Sound Off – Our Fall Issue – Deadline August 14th

Sound OffHey moms – do you have something you’d like to express your thoughts & views on? It can be any subject at all! If you have an opinion or a “beef” about something? Now is your chance to get it off your chest. We want to know!Submit your “Sound Off” here and yours may be chosen to appear in our print magazine – FALL issue! Try to keep your writing to 300 – 500 words. (Please be sure that it is more than just a few sentences though about something that bugs you) You can submit something that you have already included on your own blog – but please copy and paste your writing here and you can include a link to your blog writing.

You have until August 14th to submit your Sound Off

C’mon Sound Off Mom Bloggers!

Hit Comments and Put in Your Sound Off

9 Comments

  • August 11, 2008 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    This is from a blog post I wrote in November of 2007 about my then nine year old son. It still makes me cry when I read it. I am such a MOM.

    This morning I’m angry. Really angry. The crappy thing about my anger is that I can’t direct it toward those who are responsible for my anger. Because when it comes right down to it, I don’t know who they are.

    Last night’s bedtime ritual went well (I feel like I have to actually put that into words when it happens because it’s such a rare occurrence around here). We read books, brushed teeth and actually got into pajamas (another rare happening). Everything was quiet for a few minutes before Isaac came out of his room bawling. I could tell there was something really wrong.

    He sat on the couch and did that half breathing half hiccuping thing kids do when they cry really hard for several minutes before he could tell me what was bothering him so much.

    Now, I don’t know why he suddenly needed to tell me, but the gist of it is this:

    Like most 9 year olds he loves GameCube and various computer games. About a year ago he discovered that he could find cheats for Lego Starwars online that would let him do things like be invincible and have unlimited money, etc.

    Initially, Jon helped him find the cheat codes, but over the course of several months, he’s become pretty savvy about finding them for other games he loves.

    About a month ago, (and this is what he told me last night)he went to a site that he wasn’t familiar with that advertised cheat codes when he brought up a search in Yahoo. In his words, he “saw something that he really didn’t want to see.” He waited to tell his dad and me about it because he was so afraid we would be angry.

    Well I am.

    Angry at slimy websites that advertise cheat codes and information on kids’ games and then throw in sidebars that make my kid cry and feel scared. I’m mad at McAfee for telling me that they block pornography when the only pictures I’ve noticed blocked are stupid things like a shot of Britney Spears attacking a car with an umbrella. I’m mad at stupid, mean adults who prey on children in the comfort of their homes where they should feel safe and be safe.

    I know that on the Richter scale of what happens to kids on the internet this is just a low rumble, but it terrifies me.

    I masked my fear pretty well, I think. I know my son, and showing him that I was that angry and that scared would have made him close up again. I hugged him around his knees (he’s too big to pull into my lap anymore) and asked him if he needed to talk about what he saw. He said no. We decided together that until we got a better internet filter he’d come to his dad or me before he did a search for a site he wasn’t familiar with. I told him I was proud of him for talking to me and that I never wanted him to be scared to tell me anything. He said okay.

    We came up with a song for him to sing in his head whenever he thought about the bad thing he saw and he said he’d try to replace the picture with one of Evie smiling at him. I cracked some stupid jokes that are only funny to us, and after a while he felt better. Better enough to go back to bed, anyway.

    When he did, I cried.

  • August 11, 2008 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Ever since I was in high school I have volunteered off-and-on in some capacity for various organizations. I took a break while in college and used that time to study and/or party. After all, you only get one chance to really enjoy being in college!

    Before I started the journey to motherhood I donated my time and my money to animal causes. I preferred to help in the front office or with clerical tasks and this worked well because everyone else wanted to be with the animals. I was afraid I’d bring them all home with me if I interacted with the animals, so it was best I was in the office.

    Although I still adore animals, my priorities have changed. I now volunteer with two organizations, the March of Dimes and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. I’ve been touched by both of these organizations personally and probably will continue to give of my time and money to them for the rest of my life.

    Today I had a meeting with Diane at the March of Dimes in Arizona. As we were talking it hit me that these organizations DEPEND on volunteers. They have a lot of ideas, a lot of tasks, and not much money. They tend to be short-staffed so much of what they could do isn’t done. How many more lives could they touch if an addition 10 people donated 1 hour of time per week or per month?

    I’ve been asked to take on more responsibility as a MOD volunteer and I’m excited about my new role. It will take more of my time, which I’m a little concerned about, but I expect the rewards will far outweigh the time I could have spent doing something else less important.

    I encourage you to find a charity that inspires you. Whether it be associated with infertility, babies, animals, or politics. I believe you’ll find that by giving one hour of your time you’ll receive an amazing feeling of giving that will cascade positively into all areas of your life.

    If you cannot give of your time, consider resources that allow you to give back while you’re doing what you’re already doing, such as searching the web. Check out http://www.goodsearch.com (it’s powered by Yahoo). When you search on the web, make sure your favorite charity is listed in the “Who do you Goodsearch for?” and money will be donated to that organization for every search you perform. I know that both the March of Dimes and RESOLVE are supported charities.

  • August 11, 2008 - 7:29 pm | Permalink

    This happened to me recently and I wanted to share.

    My worst nightmare

    I need to share this. Last Thursday afternoon I was attending my husband’s family reunion at my father-in-law’s place in the woods. A 40 acre property with a pond 15 feet down from the back of the house. There is a staircase going down toward the pond where there is a small rocky bank.
    My son Erik was playing with his cousins and having a great time. My husband and I were talking in the living room with my sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws. Erik ran in with a popsical he couldn’t open. I opened it and told him to eat it in the kitchen. We continued our conversations.
    Then sometime later my nephew went down to the lake with his mom to go fishing. About 5 minutes later my nephew ran into the room. He screamed that Erik was alone face down in the pond! I ran so fast, my flip flops came off, followed by my father-in-law and the others. I ran down the brick staircase and over the rocky bank in my bare feet.
    The site I saw was my worst nightmare. My sister-in-law had jumped in to get Erik and pulled his lifeless body out of the water and set him down on the bank. Erik was blue and his body limp. My other sister-in-law helped with CPR. All I could do was to hold his blue lifeless hand telling him to fight threw my tears. A foamy substance came out of his mouth. Them they turned him on his side and some dirty water came out of his mouth. He opened his eyes, they were rolled up in his head so only the white part was showing. They kept talking to him he tried to talk but all he could make was a bubbly sound. He went in and out of consciousness.
    The paramedics arrived then I collapsed on the rocky bank crying like I never cried before. Time seemed to slow down, my limbs were heavy, I had a hard time breathing. I could see Erik being put on a board with a neck brace. Then they carried him away to the ambulance. I tried to stand up but my body seemed heavy and it was an effort. When I was able to stand I fainted and my father-in-law caught me from hitting the ground. I cam too right away and they helped me to walk to the ambulance. I didn’t know it at the time but I had cut the bottoms of my feet, on those sharp rocks at the bank, and I was leaving bloody foot prints in the grass.
    I sat in my sister-in-laws car while a police officer asked for information. I became hysterical All I could do was scream over and over again, “My baby, I want to see my baby!” I was useless. My sister-in-law stayed with me and tried to comfort me as she bandaged my feet. The whole experience seemed like a surreal like dream. Time still was slowed down.
    Then my husband came to see me and said that they were calling a helicopter to take him to the nearest hospital. All I could say was, “My baby, my baby!” Then he told me he was awake in the ambulance and told the paramedics what happened. Erik could tell them his name and age. Still my limbs wouldn’t move the way I wanted them too. I shuffled my feet as I made my way to the ambulance. I got in and my Erik appeared fine. He told me that he went down to the pond to fill his water gun. The gun floated out of his reach and he went in after it. He tried to swim but he said the water kept pulling him down. He doesn’t remember anything after that. Erik was so weak and it was a struggle for him to keep his eyes opened as he talked. I told him I loved him so much!
    Then the helicopter approached and the sound of the engines got louder and louder. The helicopter landed on the front lawn. The pilot talked to my husband. I was in some sort of fog. I watched as the paramedics took Erik to the helicopter. I didn’t feel my husband’s arm around me, I was unaware he was standing next to me. He turned to hug me and I broke down again. He walked me back to my sister-in-law’s car. He said that they were taking him to children’s hospital of Philadelphia. He put my flip flops on my bandaged feet which were now covered in dirt and dried blood.
    We took off in the car doing 90 MPH down the PA turnpike. As fast as we were going everything seemed in slow motion. It was like I was in my own little world for a while. Just before we got to the hospital I seemed to snap out of it. I could still feel the heaviness in my limbs as we made our way to the ER.
    We were led by a nurse to where Erik was. When I saw Erik he was screaming as they were putting in his IVs. He had the oxygen nose piece on and his eyes met mine. I smiled and he said, “Hi mommy”. Then they took him to X-ray. We sat in the lobby and all my husband and I just looked at one another. Then a nurse came by and told us they were taking him to intensive care.
    When we got to the room Erik was in, we saw him fast asleep but his breathing was labored. Then the Dr. came in and asked us what happened. I went numb and when I tried to speak nothing came out. I started to cry again. I was useless again. For the first time I felt the guilt. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I felt so bad, like I was the worst parent on earth. All I could think was,”he was in the kitchen eating a popsicel. No one was watching him, it’s all my fault!” It ran over and over again in my mind slowly over taking me like poison. The nurse looked at me and said, “don’t blame yourself.” It was if she was reading my mind. “It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent.” How could she know what I was thinking? “He’s a strong healthy boy, he’s breathing without oxygen, that’s a good sign.” I felt weary, dizzy and sick to my stomach. I sat on the sofa. “You need to rest now,” as the nurse handed me a pillow and a blanket. My husband was talking to the nurses and filling out the forms. I sat on the sofa watching Erik. I was there to calm him when they took blood, when he needed to go to the bathroom, when he was in pain. I dozed off for an hour and a half. I looked at the clock it said 4 AM. I was wide awake looking at Erik, my husband snoring away in the armchair.
    Then they came in with a portable x-ray machine. Erik didn’t like it one bit and cried and cried. Then when he saw me standing along side his bed he was instantly calm. Erik & I talked for a while. He told me,”I drowned in pappy’s pond.” I said yes. It was odd that he was so calm telling him all that he remembered. Then he said something I will never forget, “I tried to call you while I was in the water. I was missing you.” I calmly asked him, “what happened when you went under the water?” He said, “I went to sleep.” I felt like my heart was ripped out of my body, I got cold chills as I thought to myself, “Was he dead.” Then I saw in my mind the image of his blue lifeless body being pulled out of the water. I felt like I was going to vomit. When I looked at Erik again he was asleep. Off an on through the ealry morning hours I kept at his bedside, helping him, calming him when the nurses came to do vitals, helping him go to the bathroom, holding the basin and he threw up. I was in mom mode.
    Then I crashed I fell asleep on the sofa at 8 AM I woke up at 11:45 AM. Erik was awake, the nurse was there taking vitals. She told me that Erik made a remarkable recovery, the CAT scans, x-rays and lab work were all normal. Then the dr. came in and told me that his chest x-rays from the night before showed his lung full of water, and the second x-ray showed it had almost cleared out. She made it a point to tell me that it was amazing. I looked at Erik sipping on ginger ale. His skin now glowing and pink, his voice stronger and sounded clear. My husband entered with breakfast for me and lunch for him. Erik was able to hold down the ginger ale for a while and he had chicken nuggets for lunch. 2 hours after that we were on a way home. Erik, still exhausted from his ordeal, has fell asleep. I finally was able to smile again.

  • August 11, 2008 - 7:42 pm | Permalink

    This was a blog post of mine done on July 27, 2008
    http://rlscovens.blogspot.com/2008/07/i-have-serious-question.html

    I was online surfing this evening and I ran across a site (which I won’t list) that had an article about Joyce Meyer and how she was a sell out. Now yall know I love Joyce, but I always like to hear what other people think about different issues. The article was basically saying that the blogger used to follow Joyce back in the day when she “looked like the everyday woman”. Let me show you some of what was said. This is a direct quote.

    “Call me petty, but I stopped watching Joyce Meyer after she went under the knife. I identified with her before she became camera-friendly and glamorous. (Well, as glamorous as a woman with that face and that accent can get.) But it was precisely that Meyer was not your typical overly made-up, flashy, platinum blonde, waif, evangelist that made her preaching appear sincere to me. (Mind you, I believe in make-up, more now than I ever did in my 20s and 30s. And, honey, I know the importance of choosing a wardrobe that you look and feel good in. Oh, how well I know.) But the un-glamorous Joyce Meyer back then who looked so very Missouri looking in those outfits that she wore, I trusted (despite that accent of hers).”

    Ok. I’ve heard many people complain about Mega Churches and money and airplanes and building and all of it. So my question is this: Is it wrong for Christian people to look nice, drive nice cars, have money and look the best they can? I really want to hear someone else’s opinions.

    Personally, I really don’t understand what the problem is. Right now, I’m a single parent, so I don’t have a lot of money. I buy clothes when I can. I don’t have a car. I have to pray for every penny we get…now let’s fast forward. When I get my millions (and I WILL have millions from the business God is going to bless me with), do you really think I’m gonna still look like I look now?!! Are you kidding me? What are rich people supposed to do? Look poor so people won’t talk about them? They’re just gonna have to talk about me!!

    When people have more money, they have more things. That’s a fact of life. Don’t be upset just because you don’t have anything! People are not sell outs because they have money and can afford a new wardrobe! God is my father. He made every precious gem there is! Why can’t I have a few? Who says that because I’m a Christian, I have to be poor? Christians ought to be the best looking people on the planet!! We’ve got God in our corner. How can we help anybody if we don’t have anything? We can be rich in spirit AND in the physical.

    Now I know some of you out there disagree. That’s ok. I really wanna know what everyone thinks. Does anyone agree with me or am I alone? Not necessarily about Joyce Meyer! LOL Just in general?LOL

  • August 11, 2008 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Hullo, the following was previously published on our blog (http://mumsthewordorpa.blogspot.com)and has been lightly re-edited:

    Our Little Terrorist Understands Threats

    Recall how, in places like Israel, the cardinal rule is never to negotiate with terrorists? Well, except in dire cases clearly marked off as exceptions? It seems this harsh principle of communication is the only one that works with Sonny (though he’s a mite younger than our typical terrorist, at just about 16-odd weeks old).

    Our son had developed the annoying habit of sucking his thumb – or, at a pinch, any combination of fingers. He had even learned to be ambidextrous about it. Our response had been to use a cloth nappy to bind his arm; at one point, we were restraining both arms at once.

    But we didn’t just leave it at that. After all, terrorist groups are seldom defeated simply through force of arms: There must be some talking done too. So we would explain to Sonny in a firm but uncompromising tone that he was not to suck his digits, that he should be following his parents’ instructions but also that there were sound hygiene reasons for them. The routine, then, became this: Pa would say sharply, “Sonny, no! Put it down, now!”, repeating it two or three times to give our youngster a chance to process the threat. If the warning was ignored, perhaps with even a complacent smile, there would be a sudden flurry of cloth and baby. Then the young fella would be left to contemplate his suddenly limb-tied existence. He might work himself free of his bonds, but if he tried to resume the forbidden activity, Pa would swoop down again.

    Vicious? After several days of this, amazingly, comprehension took hold. At Pa’s threatening “Sonny, down!”, there would be a moment of wavering suspense – and then the little arm would creep downward again. This seems to vindicate the claim that even very young babies are clever things who understand far more than they are given credit for.

    A few limitations have been noticed, however. First, Sonny will try to resume finger-mouthing after a minute or two, necessitating another round of warnings. Second, he completely ignored Mum’s efforts to replicate Pa’s success; she is still trying to perfect the right tone of command, but may also have to tie Sonny up a time or two to earn credibility. Third, our success was achieved over the weekend, when we had time to spend rehashing the warning cycle. After a few days back at the child care centre (where the administrator told us that “Sucking is natural, part of the child’s exploration”), Sonny again needed to be reminded of the consequences of ignoring instructions.

    Still, there’s no doubt that communication of sorts has been established with our little insurgent.

  • August 13, 2008 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Food Is Not Just About Food….
    In recent years, as an eater with a life-long preference for fresh, natural food, as an environmentalist, as a writer, as a feminist, as a full-time mother and later as a working mother, attempting to juggle career and family responsibilities, I found myself, in the mundane act of trying to put dinner on the table every day, at the centrifugal point of all the forces—-economic, environmental, societal and cultural—–that were coming to bear on the food I ate.

    But, in the public discourse around food, of which there has been much in recent years, there has been a failure to place food in this wider context. I hope that my blog will make some contribution towards a wider and deeper public debate about food, and that others will join me in this debate…….let the journey begin!

  • August 13, 2008 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    HOUSE PARTY REVENGE:
    link: http://www.firstclasstohell.com/2008/06/house-party-revenge.html

    As a teenager, I never thought twice about the bi-monthly raging keggers I had at my house. Having raised my brother and sister whose partying would put Lindsay Lohan to shame, my parents were “over it” by the time I reached 16. They left town often and as long as I didn’t get kicked out my expensive Catholic school or crash my Cutlass Supreme, they had a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. We had a huge backyard, a pool and a big, fully-stocked, oak bar in our family room that rivaled the one from “Cheers.” The parties were always large, loud and wild. One party got so out of control that my best friend Parker actually stood on the bar in her black studded Zodiac boots, knawing on a turkey leg while brandishing a butcher knife, and screamed, “Everybody out! That means you, Mutherf*ckers.” It worked.

    Parker and I always did our best to clean up the evidence the next day, but inevitably something would be broken. We’d get up the next day with our Alice Cooper eyes and matted hair and fill the Hefty bags with Miller Lite cans and add tap water to the empty vodka bottles. I should have known back then that karma would come back to bite me in the ass.

    My son Daniel is 12. A great kid, but with the cleaning skills of a crack-addicted squatter. He is, to put it mildly, a slob. Most 12 year boys are, so I should have know better when I allowed him to invite 2 friends for a sleepover last Saturday. The boys wasted no time in behaving like a metal band at a Best Western. Their first plan of attack was to go into Daniel’s room, shut the door, turn on Guitar Hero and throw everything (including mattress and box spring) on the floor. Promising me that they’d put everything back the next day, I let it slide while they continued to hurl pillows and shoes at each other. This was my first mistake.

    My second mistake was going to bed at 9:00. The boys, having nothing left to destroy in Daniels room migrated downstairs to the family room to “watch movies”. Apparantly “Watch Movies” is 12-year old code for trash the kitchen, graffiti the furniture and burn random things with a cherry scented candle.

    When I awoke the next morning (refreshed from 10 hours of sleep) I sauntered downstairs to find Jake Ryan’s house from the party scene in “Sixteen Candles.” In an effort to stay up late, they had made coffee. It must have been strong because the entire can was empty (about half was strewn across the kitchen and stuck to the granite counter with some sort of adhesive-like substance). Evidently they didn’t like it black, as they used a full jar of Vanilla Non-Dairy Creamer and all the sugar in the house to sweeten the deal. The coffee cups (4 in all) sat throughout the family room, along with an empty bottle of Starbucks Mocha, and 3 cans of special edition Orange flavored Sierra Mist. One of Daniel’s friends had eaten an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, leaving a trail of of cinnamon that looked like a cocaine party circa 1983. The other friend, who must not be fond of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, preferred to eat raw spaghetti, which also doubled as “confetti” since it was completely covering my wood floor. At some point my cherry scented candle was lit and used to melt spaghetti, pens, pencils a few large marshmallows and god knows what else.

    I stood their, mouth agape and ran back upstairs to my bedroom. Knowing that if I returned to the scene of the crime, I would start screaming like Gordon Ramsey when the risotto isn’t cooked right, I made Tom go down and deal with the boys. “He can deal with those Kitchen Donkey’s,” I decided as I took a long hot shower.

    Later, after a long hard talk with Daniel about respecting his house and not letting his friends act like cast members from the Real World, we began to clean up the mess. It was at that time that I found, horror of all horrors, a large 5-inch black sharpie mark across the cushion of my brand new chocolate brown sofa. I sent Daniel scurrying to his room (amidst a flurry of my best Chef Ramsey one-liners), imagined what it would be like when he was sixteen, and realized that Karma is A Bitch.

  • August 14, 2008 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    WHAT WAS MY MOTHER’S GENERATION THINKING?
    Link: http://juggling-mama.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-was-my-mothers-generation-thinking.html

    I am ticked off at my mother’s generation. I respect all those woman who fought for equal rights and the push for woman in the work force but damn it, so much of a push was made it is more common than the stay at home mom. I grew up in a house with a stay at home mom and so did my husband. My mom was a great mom, taking us to activities, playing games with us, helping with our homework and everything else that a great mom does. Now I am a mom but I am the working mom.

    I know there are stay at home mom’s out their but my husband will have no part of it because I went to college and have a degree. I went to college to better our life style and have a career. OK so it makes our life style better but what is the cost to my kids? I shuffle my kids to preschool and babysitters for 10 ½ hours a day, 5 days a week so that we can have more money. The worst part is half of what I am making is going to child care. I can remember all the great things about having my mom there for us when we were kids. I don’t believe my kids are going to be able to say that about me. My parents made due on one income so why can’t we? Who else feels trapped by what their mom’s generation did? I know I am probably ticking off all the moms who are thrilled to be in the work force and look forward to having a separate life away from the kids.
    I just want my boys to have the memories that I had from my childhood. I owe all those memories to my mother and I hate all the other women in her generation who pushed for the working mom movement.

    My Blog is all about my struggles as a working mom who just wants to stay at home and raise her kids. See more at http://www.juggling-mama.blogspot.com .

  • August 14, 2008 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Where have all the adults gone? I mean this with whole sincerity. If children are around, especially in groups there should be a responsible adult in charge. If there is not an adult in charge, that group of kids, no matter the age, becomes a gang and gangs do horrible things to its “members”.

    My oldest daughter is a high school science teacher and has had to start work before my 7 year old grandchild starts school. She has stayed with me for the most part but there have been a few day when she has had to go to a friends house, this is a good friend of my daughter, she is also a licensed child care provider.

    This past Tuesday when I had my grandchild she began talking about how so-and-so was nice, another girl was nice sometimes but there was one girl that was the devil. This is coming from the mouth of a 7 year old. A little later in the day I was out picking tomatoes from my garden and commented about the weeds and how ugly they were, my dear, precious, beautiful 7 year old grandchild commmented “ugly like me.” It stopped me in my tracks.

    We sat down and talked about how some people are pretty and the inside and not so attractive to look at but they are beautiful none the less. There are other people who are very ugly on the inside and say mean, hurtful things to people even though they may be pretty to look at they are very ugly people, their hearts and souls are ugly. But she, my grandchild, was pretty inside and out. She is kind to everyone, she says nice things to people, she is helpful to kids at school that cannot do everything she can do, this makes her beautiful all over.

    Last night I told my daughter about this conversation and she told me that two of the girls that her friend watches have deep emotional issues, both are on medication for “childhood depression” and the oldest one, age 9 has been in a mental facility for youth with severe emotional problems.

    The only thing I could think to ask is “where is the adult that is supposed to be watching these children?” If she knows these girls have such deep emotional problems why are they going unsupervised around my grandchild and her very own children?

    She informed me that the “devil” girl is probably the girl that was institutionalized for her emotional problems. My daughter had seen her behavior and with her experience having worked in such institutions she felt that my precious grandchild was being bullied and harrassed by these mentally and emotionally ill girls.

    I am sick, sad and furious at this woman aka child care provider for putting all these innocent children in the clutches of these sick children. I am angry with my daughter for allowing my grandchild to be exposed to such abuse at the hands of these sick and sad children.

    My daughter asked me not to say anything to her friend and I did not and could not promise her that. I may not say anything to her but I might call the State and let them know what is going on. In my eyes this is a form of neglect and abuse and it should not be tolerated.

    Adults are to protect innocent children and when that ceases to occur we end up with children on anti-depressants at the age of 7 or even worse.

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