Communication


Hell Yes! 40 Year Old Moms Are Better Than 20 Year Old Moms

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/17/13 9:49 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Communication, The Book, What NOT to Say

That’s called link baiting.

What’s link baiting?

It’s the act of assigning an inflammatory title to a perfectly reasonable piece of writing in hopes of motivating people to read it.  It’s a little bit like bait and switch.  Sometimes the “switch” is mild.  Sometimes it’s major.  When it’s major I get annoyed.  Especially when I’m the author of the writing.

You see, as a freelance writer it’s my job to do the writing.  The buyer of my writing assigns the title.  That’s how it works.  (It’s also how our book ended up with it’s title.  Don’t even get me started on the cover!)

So…the below piece is going live on WhatToExpect.com Wednesday and I’m guessing it’s title will be inflammatory.  In order to curb my anxiety, I tried to come up with the worst possible option.

Hence, the title of this post.

If I was a twenty-something mother and read that title I’d gather my twenty-something-mommy-posse and stone my forty-four year old self in a grocery store parking lot.  Of course, that wouldn’t happen if the twenty-something mothers would actually read the content of the article, but more often than not, they don’t.  Generally, people make incorrect assumptions from the title.

Another reason to hate link baiting—especially if you’re an author.

The post is below.  If you read it all the way through you may recognize that I’m actually writing about how experience makes one a better mother.  Not age.  Not great linkbait I guess.

*****

The other day I was chatting with a young mother on the playground.  Potty training techniques; school choices; and sleeping schedules were all topics we touched on.  It was all your basic run of the mill parenting stuff but as I left the conversation I was unsettled.  The woman I’d spoken with was passionate about her staunchly held opinions.  She seemed to have the whole parenthood thing figured out which left me shaking my head. 

 Why was I so annoyed?  Because this mother was 25.

 I had my first child when I was 25.  I’ll never forget bringing Drew home from the hospital and pledging to bring my “A-Game” to his life.  I read a litany of books.  I had my pediatrician on speed dial. I spent hours contemplating all the things I thought, at the time, would make or break my son.   Breast or bottle?  Work or stay-at-home?  Preschool or not?  I was going figure out this motherhood thing the same way I’d figured out anything else that’d gone successfully in my life.  I’d thoroughly research, make a decision and then confidently execute.    It was a good plan with one flaw—I’d overlooked my greatest resource. 

 Namely, more experienced moms.

 As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that wisdom comes with life experience and life experience comes with age.  I look back on my 25-year-old-self and cringe a little regarding what I thought I knew.  Take for instance my once unwavering stance on sleep training.  I used to believe, “infants should sleep only in their beds.”  I’d read that in a best-selling-get-your-baby-to-sleep manual so it had to be right.   Right?  That approach worked fine for my first but come my second son? Well, let’s just say Mama realized that if he slept in the swing which translated to some much needed rest for my husband and I then the swing was a perfectly acceptable place for a baby to sleep. 

 An experienced mother could have told me that.

 My fourth and fifth children were born when I was 42.  To say we are approaching our twin daughters’ lives from a different perspective is an understatement.  Of course, I’ve learned with my first three that what worked for one may not work for another.  In addition, my husband and I have a little more life under our belts. We’ve realized which parenting approaches paid off and which ones don’t really matter.  For instance, turns out early athletic involvement truly has no bearing on future athletic success; Preschool doesn’t make or break a child’s educational career; And, believe it or not, not one single college cared if our oldest son was bottle or breastfed or whether he went to daycare or had a stay-at-home mom. Of course, I’m not downplaying the importance of such decisions, but after watching so many parents make opposing choices that resulted in equally stellar kids, I’ve realized that there is more than one way to successfully raise a child. 

 An experienced mother could have told me that.

 Sometimes I wonder if my 25-year-old-self would have thoughtfully pondered the advice of a more experienced mom.  Was I like the cocky young mother I’d met in the park?  I’d like to say I wasn’t but it took a little more than twenty-five years of life to knock the arrogance out of me.  Thank goodness, at 44, I’ve discovered the treasure trove of knowledge held by those “been there, done that” moms.  I get it now because I’ve lived through some tough stuff; seen loved ones survive worse; and am a wiser person—and better mother—because of all of it.

*****

Now that wasn’t worth a public stoning.

Right?

DSC_0249

That “Cover Yourself Up Teen Girls” Post…Some Thoughts

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/5/13 1:15 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Communication, compassionate parenting, Daughters, Health & Safety, Little girls, perspective, Prayers, Resilience, twins

So, unless you live under a rock or don’t have access to social media, you have likely seen  the viral blog post written by Kimberly Hall.  It was all over my Facebook feed yesterday and it seems to have struck a chord.  A most unexpectedly divisive chord.

Read Kimberly’s post here.

Interestingly, not every reader thought the article was awesome.  Many took offense and pointed out the dangers of “slut shaming”.  Personally, I didn’t find the article to be shaming at all.  I thought it was encouraging young women to make better choices for themselves.  Frankly, the post read like something I could have written.

That being said, when I was perusing the comments on GivenBreath.com (Kimberly’s blog) I came across a link to a post about the same topic written by Nate Pyle.  It was a conversation that he hopes to have some day with his young son about how women should be “seen”.  The topic is in the same vein as Kimberly’s post, except Nate goes a step further by placing the responsibility to view members of the opposite sex with respect—regardless of what they are wearing—on the person doing the looking.

Please give it a read here.

I worry about the culture in which my three young daughters are growing up.  The all-to-common onslaught of  hyper-sexualized messages go against everything I want for the futures of my children.  I know that it’s my job, as their mother, to raise them in a counter-cultural manner.  In the Savage house we swim against the stream of provocativeness and disrespect that is peddled as acceptable in mainstream society.  So far, so good with regards to our sons, but these three little girls?

View More: http://photos.pass.us/savage

They scare me.

I know Sean and I have a lot of parenting ahead of us.  I also know our charge to guide them into an adulthood rooted in goodness is going to be a battle.  That’s why I’m so grateful to writers like Kimberly and Nate.  Regardless of whether I agree with them, they share their thoughts which causes me to hone in on what it is I want to teach my children.

I need all the help I can get.

Savage-Carolyn-0030

What a blessing.

****

More from the twins’ two year pictures.  They were taken by the amazing Allie Darr from Allison Darr Photography.  I love Allie’s work.  You can learn more about her photography at her website.

Isabella

Isabella

View More: http://photos.pass.us/savage

Reagan

Reagan

View More: http://photos.pass.us/savage

View More: http://photos.pass.us/savageView More: http://photos.pass.us/savageView More: http://photos.pass.us/savage

For Drew...

For Drew…

Yup...that's about right.

Yup…that’s about right.

Happy Thursday…the weekend’s coming!

For Those Times When You Just Want to Trip Him…

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 05/3/13 10:12 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Choices, Communication, Constructive Criticism, Marriage

Sean is a vegetable freak.

What I mean is that he is a tad obsessed with making sure our kids get their daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables.  I know that should translate to me being grateful for what a caring and involved father he is.  Because he is.  But let’s be realistic, folks. I’m a 44 year old peri-menopausal mother with five kids (three of whom exhaust me) which I’m sad to say causes me to hover around a five on the continuum of crabbiness.  Inquiries from Sean about what I’ve fed the children translate, in my brain, to inferences that I’m inept at feeding my kids and ultimately push me to about an eight on the richter scale of bitchy.

I’m working on that.

I am trying not to take Sean’s parenting suggestions as insinuations that I’m not good at being a mom.  He’s entitled to a say.  For the life of me I don’t understand why his involvement in my kitchen pisses me off so much.  So, I’ve been trying to temper my annoyance with deep breaths and kind responses.

This is hard work, people.

Especially when my choice to follow his menu requests back fire because of his lack of ability to identify certain vegetables.

Confused?  Well get this…

On Wednesday morning I got this text…

photo

It arrived at 7:58 in the morning.  Breakfast wasn’t even cleaned up, and I was instantly annoyed that he was already onto dinner when I had a lot of in-between-now-and-then to navigate.  Seeing as how I am trying to temper my bitchy impulses, I refrained from responding with the first text that popped into my mind.  (It involved the words ‘sprouts’, ‘shove’ and ‘ass’).  Now before you send me a private message about managing my anger via mood stabilizers, let me explain something.  I’ve never served brussels sprouts to my family; I’ve never seen Sean eat a brussels sprout; And, I don’t know how to prepare brussels sprouts and wasn’t keen on learning.  So, yes.  I was annoyed.

But I’m working on this, right?

So, I squelched my inner bitch and channeled June Cleaver.   Maybe they’ll love them.  Maybe I can add a new recipe to my rotation.  Trying new things is good.  And off to the market I went for a pound a half of brussels sprouts.

An hour before dinner I drizzled those mini heads of cabbage with olive oil, generously sprinkled them with kosher salt, cracked pepper and garlic, and roasted them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  When I put them on the plate with the steak and pasta they looked just like the picture from allrecipes.com.  I was proud.  Not only had I controlled my inner witch, but I was about to successfully add a new veggie to our palate.  Sean was going to be so pleased.  Right?

Not so much.

I first sensed something was wrong when I placed the plate on the table.

Sean      What are those?

Me         Um…brussels sprouts.  You asked for them.

Looking confused, Sean put one in his mouth, promptly gagged, and spit it back out on the plate.

Sean       What did you do to them?  I’ve never seen them look like that.

I could feel the bitchy richter scale tipping in an unfortunate direction as I willed myself some self-control.

Me           I’ve never made them before and YOU ASKED FOR THEM.

Sean        [bewildered] You make them every week.  You know…those long, green, stalky things that we all like.

And that was it.  The straw that broke the bitchy camel’s back.  I grabbed the plate, stomped into the kitchen, and threw those bitter, nasty tasting brussels sprouts in the disposal  Then I spun on my heals, and said…

“That’s asparagus.  A-S-P-A-R-A-G-U-S!!!”

(Oh…and I may have muttered the word ‘moron‘ in my response as well.)

*****

At my cousin’s bridal shower this past weekend we were to write a piece of marital advice on a pretty little card and attach it to our gift.  My Aunt Judy started her’s with this sentence…

For sure, there are times when you’ll want to trip him.

We all burst out laughing because it was such a true statement.

She went on to advise Jessica to make a point to hold hands with her husband.  “Holding hands rekindles the bond that caused the two of you to fall in love with one another.”

So true.

*****

Sean and I laughed about the sprouts incident later.  I told him I’m trying to be nicer so I refrained from questioning his request.  He told me I should’ve inquired.  Then I told him that it was honestly better that I didn’t because the words ‘shove’, ‘sprouts’, and ‘ass’ were involved.  I then warned him that future veggie requests were most likely going to be ignored.

He’s good with that.

We both have things to work on.  Communication is at the top of the list.