mothers to sons--it's not just about modeling how to treat women.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 3:26 PM

Yes, pATRICK, I too feel sorry for men married to nagging *itches. I often wonder why they stay with the nags. Some women deliberately zero in on a victim so they can do the nagging and the husband (and any bystanders) is too polite to tell her to shut up. I made the mistake once of vacationing with one such couple. They picked, sniped, and bickered during the entire trip. Ain't love grand?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:27 PM

read her post as being about busting gender roles -- i.e., "there's nothing she can't do because she's female." Yes, that is an overstatement -- I get that there are some opportunities that don't exist for women. But I don't think the solution to that is to tell our daughters not to bother trying.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 03:06 PM

I read it the same way. The intention is noble but I think the implementation is wrong. It is the overstatement that is the problem. By stating "you can do anything", you are basically setting them up for failure because it is inevitable that there will be something they can't do.

There is nothing wrong with teaching your child that everyone has limitations. You never know if you can do something unless you try (and you should always try, no matter what people say), and sometimes you have to work to acheive something. True self-esteem can only come from true accomplishment.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:27 PM

pATRICK - If your son really loves basketball and it is properly geared toward children his age - including some fun nonbasketball activities he should be fine.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 9, 2007 3:29 PM

pATRICK - If your son really loves basketball and it is properly geared toward children his age - including some fun nonbasketball activities he should be fine.


Yes he loves basketball and it is only for 6 year olds and they play half the day, then do other things. He is a slow to warm up to things so I presume he will hate it the first day and never want to leave by the 5th day.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:32 PM

I too feel sorry for men married to nagging *itches. I often wonder why they stay with the nags. Some women deliberately zero in on a victim so they can do the nagging and the husband (and any bystanders) is too polite to tell her to shut up. I made the mistake once of vacationing with one such couple. They picked, sniped, and bickered during the entire trip. Ain't love grand?

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 03:27 PM


Do you feel equally sorry for women married to men who tear them down incessantly?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:35 PM

Do you feel equally sorry for women married to men who tear them down incessantly?

I don't feel sorry for either half of those couples. No one can take advantage of you without your consent. They always have the option to stand up or leave.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 3:38 PM

Do you feel equally sorry for women married to men who tear them down incessantly?

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 03:35 PM

I don't know about the original poster, but I do.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:38 PM

pATRICK, the basketball sounds like an excellent fit for your son, and that you're all lucky for him to have such a good opportunity so close to home. Is there any downside you haven't mentioned (besides a little first-day angst)?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:39 PM

I don't feel sorry for either half of those couples. No one can take advantage of you without your consent. They always have the option to stand up or leave.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 03:38 PM

From what I can see, you don't feel sorry for anyone. Everyone's suffering is of their own doing and if they would just do what you would do, their lives would be perfect.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:43 PM

pATRICK, the basketball sounds like an excellent fit for your son, and that you're all lucky for him to have such a good opportunity so close to home. Is there any downside you haven't mentioned (besides a little first-day angst)?

I don't think so,it seems like a good deal. It is for fun and not a "competitive" camp and his own season starts the following week. We have many discussions on whether SHAQ went to camp. I assume he did. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:45 PM

"From what I can see, you don't feel sorry for anyone. Everyone's suffering is of their own doing and if they would just do what you would do, their lives would be perfect."

It's called breaking the cycle of abuse and/or stopping being an enabler.

There is some suffering that can only be stopped by the victim. The oppressor has no incentive to stop the suffering.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:48 PM

I don't feel sorry for either half of those couples. No one can take advantage of you without your consent. They always have the option to stand up or leave.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 03:38 PM

From what I can see, you don't feel sorry for anyone. Everyone's suffering is of their own doing and if they would just do what you would do, their lives would be perfect.

I don't think I've ever agreed with pb&j, but s/he has a point. My mom always pointed out to me, "If you don't want to be a doormat, don't lie down," or something approximating that sentiment. Believe that's an old chestnut from Ann Landers.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 9, 2007 3:50 PM

I definitely know a couple like that they have been together for 40 yrs. He feels that nothing he does is right and since he will get yelled at anyway he just does nothing. They are definitely not going to be getting divorced and they love each other in their way.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 3:50 PM

pATRICK, you are of course correct -- didn't mean to be exclusionary, was just thinking of the post being from a mom and me responding as another mom. I agree completely with Worker Bee's follow-up; I see how my daughter worships my husband, and it's just so obvious how much his belief in her means.

To 3:27: I also agree, in theory. I hate the whole concept nowadays where every kid gets a goodie bag, every team gets a trophy, etc. -- I think we are so concerned about hurt feelings that we belittle true accomplishment.

But I don't know that you can judge whether someone is "going about it the wrong way" from one post; CA Mom was talking about things like teaching her daughter to spackle, which didn't exactly seem like an unrealistic desire to be a concert pianist.

With us, I DO tell my daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Partly because she's 6, and is usually responding to some boy at school, who told her girls don't do X. But when we do talk about bigger dreams, it's really important to me that she understand how much hard work is involved. So when she asked me how the gymnasts on TV learned how to do those really cool tricks, I told her that they practiced very, very hard, for a lot of years.

Now, properly weighting the role of talent? Well, I claim parental prerogative here -- I have every right to believe that my kids are the most enormously brilliant andtalented little creatures in the universe, and I intend to stick by that come hell or high water. :-) (Now, if you ask me whether I might subtly guide them into areas where there talents seem strongest, well, that's another issue entirely).

It may be inevitable that they find out that there's something they can't do, but it sure won't be from me -- that's what the hard, cold, real world is for.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 3:51 PM

"I definitely know a couple like that they have been together for 40 yrs. He feels that nothing he does is right and since he will get yelled at anyway he just does nothing. They are definitely not going to be getting divorced and they love each other in their way.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 03:50 PM "

Perfect example of an S& M couple in love in their own way.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:53 PM


washingtonpost.com's Work-Life Blog Categories
Book Club | Conflicts | Dads | Flexibility | Free-for-Alls | Guest Blogs | Moms in the News
Raising Great Kids | Research | Tips | Workplaces | You Go Girl!
On Parenting Blog: Come talk parenting at The Post's newest blog addition.
Mother's Day
Last week, I gave a live radio interview over the phone at 6:40 a.m. My husband stood watch outside our bedroom, blocking our three kids from interrupting. He did a fine job. Afterwards, I opened the door and blurted out, "I did a terrible job," which was exactly how I felt.

My two daughters, ages 8 and 5, came running from their rooms. They both said, "Mommy, you don't do a terrible job at anything!"

I'm still amazed by their show of support -- and by the example I unconsciously set for them of how to inflict self-criticism as a woman. Giving coherent radio interviewers, especially over the phone, particularly before 7 a.m., is hard. But instead, I was hard on myself.

So in honor of Mother's Day coming this weekend, let's tell stories of the good -- and bad -- role models we set for our daughters. Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women? Why? How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner | May 9, 2007; 7:45 AM ET | Category: Free-for-All
Previous: Maternity Leave -- What's Fair? |

CommentsPlease email us to report offensive comments.

First!

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 9, 2007 07:42 AM

"So in honor of Mother's Day coming this weekend, let's tell stories of the good -- and bad -- role models we set for our daughters. Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women?"

You either have to be female or gay to participate in this, another one of Leslie sexist posts.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 07:49 AM

You also have to have a daughter. Moms with boys I guess don't have to worry about what kind of example they are setting for them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 07:51 AM

Dammit, my mother loved my brother better!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | May 9, 2007 07:54 AM

Come on. In an entry where I talk about being hard on myself, is it really necessary to start the discussion by being hard on me too?

Its not much of a stretch to translate this subject to fatherhood as well as motherhood, to raising boys as well as girls...use your imagination!

Of course moms with boys need to worry about this...don't you think your sons will have at least some interaction with women in their lifetimes?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 08:00 AM

"I'm still amazed by their show of support -- and by the example I unconsciously set for them of how to inflict self-criticism as a woman"

That's pretty much the answer to Leslie's question about being a role model and setting expectations for her daughters (and son).

Leslie seems to bomb out a lot, but when her husband does the simplest task, he gets a brass band.

How about teaching the kids to not interrupt when someone is on the phone?????? What a concept!!!

If nothing is ever good enough for Leslie, how can it be for her children?

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 08:03 AM

What about dad's Leslie? I know this is Mother's Day approaching, but I don't need to use my imagination to see this should be renamed from On Balance to On Balance for Women. The past 4 days have been women's topics.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 08:07 AM

As some of you know, my sainted mother had only boys. The best lesson she taught us was not to wear dresses.

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 08:13 AM

Ah, Fred the Enlightener has arrived.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 08:17 AM

And this has what to do with Balance?

Oh, I forgot. This is really a platform for evangelizing her agenda.

Posted by: Balance? | May 9, 2007 08:17 AM

Wow, Leslie, I totally get what you're saying. I can be way too hard on myself sometimes. I work really hard to keep much of my insecurity to myself, though. But I'm not really sure that's any better in the long run.

Common folks, what's with the overwhelming negativity today? The way a mother carries herself and feels about herself has ramifications for girls, boys, and husbands. Why is anyone even questioning that?

Posted by: Robert in Austin's Wife | May 9, 2007 08:20 AM

Hmm, that is a tough one. A lot of men and women are highly critical of themselves. It is not unusual to seem perfectionists beat themselves up. I guess the best role model you can be for your son or daughter is to let them know you are human. You do some things well, some things badly and most things good enough. To makes mistakes is human and that is just part of the learning process. Self acceptance is a wonderful trait. Leslie, you are way too hard on yourself. But I guess that drive and motivation has gotten you to where you are today. There are only several ways to get to Harvard 1) born rich and connected, 2) born a genius, 3) have incredible drive and motivation. You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... Give yourself a break this Mother's day and love yourself unconditionally. That is the best gift you can receive on this day.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 08:22 AM

"evangelizing her agenda"

Agreed.

But this is her blog, right?

I suppose we can only hope for guys like Fred and Chris and FO4 to make it interesting for us when the topic is one-sided

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 08:23 AM

Actually, what my sainted mother really told me about dresses is that I don't have the legs for it!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 08:26 AM

Leslie,

I think you are getting a lot of cr*p because it wouldn't have taken much for you to have written your questions in a more inclusive manner. I'm sure this blog will diverge in topics just like all the rest, but that doesn't mean you should draft entries with such a narrow focus. I'm sure you could have seen the criticisms coming from a mile away...

Just my 2 cents...

Obviously, being a good role model as a parent is equally important to both sons and daughters. For me as a working parent, the balance is how to set good examples (and limits) even though I'm not around from 9-5. I struggle with this because when I get home, I want to play and have fun with DS. I don't want to discipline - though I force myself to do it despite the temper tantrum that ensues immediately after.


Posted by: londonmom | May 9, 2007 08:27 AM

I think that it is hard not to be a woman and be hard on yourself these days. Be the perfect mother, be the perfect wife, work your a$$ off, but do it with a smile and a warm plate of cookies at the end of the day. All the while, makeing sure that you don't step on anyone's toes or be un-PC about anything.

Please, kids need to see that mommy isn't perfect. While I don't think you should constantly be screaming "I suck," kids need to know that you aren't perfect and that they shouldn't try to be perfect either. It's okay to say that you are having a bad day or that you messed something up, as long as they know that you are going to try again tomorrow.

Like this blog for example, if I had to be Leslie everyday on this blog, i'd go insane from the negative remarks about nothing.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 08:29 AM

Guys, the topic can't include everyone everyday. I am usually interested in the topic and she almost never writes about feminist Italian-American women married to Irish-American men who have two incomes, no kids, and two dogs. Most of these topics can apply to your parents, your friends, your wife, your husband, etc., so use your imagination. Or don't post.

I am always too hard on myself. I've gotten better being married a self-assured guy. He encourages me to be more assertive. I think it's very important for women to be confident as mothers or care givers. That's the best way to battle stereotypes. This ties into the discussion about women asking for raises and how girls are raised to be humble and not "toot their own horn."

Being humble and practicing humility are not bad characteristics. I think that lots of people could benefit from them. But when they come at a price (like self esteem), these characteristics should be reevaluated.

Posted by: Meesh | May 9, 2007 08:29 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 08:31 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie | May 9, 2007 08:31 AM

Isn't Mother's day on Sunday?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 08:35 AM

Nothing wrong with talking about mothers on mother's day, but I am curious Leslie why you only asked about being a role model for daughters. I'm just curious if you think (and the other bloggers think) that Mom's self-criticism rubs off on daughters but not sons.

I personally disagree, but I assume you referenced daughters instead of children for a reason...

Posted by: londonmom | May 9, 2007 08:35 AM

Today's topic is Mother's Day???

It's been the same topic all week. I seem to remember Mother's Day being one day.....not an entire week.

BTW, the same goes for Father's Day. It's one day.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 08:36 AM

It's probably a small and silly thing, but one of the things I've been doing since I had kids is to try to get over my sheer-terror-fear of the dentist. I actually went for 5 years without going because of this stupid fear, a big mistake. My kids go every 6 months like clockwork and I have worked really, really hard to overcome this fear and be able to display a positive attitude (instead of a chalk-pale face showing teeth gritted in horror) for my kids when we go to the dentist.

Probably not what you were looking for, but that's okay.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 9, 2007 08:37 AM

"My two daughters, ages 8 and 5, came running from their rooms. They both said, "Mommy, you don't do a terrible job at anything!""

Leslie,

Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 08:44 AM

WorkingMomX

Great example of a woman puttting herself down -

"It's probably a small and silly thing, "

No, it's not. It's a big deal to FACE YOUR FEARS, and if even if isn't, SO WHAT?

"Probably not what you were looking for,"

Again, SO WHAT?? This is the NET, who cares??

Posted by: Thomasina | May 9, 2007 08:50 AM

'Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"'

Yeah, although it will actually be more like: "Mom (or perhaps even addressing you by your first name), you're such a b!tch! How could you do this to me?! You've totally ruined my life!"

All over something trivial like not allowing her to go to the mall or a social function.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 08:54 AM

Holy cow, Leslie, they are all over you today.

I think the mother-daugher bond is an incredibly interesting topic. I see how my wife tends to "blame" her mother for things and while her father is a near-saint. I also see how my daughter really needs focused one-on-one with my wife. I see how my mother, who had no daughters, embraces my wife and has a very special place in her heart for her granddaughter. There are entire books on this topic, so I don't think making it a blog topic for one day is some sort of ridiculous exclusion.

I'm sure we'll cover father-son relationships and the very interesting dynamic of what you learn and what you give to the child who is not your gender.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 9, 2007 08:55 AM

Fred,

I don't know how old you are, but you didn't need good legs for skirts before about 1964.
_____

I have sons, and I was just going to lurk today...but I changed my mind. Why is it so important to model for girls, and not for boys? Where do you think little boys learn how to behave toward little girls, anyway?

I have ALWAYS thought it was important to teach the boys to respect women. They give me grief, of course, but they see me working, and being the available parent (STBX wasn't much help in THAT department), and having opinions, and not kow-towing (sp?) to a man, and not hiding the fact that I'm fairly intelligent.

Plus, they pitch in at home; they each clean their own rooms (which includes changing the sheets, not leaving clothes all over the floor, dusting and vacuuming), and they clean their own bathroom, and clean the basement, because it's their hangout area -- AND they cut the grass too. They certainly don't see me as a drudge slave to their every whim.

I was the the strict one; I demanded a lot from them, and put up with very little nonsense (unless it was funny, then I laughed about it while I grounded them). STBX was lazy. He never supported me with discipline. He was always sleeping it off or nursing a 'headache' when he managed to come home at all. Guess who they respect more.

So when son #2 quotes from 'Ron Burgundy' (it's science!), I tell him that I hope he marries someone just like me!

Mothers of sons, unite! We can change the world, one little boy at a time!

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 09:02 AM

Not exactly on topic but I think that mothers can have a great influence on their sons too. They can learn from their mothers how to talk to women and, more importantly, how to listen to women.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 09:05 AM

I bring home the bacon...
Fry it up in a pan...
Set a good example for my children...
And when they're in bed, I strip for my man...
I am woman! Wooo!

Posted by: Hmmm... | May 9, 2007 09:06 AM

This IS an interesting topic however it's a topic that has been discussed over and over again. Balance means equally weight on all sides. Pulling the "woman" topic out every chance she gets makes her want most women don't want to be. A complainer. Just go back and look at the last 20 posts of hers and you'll see what I mean just from their titles. This past week has been especially one-sided.

Being hard on ourselves is part of how we advance in life. Self improvement comes from course correction.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 09:06 AM

I only have a son...so I no need to set no examples!

Posted by: I'm off the hook... | May 9, 2007 09:06 AM

Am I being too hard on myself about being too hard on myself? No, you need to be harder on yourself for being hard on yourself about being hard on yourself; in other words, stop before we add another layer of being hard on yourself.
Are you too hard on yourself? Yes and no. The iron discipline with which I rule my life leaves me crushed and empty insi...aww, who am I kidding, I'm a slacker at heart who realizes that I save energy by doing something right the first time. No biggie.
Are most women? No, neither are most people. Why? Look at the general population and their instant gratification mentality. I can has cheezburger! NOW! I mean, even David Hasselhoff gets his Wendy's.
How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom? Well, as I am a guy, I obviously don't have this problem- furthermore, obviously men are not supposed to fill this role. Society teaches us we are here to serve as a barrier to happiness in women, and encouraging their self-loathing habits as they cry and run screaming for the tubs of ice-cream... no. really. Ok, not really... Hypothetically, you can say "look at me, I am a wreck, you don't want to be like me. Don't make the same mistakes. Maybe don't encourage them to be hard on themselves, but instead encourage wisdom so that no matter what they are faced with they will try to do the right thing. This of course is more difficult than inspiring through fear of failure or "discipline," but the payoffs are greater, as they will be better able to take care of themselves in this crazy world.

Lastly (for now), if you don't feel good about yourself for one reason or other, sitting around in self-pitty doesn't make it any better. Do something positive- and that doesn't mean instant gratification positive. Whether it is getting a new hobby, making new friends, volunteering to improve the community, working out, quitting smoking, or something, do it and take strength from each new accomplishment. Dwelling on the what ifs and failures of the past does not lead to progress. Of course, if you are an elitist, you probably don't need any more drive, so dwell on the failures a little more and give the rest of a chance to catch up. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 09:07 AM

Did educmom just bash Fred?

Go get her Fred!!

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

"You also have to have a daughter. Moms with boys I guess don't have to worry about what kind of example they are setting for them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 07:51 AM "

I disagree with you - moms DO have to worry about the example they set for thier boys. If you wait on them and let them treat you like &^%^, that is how they'll learn to treat their future wife. If they see you as a strong, individual woman, that is what they'll look for in a future spouse.

I think the best example you can provide your children (boys and girls) is to model the type of person you want them to be or let them treat you the way they should treat other women. It is also important to live a fulfilled life. Before you guys go off on me about being selfish, our children know when we are not happy. I saw it in my mother (a frustrated SAHM) and chose a different path (self-employment). My family is important to me, but so is using my own brain. I know they benefit from that example.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 9, 2007 09:14 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

Kids pounding on the door or yelling right outside of it are pretty disruptive.

This is just too far, folks. What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview? The fact that in your household a different solution would have been optimal is immaterial. These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:15 AM

"...more importantly, how to listen to women."

and listen, and listen, and listen, and listen... j/k. ;-P


Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 09:15 AM

Now we got a party! Fred AND Chris are here!!

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM

Your husband didn't have to stand guard. You could have just locked your bedroom door. Problem solved.

Posted by: TO: Leslie | May 9, 2007 09:10 AM

Kids pounding on the door or yelling right outside of it are pretty disruptive.

This is just too far, folks. What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview? The fact that in your household a different solution would have been optimal is immaterial. These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:15 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM

No, no, no!
I'm sure Fred had FANTABULOUS legs!!
In fact, maybe his mom was...jealous! Yeaaaah, that's the ticket!

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 09:19 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM
Oh please, her kids are 5-10 years old. Supportive to a child is saying thanks, your good at something. Basically most kids are self centered and want immediate gratification. But I bet you will go and tell us you are raising perfect children.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:20 AM

"They can learn from their mothers how to talk to women and, more importantly, how to listen to women."

There are two fundamental theories for dealing with women.

Neither works.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:20 AM

**has, not had

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 09:20 AM

If the kids are so supportive, they wouldn't have been banging on the door if they knew mom was doing something important. SHEESH!

Posted by: TO: 9:15 | May 9, 2007 09:17 AM
Oh please, her kids are 5-10 years old. Supportive to a child is saying thanks, your good at something. Basically most kids are self centered and want immediate gratification. But I bet you will go and tell us you are raising perfect children.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:20 AM

Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers.

Posted by: TO: Adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:21 AM

"What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview?"

Cause the parents shouldn't have to "team up", the kids should have been taught BASIC MANNERS years ago!!

"These are their kids. Trust them to know a little more than you about how to handle them."

That's right!! I wouldn't know how to handle these spoiled brats at all!


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:21 AM

"What is the problem with Leslie and her husband teaming up to give her the optimum chance at a good, focused interview?"

--------------------------------------

Apparently, it didn't work if she thought she did a bad job. Whether she did, or not, though...is a different story.


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:23 AM

One of the most important jobs as mother is to be an example for my sons. On the silly side of examples, I'm not a girlie girl. To date, the boys are not attracted to girlie girls. High maintenance women earn disdain. The oldest married an extremely competent woman. They are creating a partnership. I would like to think seeing a partnership cast in love in their parents is one reason.

On a more serious side of examples, the boys see their mother engaging the world. Whether working or non-working, I've never been a do-nothing. I create and follow passions.

Another somewhat-silly example, the boys also see their mother freak out emotionally on occasion. Learning to deal with me when I'm at the mercy of my hormones is a good thing.

So Leslie, you're right. Fathers can also talk about lessons learned from their moms (like Fred did...darn it Fred, I hope I taught my sons the same thing).


Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 09:24 AM

Leslie, in spite of the criticism, I think this is a great topic and something that I think our generation worries about more than our mothers did. My mom and I get along great but my brother's relationship with her is oddly strained - and he's closer to our dad than I am. This seems reversed from most "adult children" I know.

I feel a great deal of pressure to be a good model for both my sons and daughter in similar but not identical ways. There's more pressure, I think, with respect to the daughter. I'm short and not naturally thin (and have thyroid disease) and so I've struggled throughout my life with body image issues and had a pretty significant eating disorder in my early 20's. I am very conscious of not making self-critical comments around my kids and I try very hard to promote positive self-image for all three. I've resumed running and feel stronger, fitter, and thinner than I have in years and I think they can tell that being athletic makes me happy. It's been fun to have the children cheer me and my husband on as we've completed goals like a half-marathon and see how excited they are for us as we get closer to our marathon. Food choices are a big deal - my ex and his wife are not healthy - they are obese and eat a lot of junk food. We try to model good eating habits, healthy food choices and yes, indulge in occasional treats. But I worry about *everything* - my family has a history of alcoholism so I also am very conscious of how often and what our kids see us drink. I worry about teaching them the value of community service but not at the expense of family time. It's a balance and a constant struggle - what we model to our kids is so much of who they will become. Being a firm believer in the "do as I do, not as I say" adage, having kids has also made me wear a helmet while biking and skiing, made me try new things, made me aware of how to teach tolerance. When you see your actions reflected back at you from your kids, I think you become very aware of the person you are and the person you want to be.

Posted by: Stacey | May 9, 2007 09:24 AM

Those those who are blaming Leslie and her husband's parenting skills for the way the kids were supposedly acting outside the door, you need to back off. That has no merit and is just mean and gutless.

Posted by: Bad Karma | May 9, 2007 09:27 AM

"Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers."

Messages to daughter:
-- marry well
-- there is ONE way to raise a family
-- it is fine to think you are better than other people
-- it is good to be judgemental

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 9, 2007 09:27 AM

my my my, aren't you being judgemental this morning! Someone spike your wheaties or something? There is no reason to bring up day care as part of your rebuttal. your post is troll in the making

Posted by: to to adoptee at 9:21 | May 9, 2007 09:28 AM

Yes, I'm home with my children and they are very, very respectful! Unlike children who are dropped in daycare everyday to be raised by strangers.

Posted by: TO: Adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:21 AM
Being judgemental is a wonderful thing to teach a child. I bet your kids are as respectful of other people as you are.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 09:30 AM

I think it's about changing how we talk around the little sponges. It's easy to stop swearing, but it harder to change "I did terribly" to "That was hard, but I did my best."

And this is about fathers and sons. It's about everyone respecting everyone so we can all grow up to respectful of everyone. Very profound, I know. ;)

Posted by: atb | May 9, 2007 09:32 AM

Good Lord, folks -- it's so difficult to extrapolate from mothers and daughters to fathers and daughters or mothers and sons? Are you looking for a reason to get PO'd?

And why would it be so bad to talk about mothers and daughters anyway? I am the most powerful influence in my daughter's life, just as my husband is the most powerful influence in our son's life. Not to undercut the importance of the cross-gender bonds, but my daughter's primary source of information about what it means to be a woman is ME. And that is a tremendous privilege and a grave responsibility.

Having a daughter made me very aware of a lot of my own insecurities and issues, and made me very determined to try to shield my daughter from them. I want her to have the best, fullest life possible, which is hard to do if you spend your entire teenage and college years (as I did) fixated on being fat. Now I wonder how much fun I missed because I was fixated on stuff that didn't matter. I never once owned a little red dress, or miniskirt, or sexy shoes, or learned how to flirt, because I didn't think I had the figure to pull it off, so it was better not to try than to be rejected. Now I see how cute and skinny I was and think, what the heck was I thinking?? True "D'Oh!" moment.

So if I can protect my daughter from that kind of limiting self-doubt, that's my highest priority. And I know she watches everything I do (I tend to wander aimlessly while on the phone, so now she marches intently around the house while talking). Which means I have to act the part. So I've dropped any kind of negative comments about my weight or my looks from my vocabulary.

Food is also a big thing in our family; I was a very picky eater and prefer bad foods, which is another thing that has limited me. So I cook healthy foods in moderation at home, teach her about healthy eating and good food choices, and praise her for trying new things.

The biggest thing we deal with is her perfectionism -- she needs to do everything perfectly, have everything in its place, be right all the time, and she beats herself up over really stupid stuff. So I also let her know when I've missed something up, or make a joke out of it, so she sees that no one is perfect, and we love her even when she messes up. But boy, is it baby steps -- she used to break down if she spilled her drink; now she just says "uh-oh" and goes to get a paper towel to clean it up with.

I worry about this most with food, since you put those perfectionist/control tendencies together with teenage years, and anorexia isn't that far off (and if there is a genetic link, well, my mom had it, so that's a possibility, too). Which is why I make sure that any time we talk about food, it's in the context of being healthy and strong and having energy to do the things she wants, and having fun trying new things -- NOT about dieting or being skinny or looking pretty. But teaching her about moderation in ANYTHING is a continuing struggle.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 09:36 AM

Speaking as a husband of one wife and father of three daughters (and one son):


Are you too hard on yourself? Are most women? Why?

DW is. I wish she'd realize that the girls - especially the 18-year old, about-to-be-high-school-graduate-and-
college-student, aren't perfect and it's not her "fault".
Mostly she's fine with it, but every once in a while, whooo....

How can you teach girls to feel good about themselves, if you don't feel good about yourself as a woman and a mom?

By setting an example.

And by fighting your own fights - don't drag anybody else into them.

Last night, I was cooking dinner as DW and 18-year-old DD come home from the store in the middle of a raging fight. DD wants to go see a movie that's rated R. DW is dead set against it. Personally, I'd never heard of the movie, don't know what it's about, don't know why it's rated R, etc.

DD: "Dad, she's being totally unreasonable. I want to see this movie with my friends. I'm 18. Tell her it's okay for me to go."

DW: "NO!!! Tell her right now that she's not going to see that trash and corrupt her mind while she's living in this house."

Me: Um, dinner will be ready in 30 minutes, and ...

DD and DW, simultaneously: "I knew it you're on her side! I've had it." (Sounds of two doors slamming within a second of each other.)

THAT's what Leslie and her husband have to look forward to. :-)

(Venting? Who, me? Nah, why would I do that?)


Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 09:38 AM

I think kids SHOULD believe their parents are perfect. Something should be rock solid in this confusing unpredictable world.

Once my kids were raging about Grandpa's lack of business acumen - he was selling a car, and my 13 y.o. son found him a buyer. Instead, Grandpa sold it for a hundred dollars less to a guy he liked better. Great. That was a hundred bucks my son expected as a commission. So, the kids are complaining, and I ask - what about us? Are you talking the same way behind our back, second-guessing our decisions? Both DS and DD look at me with an expression of great surpise: "You? You guys are smart!". That's when I knew our job was done. They won't suffer fools gladly, and they can tell the difference. Fast forward 10 years, the son is an AF pilot, the daughter got an MS in architecture and became a real estate developer.

We SHOULD tell our children that there is perfection in life, and they should strive for it. We ourselves should do our damn best. Never give up, never fish for a compliment, saying "I was so bad, wasn't I?". Show them that we make mistakes, but we don't think it's OK. We regroup and correct our mistakes, and we don't relax until it's done.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:41 AM

"It's about everyone respecting everyone so we can all grow up to respectful of everyone."

It is this kind of hippy communism that leads to people singing an off-key politically correct version of kumbaya to terrorists. j/k, again (surprise) ;-P

I was raised to follow the golden rule, but also to not blindly expect everyone else to follow it.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 09:42 AM

"Well, as I am a guy, I obviously don't have this problem- furthermore, obviously men are not supposed to fill this role. Society teaches us we are here to serve as a barrier to happiness in women, and encouraging their self-loathing habits as they cry and run screaming for the tubs of ice-cream... no. really."

Chris, how did I know this was you? :-) Thanks for the first laugh of the day. Followed shortly thereafter by Fred's legs and Army Brat -- most excellent.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 09:43 AM

Laura,

Good Job! You are teaching your daughter how to respect herself, but when she gets in school and learn that the other kids don't respect her you'll learn that you forgot to teach her about how others will see her and that image at that age is everything. Hope you have a way to pay for her therapy.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 09:43 AM

Army Brat- that's a good story. I got a good chuckle out of it. I think it is a story about teaching and then learning to let go.

18 and not allowed to see an R rated movie? I don't know what movie but seeings as she is 18 and legally an adult, that is one of the choices she should be able to make by herself by now. I didn't say she should see it, but I would like to believe she should know how to make that simple decision.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 09:46 AM

Army Brat, good story!
I hope you at leaast managed to enjoy your meal.

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 09:47 AM

I think this is an absolutely amazing topic. Leslie, you have had eating disorder issues in the past, correct? I think that has A LOT to do with you second guessing yourself- always having that voice in your head that you're not good enough.

In all honesty, the vast majority of women I know have food issues and body issues. This is an incredibly confusing time to be raising daughters. Hyper sexualization, anorexic starlets,...I do not want my daughter to grow up feeling awful about herself all the time.

Not to say it's not difficult to raise a boy, but I think most parents will tell you that raising a healthy girl with high self esteem is VERY hard.The emotions and hormones are so overwhelming for so many girls.

I think it's a great topic.

Good things I do:
I stayed home, then went back to work- hopefully showing her that I think motherhood and family is just as important as being independent and in a career.

Not talk about how fat I feel: I focus on being healthy and staying fit, which we do as a family.

Always talk about her body in a strong way- look at those muscles, all of those veggies grow strong bones, etc...

Things I do wrong:

I get frustrated with clothing sometimes- I'm hourglass and it's tough to find pants that fit. I'm always getting them tailored and pulling and fixing...

I read US Weekly (ack!)

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 9, 2007 09:49 AM

Off topic:

David Hasselhoff can has cheezburger!

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 09:52 AM

Leslie, a hug to you today. A very nice post, and kudos to you for sharing an unselfconfident moment with us readers.

I have a son (he's almost 2) and do sometimes worry about how I act and what he is picking up.

Actually, one thing I've been thinking about is how my husband likes to tease me (his nature -- he does it to everyone he loves) and how my son will react to that before he kind of "gets it."

How will my relationship with my husband (which I consider a wonderful one, but still with issues, as with all relationships), affect my son's choice of a girlfriend, wife (or if he is gay, partner)?

What if he consistently brings home women I think are horrible? Does that mean I've screwed up somehow? It will be interesting to see, in 15 years or so!

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 09:53 AM

Chris - hey, it meant more for me! I don't have body image problems - I know I'm overweight; that's life.

Dotted: I figure it this way. She goes to the movies with her friends; I don't check her ticket stub when she gets home. If she gets home on time, with the car in one piece, no alcohol on her breath, and no sign of drugs, I'm pretty happy.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 09:57 AM

My son knows I'm not perfect. He sees my foibles too frequently. No one would mistake me for June Cleaver. Our house is not neat as a pin. The other day, I found myself doing laundry at the last minute so that my son would have a clean soccer uniform by 9:00 AM. As we were waiting for it to dry, I apologized for being so unorganized. He said, "Don't worry, Mommy. I like putting my clothes on when they are warm out of the dryer. That's my favorite thing."

Which made me realize that kids don't expect perfection. Mostly, they need love and stability. They need healthy food, a roof over their heads, an education, and some fun. Everything else is optional.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 09:57 AM

Army Brat:

You should have applied the 'standard' Solomon-Dad strategy of making both miserable: Tell them that DD *must* watch the movie *with* DW.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:00 AM

Wow, Mike C, thanks for the oh-so-helpful comments. So your solution is what exactly? Teach her that "image is everything," and that being accepted by other people is the Most Important Thing? Then what do I do when she discovers that she CAN'T please everyone all the time?

I figure if I'm saving for therapy one way or the other, I'll at least start with the values that are important to me: i.e., that people who believe "image is everything" aren't worth the time and energy you spend trying to please them.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 10:01 AM

"They need healthy food, a roof over their heads, an education, and some fun. Everything else is optional."

You forgot Legos. Boys need Legos. Lots and lots of Legos. Enough Legos that you invariably step on loose pieces in bare feet in the early morning [which also provides children with an introduction to profanity].

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:07 AM

Army Brat - If I didn't know better, I would think that you live in my house :)

"Army Brat- that's a good story. I got a good chuckle out of it. I think it is a story about teaching and then learning to let go.

18 and not allowed to see an R rated movie? I don't know what movie but seeings as she is 18 and legally an adult, that is one of the choices she should be able to make by herself by now. I didn't say she should see it, but I would like to believe she should know how to make that simple decision."

Ok - I agree with this to a point. If she is 18, she may legally be an adult, but this child/woman is still in high school and still a dependent child. Should she be allowed to stay out all night after Prom because she is 'legally an adult'? Should she be allowed to smoke in the house because she is 'legally an adult'? Should she be allowed to spend the night with a boyfriend, either at his home or hers, because she is 'legally an adult'? At 18, yes, young adults make their decisions whether or not they are going to do these things (the daughter could go to the movies without permission and just say she is somewhere else, or seeing a different movie). The parents are the ones who set the standards, moral and otherwise, for a family. Whether or not others agree, or the child is legally an adult is really beside the point.

My 19-year-old wants to have co-ed sleepovers which we will not allow in our home. She also wants to set her own curfew. We have told her that if she doesn't follow the rules in our house, she can leave. We pay for food, shelter, college, car ins, some clothing, cell phone, etc. She does work part-time (college student) and is responsible for gas, fun money, some college expenses. Legally, she is old enough to do what she wants, but we have set the level of expected behavior in our house and expect her to be respectful of that.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:08 AM

Laura -- you sound great. I'm sure he's doing this already, but in the quest to manage food, body image, etc. make sure your husband is helping -- by making sure your daughter hears him tell you are beautiful always. Plus, it's nice for you to hear this too, huh? You sure can't please everyone, but it's important that the people who really matter to you appreciate you and demonstrate it.

Posted by: Arington Dad | May 9, 2007 10:09 AM

Laura,

Teacher her balance. Teacher her that it's ok to be herself, others may see it as bad but that doesn't make it bad.

Sounds like your method is to let yourself go and hope for the best.

That's what I am saying exactly.

Posted by: Mike C | May 9, 2007 10:10 AM

Today's topic IS Mother's Day.

Is there something wrong with talking about mothers on Mother's Day?

Posted by: Leslie

Perhaps she meant, "TODAY'S topic is Mother's Day." What does it mean to you?


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:11 AM

Apparently my lack of happiness with my nose and body shape has caused self-esteem issues with my now 17 year old son per the ex. The reasoning being that since my son and I look alike; and I don't like things about my appearance; hence, these same things are wrong with his appearance and I've messed with his self-esteem.

I'd never looked at it that way..... mothers have to be careful about everything apparently.

Posted by: C.W. | May 9, 2007 10:14 AM

anon at 10:08
I didn't say she should see the movie. In fact I like the solomon approach noted earlier of forcing both to see the movie together. I said she is old enough to make the decision herself. R is 17 and under by the way. It isn't like it is illegal. She is 18, an adult and legally able to see R rated movies. Therefore, comparing to drinking, coed sleepovers, etc. is inappropriate.


Army Brat - I know what you mean. I had another talk with my son just last night about prom night, drinking, after prom, etc. He is 16. We said no after prom. He isn't happy about that, but as a sophomore asked to go by a junior girl, I believe it is okay to set that limit.

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 10:14 AM

"Legally, she is old enough to do what she wants, but we have set the level of expected behavior in our house and expect her to be respectful of that."

I agree that you can set the rules in your own house, but being too controlling can backfire. When I was in college, my parents thought they had a right to control my every move, and even gave me an 11 pm curfew. I put up with it for a while, but after a year, I got sick of it and rebelled. They pulled out the "our house, our rules" card, and I couldn't disagree with that, so I moved out. I had a full scholarship, and made arrangements to live at school over the summer and work. They were horrified when I told them I was not coming back for the summer, and would not be coming back on breaks either. I never went back home to live, and our relationship was strained for a long time, until they finally figured out that I was an adult and began to treat me as one.


Posted by: Suzan | May 9, 2007 10:16 AM

Changing the topic: what I learned from my mother (who isn't "sainted" like Fred's because, well, she's not dead yet):

- how to work hard to support the family (you can't really support a family on an Army NCO's pay, at least not in the '50s and '60s. Mom was a teacher who almost always worked while I was growing up.)

- how to take care of the family by herself when she had to (the Army sent Dad to Korea by himself for a year, and Vietnam by himself for 14 months).

- how to be true to yourself, and not compromise your own values and standards (got the same lessons from Dad; they were a good team)

- how to throw a curve (hey, Dad was in Vietnam; somebody had to teach me. The only problem was that I'm lefthanded and she's not. To this day I can't throw a curve lefty, but using my right hand, as the expression goes, you can stand behind a tree 60 feet six inches away and I'll whomp you to death.)

Which reminds me - gotta get the Mother's Day package in the mail. The kids made her a bunch of home-made cookies and decorated them; gotta get them in the mail to North Carolina today or they aren't going to make it.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 10:19 AM

dotted,

How is the after prom handled at your son's school? At my nephews school they ride on buses and go to an event for the night that is chaperoned by parents. Then, they take them back to school in the morning so they can go home. I agree that I would be worried if it is a free for all and the kids can leave and run wild though.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 10:20 AM

Dotted - the high school's "after prom" was to take over an entertainment complex - "Dave and Buster's" - all-night. She went to the prom then went to that. Once they entered the "after-prom" party, they weren't allowed to leave until it ended at 0600, after which the chances of getting into too much trouble were diminished. Other schools in the county take over movie theaters, indoor swimming pools, or similar places. The events are chaperoned - by parents who do NOT have kids attending the prom, which I think is a good thing - and seem to work well.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 10:23 AM

You know, when I was in high school, it wasn't uncommon at all to hear girls saying, "Oh, I totally failed that exam! I just know I did!" "I did terribly on that presentation!" It was a way of bonding with other girls; when Girl A said, "I did such an awful job!" it was a clear signal for Girls B, C, and D to reply in chorus, "Oh, no you didn't! You did so well! WE are the ones who did terribly!"

I haven't seen this behavior much in adult women, and when I do, it stands out as unpleasant and immature. Almost all the adult women I know are hard on themselves in that they want to keep striving to better themselves, their careers, their causes; they don't engage in pointless, rhetorical, "Oh, I totally screwed that up!"

I think that men and women can both set an excellent example for sons and daughters by continuing to strive to reach goals and by saying "I totally kicked ass on that interview/presentation/brief" when one did in fact kick ass. It's not vain or jerky or conceited to be proud of succeeding at something.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 9, 2007 10:23 AM

My mother used to beat the bejeezus out of us depending on her whims and moods. She used one of those wooden paddles you get with a ball and rubber band, pull off the ball and whack us with it. One time my brother hid the paddle so she got anohter one and beat him with it for hiding the first one. Don't get within an arm's length of her because she'd reach out and slap us in the face. She also read my sister's diary and beat her when she came home from dates, especially her school prom. I never dated in high school because I didn't want to get beaten, too. Actually, she was angry at our father and took it out on the kids.

Ah, yes, Martyr's Day -- we get to choose her nursing home.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:28 AM

'Enjoy this now, when your daughters are 16 and 13, they will be saying "Mommy, you do a terrible job at everything!"'

Yeah, although it will actually be more like: "Mom (or perhaps even addressing you by your first name), you're such a b!tch! How could you do this to me?! You've totally ruined my life!"

All over something trivial like not allowing her to go to the mall or a social function.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 08:54 AM

Don't forget the follow-up question, "Mom, can you drive me and [friend] to the mall?"

Within the same paragraph, of course!

(Just say no)

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

Wow, Leslie, some people are really being negative this morning. I get it that you're talking about moms because Mothers' Day is coming up and I'm sure there will be a Fathers' Day post in June too. And though I am gender-neutral about a lot of things, I do think we learn many of our ideas about gender from our parents: the way they experience their own gender and the way they interact with ours.

Both of my parents are critical people, especially of themselves. My mother also tried hard to instil a more uncritical sense of acceptance in her children. The mixed message I got from her was "I love you just the way you are, but please learn to sing better/ have better manners/ help out more/ do your hair properly/ etc and I will love you more." For her, being a woman meant being subject to all kinds of expectations around appearance and accomplishment, and in her world men were exempt.

As a result my brothers are pretty free of the perfectionism that defines me.

Posted by: worker bee | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

"That's when I knew our job was done. . . . Fast forward 10 years, the son is an AF pilot, the daughter got an MS in architecture and became a real estate developer."

I applaud the career accomplishments of your children. On the other hand, we will only know that we did our job well as parents if our kids grow up to be adults who love and accept themselves, are curious and caring, have integrity, courage, honesty and a strong sense of values. They may choose to have no children or six, be unemployed musicians or CEOs. Those choices will not tell me if I did my job.

If you consider your parenting to be validated because your children have successful careers, you might want to consider the messages you are sending and whether they are consistent with the values you purport to hold dear.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:29 AM

At 6:15 a.m. I'm up, dressed and on the way to work. You have the luxury of doing an interview OVER THE PHONE FROM YOUR BEDROOM. Slacker.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:31 AM

At 6:15 a.m. I'm up, dressed and on the way to work. You have the luxury of doing an interview OVER THE PHONE FROM YOUR BEDROOM. Slacker.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:31 AM

Or maybe you're a SUCKER!

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

Geez -- talk about navel-gazing.

Leslie may not have done a terrible job on her 6:40 a.m. interview, but she did a truly terrible job writing today's column.

It's like something you'd come up with while doing the hot rollers in the bathroom at 6:40 a.m.

Perhaps, in honor of the bloated, freakish, guilt-inducing, commercial extravaganza that is Mother's Day, we should talk about how NOT to take ourselves so seriously.

Posted by: What a Trip | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

"No, no, no!
I'm sure Fred had FANTABULOUS legs!!
In fact, maybe his mom was...jealous! Yeaaaah, that's the ticket!"

Posted by: educmom | May 9, 2007 09:19 AM

No, my legs are hairy. My sainted mother is the second most beautiful woman in the world, Frieda, of course, is first!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 10:38 AM

I think Leslie posted this because of the tendency of women in America to apologize too much and critizice themselves too much.
It is a self-defeating culturally-learned behavior.
One thing to teach kids is that you must not let others turn your concientiousness (spell-checkers, please criticize) be turned against you. Others may try to focus on your small failings to make you feel incompetent, so they can control you. We need to teach daugthers (sons) not to let that happen.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | May 9, 2007 10:40 AM

Leslie - I'm sure it gets frustrating for you to have to see negative posts. What you may not realize is that your blog comes across as being focused on the lives of upper-class white women, almost exclusively. What might work a little better is to re-read your posts before you submit them, and just ask yourself - what would a man, a poor person, a widower/divorcee, or anyone different than me think when they read this. Might help, and some of us might feel less excluded.

Posted by: jj | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM

"You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... "

Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie.


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM

Lighten up people, everyone just needs to admit we are jealous of Leslie's elite ability to get paid to write a couple of paragraphs on anything, ask a couple questions to get comments, and call it a day. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:47 AM

SAHMbacktowork

Yes, Leslie had an eating disorder and was a battered wife.

There probably still remain some scars.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:49 AM

Lighten up people, everyone just needs to admit we are jealous of Leslie's elite ability to get paid to write a couple of paragraphs on anything, ask a couple questions to get comments, and call it a day. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:47 AM

Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:50 AM

"You have already accomplished what most people can't in a lifetime-Harvard, Wharton, writing a book etc... "

Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie.


Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM
If you think Leslie has nothing to say, why do you read this blog?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 10:51 AM

"If you think Leslie has nothing to say, why do you read this blog?"

I think she has plenty to say - I just don't think she's the goddess that you do.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:52 AM

"Foamgnome, how does it feel to have picked the wrong career path? Judging by your constant sucking up, you should have gone to the University of How To Be Just Like Leslie."

To anonymous @ 10:46 --

Your use of the phrase "constant sucking up" suggests that you regard Leslie as an authority figure.

Do you have some kind of impress-the-boss hangup yourself?

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:53 AM

How does it feel to be an official a-hat? You must be a cum laude graduate of the School of Pointless Pettiness and Mean Spiritedness. Congratulations!!

Posted by: To anon at 10:46 | May 9, 2007 10:53 AM

I hope the men on this board don't count themselves out too early in the game. I am almost always left out of the conversation, at least in terms of my personal life, because I don't have kids. But I can contribute to this conversation by remarking on the difference my mother made in my life, as can all of you. And I personally love hearing your opinions. So, since you can't offer how you have influenced your daughter as a mother, tell us how your mom influenced you?

My own mother, I kind of have mixed feelings about. I adore her--she is, in a way, my best friend, and in some ways I admire her strength. But in other ways I have a hard time understanding why she does what she does. For example, she's a strong woman, but she's always relied on a man for her upkeep. When she divorced my dad, she married my stepdad. Now that she's separated from him, she's got a boyfriend who she says will "take care of her." My mother is not the gold-digging type--she just doesn't like to work very hard. She's somewhat low maintenance, but she expects her husband to finance things she couldn't afford herself if she were alone: trips abroad, nice clothing, jewelry, classes she takes solely for emotional fulfillment and not for her career, etc. (Note: stepdad is not innocent here, either, and can spend outside of his means as well.) I have received some very extravagant gifts from BF, but I know if he were to leave me at any time, I'd survive and not try to replace him. And while right now I can hardly afford necessities, I have a plan of action that will allow me to become self-sufficient in the long run, and not searching for a boyfriend in my fifties.

My mom has taught me to find beauty and love in the world, and she's taught me to stand up for myself and demand respect. She didn't, however, teach me self-sufficiency or responsibility. So now I'm torn between the reality I've made for myself, the future I want for myself, and the free spirit I inherited from her that is not anchored very well in reality.

Will I say any of this on Mother's Day, though? I think you know the answer. I keep these feelings to myself (mostly), because it's my responsibility to build the life I want for myself, and just because chanting mantras and reading tarot cards all day sounds nice, it won't give me the life I want, and that's not her fault.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 10:54 AM

I think kids SHOULD believe their parents are perfect. Something should be rock solid in this confusing unpredictable world.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 09:41 AM

But . . . their parents are not perfect. What's the point of losing your children's trust and confidence by encouraging belief in something they are sure to discover is untrue? That only makes you a perfect liar. Striving for perfection is a laudable goal. Claiming you're already there is for those with a Messiah complex or the mentally unstable.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

Read the first few posts and wow people -- lighten up a bit -- anyway -- I have an bad habit of always saying to my daughter "you are so pretty." and to my son I say, "you are so smart." I dont know why I do this -- but I do. So I have been striving to say to both of them "you are so smart." Some days are easier :) And some days I cant say it to either one (FYI-- that was a joke)

Posted by: Marie | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

"Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous."

If you were truly not jealous, you wouldn't have responded to Chris's silly comment.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

In recent weeks I have gone from a full-time worker bee to a stay at home mom. I have been a faithful reader of On Balance for quite a while now, but have not blogged because of my own balance struggles juggling FT work, family, etc. I have really been looking forward to joining the discussions.

It is very disheartening for me to have to wade through all the negative Leslie bashing to read the meaningful responses to today's topic. I may be a stay at home mom now, but my time available to enjoy this blog is still limited.

If today's topic is not of interest to you or does not meet your expectations for the blog, why not just get on with your day?

Posted by: 8:57AM MDT | May 9, 2007 10:57 AM

I don't think she is a goddess either. The turth of the matter is none of us even know Leslie. We only the know the few snap shots that she is brave enough to share with the public.
But if you can't respect that fact that few people go to Harvard, Wharton, and write a book, you are just being dishonest with yourself. Or are you trying to tell us that you have done all those things? There is nothing wrong with admitting some people achieve things that others do not.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 10:57 AM

"...those with a Messiah complex or the mentally unstable." Generally those with a Messiah complex ARE unstable. However, they can get a tax break! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 9, 2007 10:58 AM

If y'all don't stop bashing Leslie today, I will give y'all two Cultural Tidbits of the Day and One Fred's Child Rearing Tip of the Day.

You will be sorry!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 10:58 AM

Ok, Mike C, I get your point now. I guess I just don't see where in my post it indicates that my parenting philosophy is to "let yourself go and hope for the best." Which is nowhere near close. What set you off on that? If you read the last half of my post, it was all about the struggle to teach moderation and balance to Little Miss Perfectionist.

But teaching balance is also inherently tricky when the messages coming from everywhere else are so one-sided. Our whole society tells girls that the most important thing is being pretty and thin (and having the coolest clothes and toys). Even at 6, my daughter is already hyper-aware of this, from commercials, from billboards, from what she sees on the street. She knows from her friends in school that she is already judged on what toys she has, what TV she watches, whether she's seen Spiderman 3, etc. Her only bulwark against that onslaught is a family that values her for who she is, not what she has or what she looks like. So we can't be 50/50, when it's 100% one-sided from everywhere else. It is my job to actively resist that pressure, and to give her the tools to do so -- to teach her that character and morals and values and inner beauty and behavior and good habits and health and good judgment are what really matters.

And it's not just about protecting her from the inevitable disappointments -- I don't want HER judging other people on such a superficial level, because that's a crappy way to go live your life. The fact is, she is thin and (I think) gorgeous, and we could buy her a lot of "stuff" -- it would be pretty easy to give in to the commercial pressures and turn her into a little princess who thinks that looking pretty and having the right clothes is the be-all and end-all of what matters as a person. But to my mind, those are the wrong values for going through life. So it's my job to teach her to focus on the right things (both with herself and others), and to give her the inner strength to stand up to a society that is constantly telling her that being pretty and skinny and having cool stuff is the most important thing.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM

My mother taught me how to relate to women as equals, and to respect them.

My mother taught me how to be kind and considerate.

My mother taught me that "women's work" is also "whoever is available's work".

My mother taught me to appreciate the hard work others do for you, and to let them know you appreciate it.

My mother taught me how to stretch a dollar, and how to make things last.

My mother taught me how to iron a shirt, how to cook, and how to make a bed.

My mother taught me to treat others as I'd like them to treat me, but at the same time to stand up for what I feel is right.

My mother taught me that violence against women is completely unacceptable, for any reason.

My mother has been gone for 30 years; I still miss her.

Posted by: John L | May 9, 2007 11:01 AM

I think successful careers in the areas I mentioned tell a lot about internal drive, adventurous spirit and mental abilities of people. I can't care less how many children they have or what kind of partners they choose. But I certainly would be concerned if they became unemployed musicians. When they were growing up we told them that the world needs them, and they have responsibilities. By the way, I was also very solicituous of them, and if I took a business call and spent half an hour on the phone in the museum instead of talking about Monet, they would get profound apologies (and avoid a lecture!)

It's not only about the careers. If I said that my daughter became a cashier at Winn-Dixie I would have to wax and wane about her other great qualities. But if at 27 years old she can acquire 150 homes development and bring it from ground up, selling every one -- she doesn't need to prove her human or business skills. Incidentally, she recently married her boyfriend of 7 years. Great guy, great in-laws. Her MIL called her from the jewelry store asking for her opinion on the piece she was buying. Who can beat that?

Posted by: 9:41 AM | May 9, 2007 11:03 AM

"Speak for yourself, Chris. I can think of few things of which I'm less jealous."

If you were truly not jealous, you wouldn't have responded to Chris's silly comment.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 10:55 AM

uh... no, 10:55, Ms. Armchair Psychologist. Sometimes I choose not to resist the urge to tell someone they've said something really stupid. Like you. Said something really stupid, I mean.

jealousy and the ability to separate fact from fiction are unrelated.

Posted by: | May 9, 2007 11:04 AM

Where in the world did some of you get the idea that each and every topic here had to be directly relevant to YOUR life? This Blog is 5 days a week - is it so unbelievable/unacceptable that some of the topics might not apply to you? If Leslie wants to talk about mothers and daughters for one day, fine. If it doesn't interest you, don't check back in. In the alternative, apply the larger question (setting a role model for your children) to your own experiences, whether it be father-son, father-daughter, or mother-son. Is it so tough to figure this out on your own? Or is it that your day doesn't officially begin until you are rude or insulting to someone?

If Leslie's purported agenda irritates you so much, please feel free to stop reading and posting. The attack-mode mentality of many posters here is the least attractive aspect of thsi blog, and detracts from many legitimate discussions.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Posted by: Anon for this Po

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 3:53 PM

Vegas Mom wrote: "I don't think I've ever agreed with pb&j, but s/he has a point. My mom always pointed out to me, 'If you don't want to be a doormat, don't lie down,' or something approximating that sentiment. Believe that's an old chestnut from Ann Landers."

Very well put, VM. I'd add that good friends can be supportive of the abused person, to help her or him get out of an abusive relationship, or to learn to stand up to the abuser (e.g., practice sessions of role-playing).

Posted by: catlady | May 9, 2007 3:54 PM

To 3:27: I also agree, in theory. I hate the whole concept nowadays where every kid gets a goodie bag, every team gets a trophy, etc. -- I think we are so concerned about hurt feelings that we belittle true accomplishment. "

That is an excellent point. I still allow my 6 year old to receive his trophy but I will NOT allow him to receive one by age 8 for just showing up. It DOES belittle achievement and means absolutely nothing. I think it is a travesty to receive a trophy for participation. Reminds me of MEET THE FOCKERS "Oh I didn't know they gave trophies for 9th place" That was a great line.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 3:56 PM

pATRICK, Shaq went to camp mostly later on in his teens. Dale Brown, the former LSU basketball coach, tells the story of being at an Army post in Germany, conducting a clinic for the troops and families. After the basic clinic he took questions. One young man came up to him and asked Brown to teach him how to dunk. He told Brown, "Coach, I'm 6'8" and I can't dunk - help me." Brown wrote out an exercise regimen designed to strengthen Shaq's legs so he could jump higher, quicker. He casually asked the young man how long he had been in the Army.

Shaq's response: "Army? Coach, I'm only 12 years old."

Brown's next words were, "Son, where's your father?" From that point on he kept in touch; that's why Shaq (who went to high school at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio) when to LSU.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 9, 2007 3:57 PM

Why did someone post the entire thread at 3:53?

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 3:58 PM

Why did someone post the entire thread at 3:53?

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 03:58 PM


Probably incompetence.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 4:02 PM

"One thing my mom did, in raising three girls, was to tell us all we were going to college."

Me too. Okay, not necessarily college, but they will throw themselves into whatever career they choose, and they will be financially solvent so that they can survive without a second income if they want/need. Another thing I will require is that they take some sort of self-defense class. They want to take ballet and cheerleading, fine, but they will have to learn to defend themselves. I want kung fu, BF wants Muay Thai (of course), but the decision really will be theirs, as long as the martial art is practical and they can use it to keep themselves safe. Anything above and beyond that that they want to study is fine with me.

Another thing: no princess parties. And if they want to go to WDW, they'll do it for the roller coasters, not Cinderella. And no pageants.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 4:03 PM

Of course my sister thinks she deserves such treatment. But her husband has taken away her earning power gives her an allowance so she's not allowed to spend any money I don't even think she is on the deed to the house. Obviously she is dependent on her-of course she has friends and family who would cut off an arm if she would leave him, but she thinks that might be admitting she made a mistake so she would never do that-she told me she wouldn't date abyone who's parents had been divorced, then *her* parents got divorced-so she looks at *herself* as damaged goods

she wanted three kids and so she was going to get that whatever type of house they grew up in. She doesn't realize that they will grow up one day and say: um, hey-why did you do that to us?

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 4:05 PM

Another thing: no princess parties. And if they want to go to WDW, they'll do it for the roller coasters, not Cinderella. And no pageants.

Why do you feel so compelled to control your children?. Surely you aren't that ideological that they can only enjoy disney world on YOUR terms?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:05 PM

pATRICK, I highly doubt they'll become little princesses on their own. Children are malleable, and it's rare for them to get an idea in their heads without someone putting it there. I don't see it happening in my household.

And as a parent, it's one's job to maintain some level of control. I say no beauty pageants. There will be no. beauty. pageants.

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 4:07 PM

"And as a parent, it's one's job to maintain some level of control. I say no beauty pageants. There will be no. beauty. pageants."

I thought feminism was freeing women to make choices, not towing the party line. Your children may turn out to be much different than you think. Mine may turn out to be leftist democrats (shudder) you never know.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:10 PM

But I don't know that you can judge whether someone is "going about it the wrong way" from one post; CA Mom was talking about things like teaching her daughter to spackle, which didn't exactly seem like an unrealistic desire to be a concert pianist.

-Laura

I didn't mean to single her out, I was just using her words as a starting point, I agree, the things she mentions are all do-able by anyone.

But a small child will extrapolate those words into other situations, and wonder why s/he is failing at them. It also gives ths child the impression that everything is easy. (must be if anyone can do it)

Regarding trophies for participation, I would have less of an issue with them if they also gave out bigger ones for the winner(s). I don't see the trophies for everyone as the problem, it is no trophies for the winners that bugs me (that and not keeping score). Because sometimes just participating is an accomplisment in itself. After all, it does encourage kids to try new things.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 4:11 PM

I agree with the no beauty pageants, but what the heck in wrong with wanting to be a princess? My daughter has no idea who prince charming is, but she did want to be a princess for Halloween. I mean I just don't get the princess/Barbie doll backlash, but that is just me.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 4:12 PM

"Another thing: no princess parties. And if they want to go to WDW, they'll do it for the roller coasters, not Cinderella. And no pageants"

Mona - you have just guaranteed that your daughter (if you have one) will be standing in the party store at about age 4 or 5 crying because she wants the princess party stuff.

Unless you plan on turning off the TV, not having her interact with any children who do watch or are otherwise exposed to this stuff it is a risk you take. If you help her otherwise with her self esteem, etc. a little diversion on the path to equality won't hurt.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 9, 2007 4:12 PM

Ugh, Disney, what an appalling cesspool of unimaginative, middle class "culture". I cannot believe the number of people who take out home equity loans to take their kids to that disgusting place so they can stand in line in the heat with all the other classless people who would rather blow 10K they don't have on a plastic corporate vacation than a real vacation to the mountains, or abroad.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 4:12 PM

I always chuckle when people say no princess parties for my daughters and other girly-type stuff. I was the same way. I hated princess things too and pink. But my DD loves them. I let go of that NEVER attitude, because I figured it's her party if it really makes her happy to dress as a princess then why not. If you don't want them to like those things then you'll need to keep them locked in a closet where they aren't exposed to them. But kids are interested in what other kids are interested in.

It's hard when you realize that your children have their own personalities that don't mesh with your preconceived notions of what they will/won't do/like, etc.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 4:12 PM

Ugh, Disney, what an appalling cesspool of unimaginative, middle class "culture". I cannot believe the number of people who take out home equity loans to take their kids to that disgusting place so they can stand in line in the heat with all the other classless people who would rather blow 10K they don't have on a plastic corporate vacation than a real vacation to the mountains, or abroad."

Perhaps your moniker should be Debbie Downer rather than pb & j. What an elitist snobby post. Onward to WHARTON!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:14 PM

Why do you feel so compelled to control your children?. Surely you aren't that ideological that they can only enjoy disney world on YOUR terms?


Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 04:05 PM

It is because she doesn't have any yet. ;) To her they are still ideal.

Someone should copy that post and send it to her when her future children are 5 or 6, I am sure she will get a good laugh out of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 4:15 PM

DD does like princess or queens as she calls them. She doesn't really relate to it being Disney Princess per say. But there is something about dress up shoes and purses that she has liked since 18 months old. Now she has moved on to tiaras, crowns, and wands. The dresses will probably follow suit. There is only so much control that you can exert on your children. BTW, Disney Princess is now a marketed brand and it seems to have capitivated 3-4 year old girls. I don't think you can do much about that.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 9, 2007 4:16 PM

pb&j:Have you ever even been to Disney or you making all these judgements based on a lack of knowledge? Or let us guess that you have been there and was sucked into the commercialism but don't want to admit it.

Posted by: adoptee | May 9, 2007 4:17 PM

My nepwhew was crowned prom king at the prom the other night. My daughter's reply was she was his princess. Should I say, no you are not and nepwhew take off that crown.

Also, does it really cost 10,000 to go to Disney? And, after air fare, hotel, rental car, food, equipment, etc, is going to the mountains any cheaper?

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 4:18 PM

Ugh, Disney, what an appalling cesspool of unimaginative, middle class "culture". I cannot believe the number of people who take out home equity loans to take their kids to that disgusting place so they can stand in line in the heat with all the other classless people who would rather blow 10K they don't have on a plastic corporate vacation than a real vacation to the mountains, or abroad.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 04:12 PM

You know, I think the reason you didn't feel sorry for either part of that couple, is that you are the b!tch part of yours.

Have you said anything on this blog that wasn't nasty and judgemental?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 4:19 PM

A beauty pagent is a big step from princess dress-up parties. The kids aren't competing at a princess party (at least not the ones I've seen) just dressing up, and usually end up running around and getting their dresses full of dirt.

You really can't control what someone else thinks or desires. You may try and think you are, but how many times has someone tried to control you and you rebelled at least in your head if not outwardly.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 4:20 PM

"Yet another take on the rising popularity of being a "princess" is the gentleness and refined composure associated with the title. It often conjures images of elegance and self-control, and among the younger generations, is a depiction of all things feminine and lovely".- WIKIPEDIA

How MONA turns that into a thing to be reviled is beyond me.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:21 PM

"My daughter has no idea who prince charming is, but she did want to be a princess for Halloween. I mean I just don't get the princess/Barbie doll backlash, but that is just me."

This is funny. Some little girls do love the princess thing. I have a friend whose 4 year old daughter is deeply into the princess thing. With absolutely no encouragement from her mother. She wanted her birthday party to be princess themed, and all the little girls came dresses as Disney princesses (her mother went along with it, but was secretly appalled). She loves playing dress-up. And she loves her princess dolls. Her mother is just baffled. So good luck, Mona, on the no princess rule, if you have daughters. Hope it works out for you. (But I agree with you on the no pageants rule).

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 4:22 PM

Emily my brother, father of the crowned king, bought her a disney dress up kit for her birthday last year. My daughter does not watch princess movies although I am not against them, but loves that dress up kit. I just try not to make a big deal out of little things. I mean princess is fantasy, it's not like she is really going to skip college and go looking for a prince.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 4:24 PM

I have to agree about Disney. I've been a few times (work). It's fine, but not a destination ideal for me.

I will say that the most horrifying thing I ever saw there was a completely fake, life-size baobob tree at the Animal Park.

Shudder! THIS is what I want to pay to show my kids when the whole world is open to them? A fake, life-sized tree? That just screams "wrong" to me on so many levels.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 4:27 PM

You know, I think the reason you didn't feel sorry for either part of that couple, is that you are the b!tch part of yours.

Maybe, maybe not. Although I have somehow been able to refrain from calling anyone a b!tch!

Have you said anything on this blog that wasn't nasty and judgemental?

Probably not, but are you so certain that people would rather have your pity than your scorn. Your pity for people certainly implies a certain perceived level of superiority that borders on condescension.

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 4:29 PM

Mom didn't dress her three girls in pink either. that's why i never wore pink until I was well into adulthood.

My SON really really wanted to eat at cinderella's castle. I didn't make reservations cause I had no idea he'd want to do that - it never really crossed my mind. I thought he'd love to eat lunch with winnie, tigger, et al, and although he was happy to, I don't think he was as excited as I would have thought.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 4:29 PM

Scarry,
I secretly hope that if I have a daughter, that she loves the foo foo princessy stuff. I would have so much fun with that, not because I am particularly frivolous or frilly in nature, but because I liked that stuff too when I was young. I also hope to read a bunch of girls' books with my potential daughter, like A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and such. They gave me such joy when I was a child.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 4:30 PM

Oh, I just love Disney. It's definitely fun.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 4:32 PM

Shudder! THIS is what I want to pay to show my kids when the whole world is open to them? A fake, life-sized tree? That just screams "wrong" to me on so many levels.

Amen Rebecca!

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 4:32 PM

"pATRICK, I highly doubt they'll become little princesses on their own. Children are malleable, and it's rare for them to get an idea in their heads without someone putting it there. I don't see it happening in my household."

Mona, you know I love you, really, I do. But can I just add: BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

I used to think the same thing. Really, I did. I was raised by the original feminist, proudly call myself a feminist, and there was Just No Way Any Daughter Of Mine Would Be A Princess.

Well, that little girl came out with about as fully-formed a personality as I could have imagined. Headstrong, obstinate, pigheaded are some of the nicer words I can think of -- the girl knew her own mind before she knew enough words to say she knew her own mind! And, alas, that mind is made up: pink and princess it shall be. Much to my chagrin (back to my earlier post that karma's a beeyatch).

But you know what? I want her to be strong and independent; I'll take bullheaded and headstrong over meek and cowed any day. So why in the world would I want to beat that out of her, just to try to make her into who I want her to be? If I want her to grow into herself, I have to be open to who that is and give her her own head to follow the things she is interested in. Even when it pains me.

Plus:

You cannot avoid it. Our relatives have happily obeyed the "no Barbie" rule. But that doesn't mean she hasn't gotten a princess scooter and a pink bike (just try finding a toy that isn't branded nowadays -- it's truly unbelievable). And they will see it with their friends, at school, etc. -- I think I am the only mom who actually baked a birthday cake instead of buying a branded cake at the store.

(2) "Princess" means a whole different thing to her than to me. The concept of waiting around to be rescued is just completely foreign -- if she had been Rapunzel, she'd have cut off her own dang hair and climbed out of the tower the first day. To her, princess means she can be girly and dress up, and then go play soccer in her dress-up clothes (how she spent her birthday last weekend, as a matter of fact). To me, princess = powerless; to her, princess = power.

In short, I tried. But ultimately, I discovered that her concept of princess was completely different from mine, and it wasn't fair to impose my own negative connotations when they just don't exist for her. And the fascination with All Things Pink and Princess is a small price to pay to have such an amazing daughter.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 4:33 PM

I will say that the most horrifying thing I ever saw there was a completely fake, life-size baobob tree at the Animal Park.

Shudder! THIS is what I want to pay to show my kids when the whole world is open to them? A fake, life-sized tree? That just screams "wrong" to me on so many levels.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 04:27 PM

Well, actually the National Zoo's Amazonia exhibit has a fake tree. Kind of hard to get enough actual moisture and the right soil in an enclosed building. But the tree is from a mold of an actual tree in the Amazon Rainforest.

I'm not a huge fan of Disney either, but do understand why they would have fake trees--for the effect.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 9, 2007 4:34 PM

My SON really really wanted to eat at cinderella's castle. I didn't make reservations cause I had no idea he'd want to do that - it never really crossed my mind. I thought he'd love to eat lunch with winnie, tigger, et al, and although he was happy to, I don't think he was as excited as I would have thought."


We ate in the castle in March, I have never seen little girls including mine look so giddy. Like winning the lottery. She still has not stopped talking about all the princesses. Money WELL spent!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:34 PM

I have not been to Disney as an adult. I went when I was 10 years old and thought it was a blast (although I was not allowed to ride on Space Mountain because all the grown-ups were wimps :()

I will say that amusement parks are very democratic places. All kinds go. But I have never associated class with money or education or any particular social status. There are classy people in all places, and pb&j, you are not one of them.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 4:35 PM

pb&j -- why are you on the blog passing judgement wehn you could be doing something of value with your children right now? School's out for the day -- aren't they home now?

Posted by: just askin' | May 9, 2007 4:37 PM

pATRICK,
Money well spend indeed. Isn't that what it is all about? Smiles? Laughter? Joy? They still believe and fun is just fun for them. As long as it doesn't hurt her why the heck not let her eat with a princess if you can. She will remember it and how you and your wife made it happen for a long time.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 4:38 PM

Emily, you may want to revisit your very public discussion about your personal habits before you appoint yourself the arbiter of class!

Posted by: pb&j | May 9, 2007 4:39 PM

pATRICK, feminism means different things to different people. Lots of people affixed the label of "feminism" to Leslie's idea that women should be taxed at a lower rate, an idea I disagree with. Maybe that makes me not a feminist; I don't know.

And yea, I'm sure my expectations are unrealistic, just like everyone else's. But you have to put down limits for kids. If my kid is really so broken up about not having the "perfect" party when she's all of five years old, then maybe she needs a little perspective. I don't necessarily believe in giving a kid everything she wants. Does it mean I'll throw her a soccer-themed party if she hates soccer, or give her exactly the opposite of what she wants? No...it just means there are certain things I won't cater to. Princess parties are one example. People differ in the limits they'll set for their children, and they often have to do things the kids won't like. My daughters may despise their self-defense classes, but they'll take them and hopefully learn them. Why aren't you getting on my case for saying I'll make them take the classes?

And wikipedia? pATRICK, I expected better from you. You realize you can put just about anything on that site, right? There's a reason it's not a valid source of information.

What's with all the princess defense? I didn't get any cr*p from you guys when I said I wasn't going to feed my kids meat. I was sure I'd get it from you guys then; I mean, that could raise potential health concerns, but nooo, how dare I deny my little girl a pink costume with a tiara?! ::gasp::

I share pb&j's view of WDW and its hyper-commercialism. Maybe you guys can think up a nasty little moniker for me, too...

I have to run now; I have a (wushu, coincidentally) class, but I'll be back to respond. I'm sure many of you will have plenty to say. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 4:40 PM

OOOOOOHHHHH Emily.....

I love ya babe (Emily doesn't buy the 'be nice' pill shoved down women in society...you go girl)

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 4:40 PM

Mona -- seems like people who don't have kids always make the best parents

Posted by: just sayin' | May 9, 2007 4:41 PM

Hey dotted,
Did you ever try those almonds?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 4:41 PM

We went to disney at a time we were hoping that the crowds would be less. Of course, it was crowded, but it *was* less. We got to have breakfast with winnie the pooh with no reservations. We had TONS of fun all together. It was a blast. So it's commercial. Who cares. But if you don't want to go, *shrug* that's fine with me.

Posted by: atlmom | May 9, 2007 4:43 PM

klb - yes and they're gone....phhhhttt... gone....now tell me there are <0 calories so I can feel better (take work needed to crunch - calories supplied is negative would be great).

yummm yummmm addictive!

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 4:43 PM

pB&J I have nothing nice to say to you.

So glad that Emily has not swallowed the nice pill.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 4:46 PM

MONA, i could have look up princess in the dictionary, but I liked the wikipedia better. It just seems to fit of what I think young girls think of when they think of a princess. I do agree with you for what it is worth on the pageants, at least for kids. Kind of creepy, but for grown women, that is their choice. I am all for people deciding their own fate. Just out of curiousity no burgers forn your kids also? That will get interesting.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:46 PM

Mona no one is getting on your case they are just stating a different opinion. I don't care if you teach your kid kung fu, don't feed them meat, or let them dress up as princesses.

However, you might find that you raised a meat eating, frilly girl who would rather get her nails done than lift one. You never know, I might (gasp) raise a Republican. Kids are going to be what they want to be. It's good to guide them, but they need some space too.

Posted by: scarry | May 9, 2007 4:50 PM

Sorry dotted - there are calories but almonds are good for you (in moderation which sucks). I have another can in the pantry but haven't opened it yet. I hear it calling me daily.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 4:50 PM

Mona,
Certainly did not intend to gang up on you. I think your intention to raise a strong daughter are all well and good. I think you may be a little naive about how children are and how much you can influence them, but that's normal (I was too, before having my son).

Nobody knows what the future brings. But I am sure that whatever happens, you will be just fine.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 4:54 PM

You never know, I might (gasp) raise a Republican."

One can only dream.....;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 4:59 PM

"You never know, I might (gasp) raise a Republican."

You never know. My parents were Republican and they raised 3 democrats and 1 totally apolitical child. And I managed to turn my mother into a democrat now, so my stepfather is on his own these days. I kinda feel sorry for him sometimes.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 5:03 PM

klb -
Sing this to some early movie tune (somebody help me out with the specifics: black and white even)

I am calling you u u u, u u u
I am calling you u u u, u u u

Are you sure you don't own stock in whomever makes these addictives?

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 5:04 PM

Wonder what MONA will do when she gets puked on for the first time and the 20th time? Karma baby, Karma

Posted by: pATRICK | May 9, 2007 5:06 PM

And as an afterthought....

Hey, what's all this talk about me not being nice. I take exception to that!!!I'm a nice person (most of the time) :)

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 5:06 PM

But Emily, didn't you once (or twice) post about not being nice when the situation warrants? That is what I'm humorously referring to....

Posted by: dotted | May 9, 2007 5:08 PM

dotted,
I don't own any stock but I am stocked (bad, I know). I can hear the song but don't know who or what. Thanks a lot - now it will stick in my mind all night.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 5:13 PM

dotted, are these the words?

I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces all day through
In that small cafe, the park across the way
The children's carousel, the chestnut trees, the wishing well

I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you

I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 5:28 PM

To KLB, That's the "Indian Love Call," made famous by Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy. It used to be played every night during the summer season in Yosemite Valley just before the firefall (bonfire shoved over the edge of Glacier Point).

Posted by: Anon for this one, but loves poppies | May 9, 2007 5:35 PM

When I'm calling you
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo
Will you answer too?
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo

That means I offer my life to you to be my own
If you refuse me I will be blue, waiting all alone

But if when you hear my love call ringing clear
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo
And I hear your answering echo so dear
Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo
Then I will know our love will become true
You'll belong to me and I'll belong to you

Posted by: Anon for this one, but loves poppies | May 9, 2007 5:43 PM

I think the second one is what dotted was talking about - thanks poppy lover.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 5:47 PM

By teaching my daughter she can do anything she sets her mind to is an attempt to let her know it is ok to try new things and there is no shame in not knowing how to do something. It is about giving her the confidence to learn new things, not limiting her. Currently she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. I don't tell her it is a competative field and that she may not make it. I encourage her to work on her drawings and learn to sew. We talk about college and what kinds of coursework is required for goal and then I help her to work towards it.

Posted by: CaliforniaMom | May 9, 2007 6:07 PM

With all this talk of princesses and pink, I am glad that my daughter wear camouflage and carries a machinegun with a grenade launcher!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 6:47 PM

Fred -- My daughter has pink camo shorts with rhinestones (or grimestones, as she used to call them), and she's been known to try to karate-kick the boys on the playground who pick on the "different" kids. Does that count, LOL?

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 9, 2007 6:52 PM

And on her time off, I wish for her a fab pedicure and some silk! All hail our warrior women! (said with absolutely no sarcasm)

Robin L.

Posted by: To Fred | May 9, 2007 6:53 PM

AF dau is BIG into manicures and pedicures! She was chosen from 12 guys/3 girls in her team to be the grenadier. She knows how to get a few rounds downrange!

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 6:56 PM

She's obviously a talented young woman, like her parents! You have reason to be very proud. I admire her bravery and pray for our troops' safety.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 9, 2007 7:09 PM

I appreciate everyone's comments, and no, I won't be the overbearing type of mother who tries to make her kid into something she's not. I'm sure you're all right that I'll compromise on some things. To answer your question, no, no burgers for my kids, unless they get them elsewhere. As far as vegetarianism goes, I find a no-pressure, informative approach the best one, and it's very important to me, so I won't be Meatless Nazi Mom. But if the responsibility falls to me to prepare food, it will not include meat. Not only because I'm against it, but it also grosses me out personally, and I don't know how to prepare it safely. Last thing we need is people getting sick because Mom didn't know the chicken wasn't done!

There is a chance I might cave on the princess thing--occasionally--but the other stuff I will stand my ground on. I love the idea of raising strong daughters, but I realize this is a manifestation of what I want to be (I come off as strong and independent but sometimes I'm a lot more damsel-in-distress than I care to admit). I don't necessarily want my girls to be macho or tomboys (though that would be fine), but I do want them to be self-sufficient and not rely on anyone else for their basic needs.

And FYI, as punishment for slamming Disney princesses, for about an hour after my last post, "bibbidi bobbidi boo" was stuck in my head. :-(

Posted by: Mona | May 9, 2007 8:37 PM

Mona,
Inner strength has nothing to do with your outer appearance.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 9, 2007 8:41 PM

One way you can stop being a bad role model for your children is to stop advocating and making excuses for promiscuity and also stop your bad-mouthing of people who like to have children and aren't fond of seeing ads for birth control every five minutes on TV

Posted by: Sandy | May 10, 2007 2:15 AM

You're not going to find 'nice' on this blog. This is the gathering place for the nastiest bunch of *itches you'd ever find. Obviously they have nothing better to do than sit in front of a computer and spew venom while their kids run amuck. They wasted their parents' money on an education and now they're SAHM up to their elbows in baby vomit and poopy diapers. Get a life, people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 9:17 AM

People like you are just bitter because in your pursuit of "reproductive freedom" and "reproductive rights" you have simply achieved emptiness and fallen into the trap that casual sex with men brings you some kind of warped sense of "freedom" simply because you are not having a child with them, when all you have done is bought into their lies and allowed yourself to become just another object of their exploitation

Posted by: Sandy | May 10, 2007 9:48 AM

what's with the last three posts? did Sandy skip her medication or did she mean to post on another blog entirely - one that might even relate to her comments?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 10, 2007 11:11 AM

Abortion is sick

If you've had one, how can you celebrate it?

Sick

Posted by: Sandy | May 12, 2007 11:53 PM

03mdx2u9lkc4n 06ten755xtx5cyd [URL=http://www.267748.com/183064.html] kuf3k9eqtuulc [/URL] 96zvw108ar4x3q

Posted by: 4b7p0vu1rx | May 29, 2007 10:12 AM

03mdx2u9lkc4n [URL=http://www.267748.com/183064.html] kuf3k9eqtuulc [/URL] 96zvw108ar4x3q

Posted by: 4b7p0vu1rx | May 29, 2007 10:12 AM

03mdx2u9lkc4n http://www.537182.com/971034.html 96zvw108ar4x3q

Posted by: 4b7p0vu1rx | May 29, 2007 10:13 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company