On the heels of Anne-Marie Slaughter

 

¡Ay que flojera! Translation–YAWN! Now it’s Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and expectant mother’s turn in the news.  KJ Dell’Antonia tossed her opinion in The New York Times,  Motherlode and at least deepened the discussion in Don’t Dismiss the Conversation About  Pregnancy by beseeching us to have the conversation. Period.

“If we don’t talk about how hard it will be for someone with all of Ms. Mayer’s advantages, when, exactly, will we start looking at how much harder it is for everyone else?”

Do you agree?

 

Manuela…

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic offers nothing new. Let’s get over it and move on! While looking through some old book reviews, I’d written for El Andar, A National Latino Magazine I found Manuela.

…I embroider my blouses with two heads. During the night, one of my heads dreams about designs and patterns and colors and stitches, and during the day my other head thinks about all of the other things a woman has to do–cooking, cleaning, making tortillas, tending the animals and actually making the blouse I have dreamt about. One head is for myself and the other is for my people.

–Manuela, Nahua Indian quoted in “Dreams and Designs” by Jill Vexler.

I think Manuela said it better and much more to the point, no?

The Debate From California to New York

From The Monterey Herald’s School Bytes to the NY Times’ Room for Debate parents and educators are wondering if our kids are doing enough and if the helicopter parent is starting to crash and burn. 

No, I don’t think kids overall are doing enough, especially around the homestead and yes, the rotors on those helicopter parents are getting rusty. How about slowing down a bit and teaching kids how to do things and then letting them figure it out? Let them struggle through it and don’t say a word if it’s not done to your specifications. Let that one go, now! It can be exasperating and mind numbing after the first few times, but trust me, when they’re twenty-five and still asking you to do for them, it’ll be too late.

 

 

Are We Asking Enough From Our Kids?

While First Lady Michelle Obama, Mamiverse, and a multitude of other blogs, newspapers, and magazines, ask us as parents to provide the best we can in education, health care, nutrition, and community, etc., I’ve noticed that our children, teen, and young adults are left out of the equation.

Why? As a family, everyone should pitch in, every day and that includes kids. It doesn’t make for a popular parent, but like I tell my sons, this isn’t a popularity contest. It comes down to life at its most basic–There is no such thing as a free ride–another phrase met with grunts and eye-rolling, but that’s fine with me as long as the chores get done.

My Man and I have raised our kids mostly Old School and they’ve turned out to be funny, bright, polite and great young men, but sometimes act either like a character out of South Park or wake up delusional expecting Prince William and Harry’s life in Buckingham Palace.

When I complain of this  to my peers, they actually side with the kids, and I begin to rethink  the friendship. So when I came across Claudia Meléndez Salinas’ post in Monterey County School Blog –SCHOOL BYTES– I had to share:

TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2012

Maybe schools aren’t the problem

maybe it’s the students.So, here’s a topic that’s making the rounds these days. Elizabeth Kolbert of the New Yorker analyzes a book and an essay to conclude that, thanks to over-cuddling parents, children in the United States are growing to be lazy and complacent. We don’t let them learn how to tie their own shoes because it’s not expedient: we’re in a hurry, we have to get to work, so we do it for them. The result: they grow up feeling that everything can be handed down to them, that they don’t have to work hard for anything. And that, if they’re not being entertained, there’s no point in anything.Then comes a response from Lee Bessette, a teacher of writing in Canada, who concludes in this blog at Inside Higher Ed that people are now getting their satisfaction primarily from parenting because everything else in life is so unrewarding that getting that smile of approval from your child is worth the world. Your reason for being.Which makes me wonder: what will happen with those children when they grow up and we’re not there to make them smile, or hand them down life on a silver platter?

Read more…. What do you think?

First Lady Michelle Obama and Mamiverse Latinas’ Chat

My hat off to Maria Cordona and an inspiring panel of Latinas for discussing our goals within education, health, and community service with the First Lady. It’s a great start and I hope more of these chats will occur to discuss these goals in greater detail and show how easily we can take part not just in shaping and improving our families’ lives, but our communities as well.

When the discussion touched on the importance of community service, I thought about the primaries when unfortunately our son was days shy of voting age, but was old enough to work the polls with me. We attended a 2-hour training on a Saturday morning, which my son didn’t fall asleep through and we got paid for it as well. The central message was– we are here to help you VOTE in any way we can. And on Tuesday we saw it in motion.

As I watched my son hand out ballots and cross out names on the voting lists, I thought of my grandmother, Nana Herminia, who sent me bus money from Tucson to Nogales, Arizona for Election Day. My father, a political hound, had died seven years before and my mother, who preferred her green card, didn’t vote, so the task fell to my grandmother.

She picked me up in her immaculate 1955 Chevy and instructed me that Raptis’s voted straight ticket. I remember the sound of her husky cigarette voice announcing to the early birds at the polls that her granddaughter, a university student, was here to vote for the very first time.  I choked up as folks patted me on the back and shook my hand. I wished I’d thanked her, but at nineteen, it hadn’t cross my mind. So instead I’ll thank her by taking my son to vote this November.

Taking our kids along when we vote on any election day is wonderful, but this year do more! If your kid is sixteen or older they can work the polls. Check out http://votescount.com for more information on the many different ways you and your kids can help this ELECTION YEAR!

Never Off Duty

My oldest has a driver’s license. As an older Mom, LIX in Roman numerals, I’ve waited a long time to legally toss the car keys and the baton of taxi driving and errands to my son. The hours I gain  make a huge difference, but, I am also hyper-aware that now it’s my child’s hours out in the car. In traffic with–you know who–I don’t need to point my finger at anyone.

I have joined the legions of parents, who despite–alcohol,TV, E-Bay, hot tub, sex, FaceBook, relaxants, etc.–can’t fall asleep. I can be bone tired at midnight, going on less than four hours of sleep, but my eyelids refuse to droop. Not until I hear the second thud coming from the kitchen door, his foot steps, keys hitting the counter, the refrigerator door swinging open.  Think Radar from M*A*S*H*. Those sounds are sweeter than my favorite John and Paul love songs.

When he’s been late and hasn’t called and worse, I can’t get a hold of him, I WORRY. Sit in the living room, in my robe minus the fluffy slippers, with one eye on Chopped reruns and the other on the phone, while my brain concocts hideous scenes. I take my pulse and chew an aspirin with water when he’s more than an hour late.  I think of my mother, a young widow, who went through this eleven times and had four of my six brothers in a row. Just don’t loosen the reins too much on them, she’d say after I’d share a particularly bad scare we’d had with the boys.  I miss her, terribly, but especially so on these nights when I could have called her. A night owl, she’d have kept me company and reassured me everything was going to be alright.

When my broad shouldered, tail between his legs son arrives, I’m stern when I tell him in Spanish, the oh shit you are in trouble language in our home, to sit down and explain himself. I literally cross my arms to keep my mother’s words from tumbling out.

His body leaning against the sofa, tells me not to worry with the same cocky look I must have given my mother. I hear myself and know my impact is as anemic as my mother’s was on me. I have a horrible teen driving record to prove it.

How do I explain to my son that I’d also like to pass the baton on worrying. I’d like to be off duty.Turn the switch off. I hear my mother whisper and chuckle, “You never stop worrying, mijita, you only pray harder.” 

Catching up

Need to catch up and drop some ink to paper–saw Mary Karr in concert with Rodney Crowell in Santa Cruz a week ago. Was anticipating to hear one of my favorite memoirists read, but learned she’s been a songwriter for quite some time, and not only can she write wicked music, she can belt them out, a blast!

Read  Fierce Attachments and The Situation and The Story. The first is Vivian Gornick’s grab you by the guts memoir of the tortured mother/daughter relationship. A must read! The second a superb book on the art of personal writing with excerpts from  memoirists throughout the past 100 years. I maxed out my library renewals and need to buy my copy. At the moment, I’m reading magazines and newspapers, pretty much since I’m writing and working on my web sites.

Both our teen sons have a bona fide summer job complete with an orientation, a uniform, a hefty paycheck, and rude customers. I am a proud Mama!

Have been listening to Los Lonely Boys and The Metrics to get me through the days filled with tedious researching. Right about now, I miss those stubborn, parched and drawn out writing days.

Meanwhile, I went AWOL with my left part of the brain and finally began populating my blog with my Man’s help. I set up a simple B&W design and racked up five pages of text and photos, still needs work–lots of fun and easy. Now need to harness all of my ideas and focus on working with an agent.

Queried 8 agents–received 2 good responses and am waiting to hear back from one, soon. The other wants a full blown proposal, so after this post, I’m back at the STRETCH MARKS marketing crank.

Am done. Want to go outside and catch that balmy breeze coming through my window…