I watched a good portion of the Casey Anthony murder trial, not because I was interested but because JenB was borderline obsessed. I watched from a distance with a bit of a skeptical eye. I haven’t commented at all on the Casey Anthony trial that’s now in its 6th week here in Florida up to this point. I think there were plenty of other opinions floating around. There was really no need to add my hat into the mix. But something said during the news coverage while the jury was deliberating sparked a thought in my brain that I just can’t seem to put to rest.
If you watched the closing arguments, you saw the state and defense give their last ditch efforts at proving and refuting their respective cases as to the guilt or innocence of Casey Anthony. The defense purported all along that Casey was a “good mom”. Despite her irrational behavior, her bevvy of lies and her missing and then confirmed deceased daughter, Casey was a good mom.
Even after the trial during news anchor and expert guest discussion, it almost seemed like they were having a hard time calling Casey Anthony a “bad mom”. I know they were thinking what I was thinking – how could a woman (or parent, for that matter) be called a good (parent) when their child died? It doesn’t even matter if the death was accidental or intentional. It doesn’t even matter if the death was at the hands of Casey herself or aliens from another planet. Innocence or guilt can be discussed and debated indefinitely and I can honestly say that I’m glad I’m not on that jury. The indisputable fact is that a child died while in a mother’s care. That’s enough to tell me that someone Casey Anthony is a bad parent.
Is calling someone a bad parent such a taboo that few are willing to do so, despite the most basic of evidence in the case – the child is dead? Casey Anthony, you’re a bad mom. Period.
The following is a guest post from author Litsa Bolontzakis. Litsa’s newest book titled Summer the Magic Blanket writes a timely post about modern life and the role single dads play in their childrens’ lives.
Our world is changing very rapidly, and our culture grows more and more disposable each day. Sometimes it seems as if people have actually become disposable, as well. Disposable lives—what does that really imply?
“Disposable” means something we use for a little while and then throw away, something with little value, like so many of the material objects we use—in no time they become utterly useless.
Does that apply to human relationships? Is it possible that they have become disposable, too? And if so, what are the consequences? Consider how a very valuable institution, marriage, has changed and became disposable. Single-parent families, which now number in the millions, are the “new normal.”
When children are involved, though, the dynamics change. No matter what happens with the adults, the children have to feel valuable and never made to feel disposable. It’s the hardest project to have to do alone, and I call it a “project” because it is at least a 20-year project to raise a child.
Dear dads, can you be dependable, with the staying power that will always be there for your young ones?
Our children are growing up in a very challenging world where everything is disposable, but they need guidance and direction to acquire qualities that will help them face those challenges. If you think about it, imagine the billions of dollars worth of advertising aimed at our young ones, pushing gadgets, toys and material possessions at them. I wonder why? Because children have “nagging power,” and it always works!
Here is what our children need the most, and it doesn’t cost anything—it’s free, and most importantly, not disposable.
They need to feel loved, unconditionally.
Your children like spending time with you, doing activities together in an unhurried way. They love to ask questions and hear your answers, they love to be with you and people they trust, people who love them and praise them. They love to be outdoors, rain or shine, and they want to experience everything. Simple, everyday things are what make them happy, because everything to them is fresh and new.
Dear dads, please remember that time goes by so very quickly, and that while you are teaching them with love, you are helping them develop and grow and, at the same time, helping them create wonderful memories.
Why are good memories essential in the development of a child?
Studies now show that the care babies get has dramatic and long-term effects on how children develop and learn, on how they cope with stress, and on how they react to the world around them. In fact, science tells us that the right kind of experiences in their early years can actually help our children’s brains to grow! And that those experiences can affect how they continue to learn later on in life.
Although the first year is the most important for a child’s brain development, there is a strong message that all the early years—from birth to age 10—are important. So time is too short to accomplish so much!
Here’s to you, dear dads, for being the dependable rocks in the lives of your children! By putting them first in your life, you’re proving that your children will never be disposable.
For eighteen years I’ve yearned for time alone – a furtive and infrequent event in these child-rearing years. It was hard enough when I had a partner to take the baby so I could shower without playing peek-a-boo through the shower curtain or would stay with the napping toddler while I ran to the little store down the block. But when, more than a decade ago, I became the one and only parent to a one- and a six-year-old, the time alone was both more imperative and more complicated.
Babysitters were expensive; friends and family weren’t always available. Somehow I carved out little notches of time throughout the years, but now that my kids are 18 and 13, I can leave them at home for Saturday morning writing sessions at the coffee shop or for evenings watching grown-up movies with friends. But those hours without my kids are never completely alone. The autonomy is invariably interrupted by the ringing of my phone, the buzz of a text message.
“Mom, When are you coming back?”
“Mom, what is there to eat?”
“Mom, my sister won’t leave me alone.”
The kids can’t seem to leave me alone.
I can’t blame them, though. For nearly twelve years it’s been just the three of us and they’ve had no one else to lean on. So I get the texts and calls, and my time is never really all mine.
But that’s about to change. At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, I board a plane to Belize. For two weeks, it will be just me, my best friend and a few changes of clothes. No cell phone. No e-mail. And loads of sunshine and silence.
I am thrilled, but at the same time, it scares the bejeezus out of me.
What if my daughter breaks her arm? What if my son needs a ride home? What if there isn’t enough food to last him two weeks? How is she going to entertain herself at her grandparents? What if, what if, what if?
When my friend and I bought our tickets back in March, it was spur of the moment and I didn’t even contemplate the what-ifs when I handed over the debit card. Things will work out, I figure. They always do.
As the days count down to departure, I wonder if I am being selfish. Maybe what I’ve always wanted isn’t what I’m supposed to have. The kids might hate me by the time I come back. What if something terrible happens to me while I’m gone? Who’ll finish raising the 13-year-old? My mind swirls with possibilities and all of them negative, traumatic, deadly.
Really though, the logical part of my brain knows that it’s good for me, healthy for body and soul, to take time away from the hustle and bustle stress of 24/7/365 parenting. The times when I can step away from the onslaught of maternal obligations, are the moments when I get a better perspective on my children and on our lives together.
I love my kids, more than anything or anyone, but for all of our sakes I have to trust that my parents will take care of my daughter, that my son will be responsible and that sometimes time away is necessary–for them and, no less importantly, for me.
Teresa Coates is the mother and writer behind Solo Mama Moxie. You can follow along with her family adventures stateside and abroad at On Our Own, connect with her on Twitter (@teresa_coates), and see what she’s making this time on Crinkle Dreams.
This past Father’s Day, B Toys put up a super cute video of funny kid quotes submitted by visitors to their site. My son’s quote was included in the video along with a slew of other seriously funny quotes. Check it out!
As a single mom, I’ve grown a bit of a thick skin. Not much gets to me any more. I’ve been there for my son when he was sick, woke up night after night in 2-hour intervals for months to feed him and have changed more poopie diapers than I care to remember. Being a parent is a LOT of work and being a single parent is even more! But you know what? When I see my little Chunky Monkey’s face, when I see him smile or hear him laugh and now that he’s talking when he tells me “Tank yooo!” he truly makes it all worth while. I am inspired by my son (both of my sons) every single day to be the best mom, the best personal chef, the best chauffeur, the best cleaning lady, and even the best diaper-changer in the whole world.
A Contest From AOL: What Inspires You to Be Legendary?
Ethan With a Big Smile
AOL, in conjunction with Jeep, have asked this very same question of women around the US – “What inspires you to be legendary?” They know that it is passion that drives us to be legendary in our own right, no matter what that passion is – from travel, to cooking to parenting and more. AOL and Jeep have teamed up and to create the site http://www.jeeplegendarylife.aol.com/ to ask that very question AND to give away some awesome prizes as well.
Everyone that visits the site above and creates an Inspiration Board will be entered into a weekly drawing for a $50 gift card as well as the grand prize – a $4500 gift card! Create your own Inspiration Board and share what inspires you to be great and lead a legendary life. It takes only a few minutes and enters you in the drawing for the weekly and grand prizes.
This contest will run between June 6th – June 30th. See the contest website for full details.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated by the advertiser through my affiliation with Single Edition to write this post. I was provided with the subject matter to write about, but the content of this article are my own thoughts and opinions. Please read my Disclosure Policy for more information.
The question may seem a bit elementary at first glance, but what is the definition of a single parent? What makes someone a single mom or single dad?
I was a bit surprised to hear multiple answers to this question that I felt all had some validity to them. The circumstances leading up to someone being a single dad or mom can dictate this definition.
The two primary definitions have one very distinct difference between them. Below are the two opposing definitions.
Single Parent, a Wider Definition
First, let’s start with an ‘official’ definition from Wikipedia.org:
Single-parents (also lone parent, solo parent and sole parent) is a parent who cares for one or more children without the physical assistance of the other biological parent in the home. “Single Parenthood” may vary according to the local laws of different nations or regions.
According to this definition, a single parent is simply any parent raising a child (or children) without the other biological parent in the home. To me, this means any divorced parents that have partial or full custody of their children are each single parents, even if they aren’t full-time parents.
The definition varies by state or region so one state may define a single parent as one that has sole custody with the other parent not being involved while another state could have a completely different definition.
This is roughly the definition I use when I define what a single parent.
Single Parent, a Narrow Definition
Another commonly-held definition of a single parent is closer to that of a sole parenting situation where the parent is solely responsible for the care and upbringing of the child or children.
The other biological parent is not only not present in the home but does not assist the primary (sole) parent in any way. In this definition, many of those included in the first definition are eliminated as single parents. Solo parents would only be those either widowed (or widower) or abandoned by the other parent.
What do you think? What is your situation? Are you a single parent? Or a solo parent?
How did you come to be a single parent or solo parent? At what point does someone stop being a single (or solo) parent?
Is marriage required to change this status or does dating or even living with someone change this status? I’d really like to hear your thoughts and histories!
The following is a guest editorial article on swearing on your personal blog by self-proclaimed ‘soccer mom’, Michelle Baron. More information about the author can be found at the end of the article. What do you think about swearing on your blog? Is it artistic expression? Or even necessary at times? We’d love to hear your comments.
Photo: by edwick via Flickr
A blog is a person’s way of showing to the world who he or she is and what they can do. A website can either represent a mirror image of the person sitting behind the computer or can represent an alter ego, which most of the time, is a completely different person. Most bloggers try to showcase to the world what type of person they are, which often leads to these people revealing too much of themselves. They tend to become so much of themselves and start to be so casual, forgetting to put aside a little mystery for their followers. Following this, since most people reveal much of themselves on the internet, they often forget that there are certain rules which must be followed online too.
When people read blogs and the blogger swears in his entry, some people actually think that this blogger is more real, because of the fact that he uses foul words.
Swearing can become a bad habit if you do it too often. So, is it okay to swear online? It is your website anyway.
Disadvantages to Swearing Online
Everyone can see you
Since the internet is open for everyone, and almost anyone can access your website, it can sometimes become embarrassing if people see you swearing. Another disadvantage of writing about yourself online, which might include your day-to-day activities, travels, or even you activities with your friends is that your kids will see everything and anything that is written online. Since kids don’t have a clear picture of what good and bad is, they would think that anything that there parents do is good. If you usually swear at home and you have a kid, it is best to tone down the swearing. You don’t want your child to start swearing right? So if you have blogs, try to avoid swearing or using inappropriate words, you never know who reads your blogs.
You won’t get anything from swearing.
Most of the time swearing is just an expression of one’s self on the internet. It won’t benefit you at all if you say it. So it is always better to not swear anymore. People might find it quite normal, since people really do swear on a normal daily basis, but something written is different from something said verbally. Once something is published it stays there forever, while something said can just be forgotten in an instant.
Kids might think it is normal/okay to swear.
In connection to the first disadvantage, kids nowadays are more techie and internet savvy. So they can surf the net anytime. And might land on your blog. If you cuss and swear, kids might think that this is just normal making them imitate what you have just written. In this day and age, where parents are too busy to actually monitor what their kids do, you can help by keeping it clean on your blog.
So why do some people still swear on their blogs? Well, it always depends on the type of audience you want to attract. It can work, but swearing can bring out so much negativity making people think that all you do is talk bad about a certain person. Always weigh the situation to see whether you can get more traffic hits if you do this.
The bottom line is, just do it if it is needed. But generally swearing is not good, so you always want to convey this message to everyone who reads your blog. It is always better to keep your words clean than fill your entries with foul words that exude negativity every time someone reads it.
Hey, it’s JenB. I thought I’d take a stab at this whole blogging thing. How hard can it be? I figured I’d start nice and easy and make a list of the best gift ideas for dads on Father’s Day. I’m going to try to make a list with something for everyone, from gifts for first-time fathers to affordable Father’s Day gifts, to something a little more creative for the crafty types as well. Father’s Day, 2011 in the U.S. is Sunday, June 19th, so don’t procrastinate! If you have suggestions for great Father’s Day gift ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comments as well!
#11 A Creative Father’s Day Gift Idea - A Card – (Hand Made or Store Bought)
Cost: Starting at $1 – $5
Cards are great for dads; care to know why? Because dads aren’t all that picky on Father’s Day. Most dads are pretty easy to please, so just showing them you care more than you usually do will probably be enough to brighten their day. Besides, cards won’t cost much and you can always write your own personal message in them as well. If you want to get fancy you can even record an audio greeting in some of the newer styles. You can always try your hand at making him a card as well. A hand made card is always a handy go-to yet creative Father’s Day gift idea – you can always make up your own song .
MOASD Rating: ★★★
Rawlings Baseball Glove
#10 – For the Athletic Dad – Sporting Equipment or Tickets
If your dad is a little on the sporty side he might be interested in some new sporting equipment. Baseball gloves are great – especially for playing a little catch in the yard. Who knows maybe you’ll start your own new past time? A ball and glove makes for a pretty affordable gift for dad, but if you’ve got a little more money in the budget you can spring for tickets to dad’s favorite team on StubHub for a summer game as well.
MOASD Rating: ★★★
# 9 – For Chef Dad – A New Grill (Gas or Charcoal)
Weber Charcoal Grill
What dad doesn’t love to grill? Maybe his grill has seen better days and it’s ready for a replacement. Charcoal grills are great because they’re ‘authentically man’. Man make fire; man grill meat. A lot of guys prefer the taste of food grilled on a charcoal grill, too. Of course, for a little more money on average you can also get a feature-rich gas grill complete with temperature gauge, side burners, warming rack and kitchen sink (kitchen sink often not included). If he’s got a grill already or you have a tight budget to stick to, why not get him a grilling cookbook complete with recipes made for grilling or cook up a great steak for him instead?
I recommend that you use Weber’s handy Grill Selector to choose the perfect grill for dad on Father’s Day.
MOASD Rating: ★★★
#8 – For the Arm Chair Quarterback Dad – Cable Sports Package
Cost: $100 and Up
Dads love sports. Dads love to watch sports. A great father’s day gift idea might be to get him the sports package on your cable or satellite provider so he can watch all of his favorite teams. This is a great idea especially if dad’s favorite team is out of the area and he wouldn’t normally be able to watch the game. Just be sure to use those games as some quality bonding time when the season comes!
MOASD Rating: ★★★
#7 Help Dad Relax After a Hard Day’s Work – a Bottle of Wine or Favorite Beer
Camaro Car Wash
Most dads enjoy a cold glass of beer or a nice wine every once in a while. If your dad’s the beer type of guy, get him his favorite micro brew that he doesn’t drink very often. If your dad is more the wine type, a bottle of either white or red wine can be purchased at any grocery store for just a few dollars. ‘Fancy’ doesn’t always mean better, so don’t worry too much about how much the beverage costs.
MOASD Rating: ★★★★
#6 – For the Go-Go Gadget Dad – iPad2
Dads love gadgets and while a new iPad 2 may be on the pricey side I promised there would be something for everyone in this list. Dad’s tend to prefer the latest and greatest gadgets, so be sure to spring for the latest generation so that he can brag to all of his friends about how (fast, light, thin, etc) great it is.
MOASD Rating: ★★★★
#5 – For the Summer Fun Dad – Theme/Water Park Tickets
Universal Studios Orlando
Theme or water park tickets are a gift that the whole family could potentially enjoy. While a bit on the expensive side for a Father’s Day gift, season or annual passes to a theme park or water park are the gifts that keep on giving all year long! You can often get passes to parks that you can use multiple times per year that will greatly reduce the cost-per-visit for the tickets. If tickets would ordinarily cost $70 for one visit, but you’re able to purchase annual or seasonal tickets for $100 but visit the park more than twice, your cost per visit is greatly reduced!
MOASD Rating: ★★★★
# 4 – For the Frisky Dad – “Bedroom” Coupons
Ok, so I’m only kinda stealing this idea from Dan’s post. If your big papa is a little frisky why not give him a few get INTO bed free cards? We all know guys love it when we tease them. Father’s Day is really no different than any other day. The best parts? Momma will get to have some fun too and it won’t break your piggy bank. Be creative and make up some scenarios that are a little outside of your usual ‘routine’. He’ll thank ya for it, I promise!
MOASD Rating: ★★★★
Photo Mouse Pad on Shutterfly
#3 – For the Sentimental Dad – a Photo Gift
Photo gifts are an especially good idea for the first time father. All dads love decorating their office with mementos of home; why not get him something for his desk at work? Maybe a nice picture in a frame or even a mouse pad with baby’s picture on it are great ideas. That way when he’s busy at work he’ll still have a reminder of his favorite little waiting for him to come home.
MOASD Rating: ★★★★★
# 2 – For the Stressed Out Dad – a Daddy Vacation Day
Dads need a break once in a while too. They work hard in the office and come home to work hard some more. Why not empty the house one day and let dad have some quiet time to catch up on his favorite hobby, tv show or nap time? I bet he’ll return the favor sometime too!
MOASD Rating: ★★★★★
Photo: Kevin Breaux via Photobucket
#1 – For the Keeping Up With the Joneses Dad – a Freshly Manicured…Yard
Dad’s pride and joy (aside from his children, of course) is usually his yard. If your dad spends a lot of time in the yard mowing, trimming edging and blowing, why not give him a break and do it for him? Of course, if you lack the motivation but have a few bucks you can pay a service to do it for you as well.
MOASD Rating: ★★★★★
There you have it – there’s something for everyone in this Father’s Day Gifts Ideas for 2011! The most important part is to let dad know you care.
A few weeks ago I was asked to read a wonderful new children’s book, Monday is One Day by author Arthur A. Levine, published by Scholastic. I was touched almost immediately just reading the description because I’ve felt the very same feelings the author must have felt when writing the book. I felt that hole in the pit of my stomach every day. I longed for the next time I would see my son again when I was away from him; I’m so glad an author was able to put those feelings to words so eloquently. Monday is One Day makes for an excellent bed time story – especially for parents that are apart from their children during the day.
The book is a love note written from a working father to his young son. One by one, the days of the week roll by. Monday is one day, Tuesday is blue shoes day, and Wednesday is halfway day.
One by one, the days of the week roll by. Monday is one day, Tuesday is blue shoes day, and Wednesday is halfway day.
With monster roars and splashy puddles, with crazy ties and hugs, kids and parents count the perfect small moments of their weekday time together, looking forward to the weekend, when the days will be all theirs.
As a promotion for the release of the book, I have been allowed to give two copies of the book away to my readers. Simply add a comment to this post as an entry into the contest. You can also receive one additional entry if you Tweet this post and indicate that you’ve done so in a second comment. I will randomly draw the winner from the comments entered using Random.org. The contest will begin Thursday, May 19th and will conclude Tuesday, May 31. The two winners’ information will be given to the publicist contact and the books will be sent directly from the publicist. Happy commenting!
The following is a guest post from one of my favorite new blogs – Doubting Thomas. More info about the author can be found in the bio at the end of this post.
For many people, the divorce process is a gut-wrenching one, filled with emotional turmoil and upheaval even in the most amicable of circumstances. When you add children into the mix, the process only gets more complicated; the little ones you swore you would protect from life’s hurricanes are now caught in the eye of the storm. What’s a parent to do? When your world is turned upside down, there is hope. By following a few basic steps, you can keep your sanity and bring your children through this difficult time.
Types of Divorcing Parents
Before we talk about healthy parenting, we need to take a quick look at what isn’t. Divorce is like a psychedelic drug – it can make otherwise competent and rational parents become strung-out messes, babbling incoherently and abandoning all pretense of maturity. Many parents fall into one of two categories during this time:
Good Time Charlie (or Charlotte)
Photo: by Family Oon via Flickr
These parents are concerned with winning some imaginary popularity contest with their kids. Every visitation consists of late nights, junk food, movies, and throwing rules out the window. Go to “Chuck E’ Cheese” every Saturday? Sure thing! Homework? No way – that’s your Dad’s problem! We’re gonna have fun! These kids return to the other parent with a ‘Disney World’ hangover and absolute disdain for boundaries. Mom ceases to be a Mom: she is a “buddy.”
Photo: by Donnie Ray via Flickr
Yes, folks, there is a 51st state in America – the State of Denial. Unfortunately, many parents, like the ostrich, choose to bury their heads in the sand and leave the kids to fend for themselves. These moms and dads, so wrapped up in their anger or sadness, fail to take care of all but the most basic needs of their children. The end result? Already vulnerable kids resort to any means necessary to get attention and validation. No parenting is just as damaging as weak parenting.
Effective Parenting Tips During Divorce
So what can you do during these trying times? When so many things are uncertain, what our children need can be broken down to three points:
Be Consistent & Be Clear
More than ever your kids need to know where they stand with you, and look to you for stability and security with so much change. Even if you are moving to a new home (or a new city!), there is an immense amount of comfort for kids in the familiar routines. Whether it is as simple as the same bedtime they had when you were married, or new habits that symbolize your new family unit, these patterns help children realize that all will eventually be well. Likewise, they need clear direction on the rules, whether it is about homework, hygiene, or between-meal snacks. This may not result in winning the aforementioned popularity contests, but remember parents, this isn’t American Idol! J
With so many electronic distractions today, our kids need to know that they are a priority, especially at this time. Make a point to turn off the computer & TV, put down the iPhone or BlackBerry, and “plug in” to your kids. Whether it is a game of “Go Fish,” reading a favorite story, or drawing pictures together, that investment of time is priceless. Let your children take the lead on planning the activity – it doesn’t have to be a fancy production, just the simple act of showing your kids that they are first place to all the other distractions speaks volumes to your relationship with them.
Create a “Safe Feelings” Zone
Photo: by Evil Erin via Flickr
As adults, we take for granted how many options we have at our fingertips to cope with the pain of divorce. Between therapists, friends, support groups, and coworkers, we have many resources – often our kids aren’t so lucky. Many children have a hard time expressing how they feel and don’t know where to turn to get help in dealing with everything that is going on. That’s where you come in! Our children often fear being honest with us due to loss of love, or fear of reprisal. Your job is to create a safe place in which they can open up about their feelings and talk about them without judgment.
My kids and I have a routine in which they get 20 minutes a day of my undivided attention to talk about anything that’s on their mind, no holds barred. Sometimes we talk about problems at mom’s house. More often, we talk about school, band, homework, mean friends, or mean siblings! The point is that they know that they have my complete focus and can express what’s on their mind. It is amazing to me the difference it has made in how they are able to cope with trying situations. They don’t always use the 20 minutes, but they know it is there when they need it.
So there you have it – my two cents on parenting while navigating the turbulent waters of divorce. There are a number of great books out there on parenting through a divorce, but I hope that this post offers a few tips to guide you, regardless of where you are on your journey.
Bio: Doubting Thomas is a single guy in his mid-30′s with four kids, one dog and one random sense of humor. He blogs on his website about the surprises, twists, turns and changes that many experience in divorce, dating and relationships. Thomas is often his own worst critic and has been challenged to find the positive side to some of these changes. He uses that doubt to examine reasons, beliefs and perceptions and tries to emerge from that introspection a stronger person.