Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fantasy Thursday

It’s Thursday. The business week is almost over. The activity filled weekend is nearly here. It’s time to fantasize about augmenting my life.  How would you change or compliment your world? If I could add a few things to my wonderful week they would be:

Fantasy Staff
  • ·      Chef
  • ·      Mommy’s helper (catchall job title for the person who does what I do not want to do)
  • ·      Shared personal assistant for hubby and me
  • ·      Driver
  • ·      Housekeeper

Fantasy Shopping List (handled by above chef)
  • ·      Rose champagne
  • ·      Chocolate dipped strawberries
  • ·      Lobster bisque ingredients
  • ·      Whipped cream
  • ·      Invisible noise canceling headphones
  • ·      1,000 $50 Metro Cards to randomly distribute

Fantasy Philanthropic / Volunteer Work
  • ·      Engage motivated, appreciative, germ-free, under-resourced kids in a positive educational program
  • ·      Work a shift in an allergen-free community garden; produce is given to shelters & feeding programs
  • ·      Visit sick and shut-in individuals (friends /family and those in an outreach program)
  • ·      Anonymously donate oodles of money to effective local, national and international organizations
  • ·      Accompany kids as they distribute homemade brown bag meals to homeless people (in feeding programs and on the street)

Fantasy Weekly To Do List
  • ·      Write (uninterrupted)
  • ·      Coordinate a surprise party for an unsung hero
  • ·      Send thank you notes to friends for donating 7 figures to my pet charity
  • ·      Draft thank you to POTUS for banning artificial food colorings
  • ·      Schedule floral deliveries to friends and family
  • ·      Arrange annual girlfriends get together
  • ·      Plan quarterly family vacation
  • ·      Invite guests to monthly dinner party
  • ·      Cook fulfilling family meal; use good dishes
  • ·      Exercise with trainer
  • ·      Attend Tennis lesson
  • ·      Attend Golf lesson
  • ·      See a Broadway matinee
  • ·      Get aqua massage
  • ·      Review new home sample wood chips with architect
  • ·      Sign contract for private jet service

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just Smile and Nod

I am not one for the good ole days. I prefer the present to a past filled with isms and oppression.  However, there are lessons to be learned from the past, not just what to avoid but also how to behave. In economically first world nations we’re paying a price for losing gender circles. Gone are the days when men and women regularly associated in gender delineated packs. Not sexist divided social structures but places where people communed based upon their sex. Presently social groupings depend upon education, location and workplace affiliation. Many of us live very far from our biological families. There are no cultural associations where we learn how to deal with the opposite sex. 

It’s common knowledge that half of all heterosexual marriages end during the first seven years. It takes that long to figure out what to say, what to ignore, when to take over and when to hang back. These are things that elders used to share. Not just any elders but those who had earned places of honor in social networks. This was purposeful and routine. These people cared about the community and knew that strong families were essential to its survival. Sure gossip and ill-conceived advice has always existed but it used to be countered by an abundance of pure wisdom.

Women who’ve been there objectively used to tell brides, “That’s what men do. Just smile and nod.” In some societies newlyweds were separated most of their inaugural marriage year just so that they could learn from experienced community members. Sure we must allow for cultural and historical context but you get my point.

Perhaps we can use social media, cable television and eBooks to impart such information? Imagine having access to conversations in proverbial crafting circles and campsites. That’s reality television worth watching. The gatherings may look different in 2012, men crafting and women camping, but the essence of the talk is probably the same.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Not Always Bullying

It’s Not Always Bullying
Bullyingis a highly charged word. These days bullying has become an all-encompassingword for any type of conflict. Aggressive behavior may or may not be bullying.
Bullying is repeated,aggressive behavior that involves a power imbalance. Bullying can be verbal,physical, social or cyber.

Many unpleasantbehaviors are not bullying and should not be labeled as such. For example, developmentally appropriate conflict isnot bullying. Neither is:

1.    Assertiveness
2.    Arguing
3.    Unintended aggression resulting from passion
4.    Communicating negative emotions
5.     An isolated actof meanness

Beingaware of bullying and establishing welcoming communities is everyone’sresponsibility. I propose that we concentrate on creating welcoming communitiesand bullying will dissipate. If everyone is encouraged to be him/herself thenthere will be no reason to bully. Difference and power struggles will give wayto learning and acceptance. Of course formal communities must have policies andprograms to ensure that this happens. Wishing will not make it so. It can bedone. There are schools, clubs and camps where members may have limitedexposure to aggression but repeated harassment is unknown.

Question of the Week: Computer Time

The first time I guest blogged for a major newspaper I flopped.  The blog topic was a success. However, I didn'tknow if I should reply to reader comments since blog host was responding tothem. I was too shy to ask. Instead I spent all day reading the electronic conversationwithout contributing a word.  For me it wasa fun anthropological study but not the point of the exercise. Now we all knowbetter. Blogs work only if we dialogue. The point is to interact.

Hmm. I wonder if it's too late to reply to comments on thatguest spot? It's only been about six years. Probably not, fortunately I'mscheduled for another blog guest spot in the near future. Stay tuned forinformation regarding that. Now that I know better I'll do better.

I promise to respond to comments here on “Try Hard Mommy”. I'llkeep posting hoping to ignite a thoughtful polite exchange. Let’s get thingsstarted with a question of the week.

What is your family’scomputer use rule for those under 16 years old?

Ourlittle one has access to a hand me down laptop on his living room desk. Our computeruse rule is liberal but complicated. We invented this concoction while tryingto balance his passion with our parental duty. The basics are that there is noleisure computer use on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. With permission he mayuse the computer for 30 minutes on Thursday if he has completed the week'shomework. On Friday he is allowed another 30 minutes. Saturdays & Sundaysbegin with 30 minutes of usage. However on the weekend he can earn additionaltime if he goes above and beyond expectations in an area (i.e. with chores).

I’dlove to learn what happens in your family. We’re always in need of upgrading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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Common Sense Parenting Chart

We were once over-protective, now we’re hovering andhelicopter parents. In some settings being around your little one is being inthe way. In others if you miss 1 of 5,000,00 performances the neighbors willcall Child Services. We all know that parenting requires taking charge andensuring children’s safety. This differs from preventing them from naturaldevelopmental experiences. However, where do we draw the line? I say go withyour gut. You know what’s best for your family. If you insist upon guidelinestry the below.

Provide necessary educational tools and tutorials
Stay up all night hot gluing home made diorama animals
Maintain communication with teachers and coaches
Provide lesson and coaching plans
Praise effort
Praise napping during algebra class
Give age appropriate increasing responsibility
Tie high schooler’s shoes
Monitor surroundings (church, school, parks etc.)
Implant a GPS chip under child’s skin
Help with school activities as needed
Dig your nails into door frames when being escorted out of classroom
Be a member of kids’ personal team. “I’m in your corner”
Self-identify with kids’ lives, “We have a project, game etc.”
Have high expectations
Purchase a 4 years old’s Nobel Laureate acceptance ceremony outfit

15 Minutes Writing Experiment

Introducing Try Hard Mommy

Introducing Kamyra’s TryHard Mommy Blog.
The sequel to the Blog

Because the world needs another mommy blog? Because we don’thear enough about people’s families? One doesn’t exist unless you blog? Or, justbecause? You decide. My only promise is to write. Stay tuned. Crazy stuff iscoming.

I’d love to have you join me on this journey. Please sendyour blog links. Let’s subscribe to one another. Everyone’s doin’ it.

The title of this new blog is taken from an ancient essay.You get the idea. I do the best I can with what I have. I’m trying hard toparent, to be a wife, daughter, friend and community member. Sometimes Iblunder but I always do my best. However, the definition of best changes fasterthan a street light on Broadway. My best on three hours sleep is not the sameas it is on 8 hours of sleep. Hopefully my best professional writing articledoes not resemble my fun 15-minute writing experiments. I don’t know. Those areyour decisions. I’m just trying hard.