Category Archives: BlogHer

Women Need to Just Stop Judging Other Women

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Adele Is Freaking Feminists Out and I Love Her Even More for It – Chicks on the Right

Since when are the decisions individual women make for their lives up for general debate?  It happens every single day as far as I can tell, particularly if said woman happens to be a mother.  Men are not subjected to downright mean spirited questioning of their personal decisions once their children are born.  Women certainly are.  In fact, there is currently a post on BlogHer in which a mother discusses the judgement she faced from other women in the face of a necessary C-section.  You can read the article here.  I am not a mother yet, and I still see the debates and judgements happening every single day.  Breastfeeding, immunizations, working mothers, school choices, C-section versus natural birth, etc.  The list is endless.  Is it anyone else’s business other than the family and individuals affected?  It shouldn’t be.  People make different decisions for a wide variety of reasons.

That is where Adele comes in.  She recently stated that she didn’t fully recognize her purpose in life until she became a mother.  I am paraphrasing, but that is the gist of the idea.  She simply is suggesting that she views motherhood as more important than her singing career.  She isn’t saying that all women need to feel the same way.  She isn’t saying that her singing career isn’t important.  She is merely expressing her personal views on HER own life.  That’s it.  I admit that I haven’t personally seen the backlash that she has received for this interview, but I can easily imagine it.  That sad part is, there is just as much backlash against anyone who suggests that women can be just as good of mothers when they decide not to stay home with their children.  No, I am not joking.  This isn’t the 1950s, and there are people who truly believe that people (let’s be realistic here, mainly women) need to choose between career and being a good parent during the first few years of a child’s life.  In fact, I came across just such a Facebook post by a stay-at-home mom yesterday.

In this post, the author of this Facebook post commented on an article titled The Loudest Silence I Ever Heard by Travis Norwood.  She goes on to state that the article, which discusses severely neglected children in a Kazakhstan orphanage, proves that CIO (cry it out) is harmful to children.  The article, which is disturbing and deserves its own blogpost relating to adoption, isn’t the issue.  The issue is this woman’s reaction to it.  She questions the ability of children raised by working parents to form healthy relationships and basically function well in society.  She truly believes that it is a necessity for one parent or another to stay at home with their child at least until age three.  Excuse me?  What about parents who must work?  What about single parents on every level?  Whether this woman realizes it or not, she just heaped a ton of guilt on parents who simply do not deserve it.  Does she not see that most of these parents have the best interests of their children at heart as well?  Does she not know any successful women who juggled career with raising children?  If not, I feel sorry for her.  I know so many.  In fact, most mothers I know do just that.  Successfully.

When will it stop?  I am sick of women using up so much time and energy to tear down other women who happen to do things differently or make different choices.  It is one thing to discuss why you made the personal choices you made.  It is quite another to suggest that those choices work for everyone.  Can we just stop pretending that everyone is the same and there is only one way to be successful?  It is particularly bad with regards to parenting.  There is more than one way to be a wonderful parent.

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Adele

The interview that started it all.

Schedule and Structure: Finding Time to Write

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Overwhelmed?  Here is How to Schedule Your Online Life – BlogHer

I thrive on schedule and structure.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been easy to get a set schedule when taking class at two different institutions, subbing when able, and fitting in field work for my education classes.  I am looking forward to a traditional school schedule.  The thing is, as much as I love schedule and structure, I like variety too.  That is where my business life comes in.  During the summer, my life is completely different, and I spend most of my days working in the family business, Russell Canoe Livery.  I love having a completely different set of responsibilities for part of the year.

Unfortunately, this semester is off to a strange start.  Even with my intention of finally creating a good schedule (which includes blogging and writing in general) and a more sane class schedule, it just hasn’t worked well over the last couple of weeks.  Maybe I can put those weeks behind me and actually get somewhere.  There are so many things I that need to get done.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what I want my life to look like.  I am working on balancing a teaching career with running a family business and still find time to keep writing.  The thing is:  I know I can do it.  I’ve only been training for all of it for most of my life.  That is what so frustrating at the moment.  I can’t move on just yet.  My brother and I haven’t purchased the business yet.  I still have a semester of classes left, student teaching, and a battery of tests to take.  Once I’m done with all of that, I still need to land a teaching position.  Hopefully these tips and suggestions outlined in the article above will help me find the time to write.

The Real Reason Why You Should Travel

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Why Traveling to “Find Yourself” is the Worst Idea Ever – BlogHer

As a woman with several study abroad, alternative spring break, and traditional travel experiences behind me, I couldn’t agree with Olga Mecking more.  The title itself drew me in because, personally, I can’t think of a better way to learn about yourself.  I made the mistake of thinking “finding yourself” as synonymous with “learning about yourself.”  I could not have been more wrong.  As Mecking makes clear in her blogpost, she is talking about the impulse to shut oneself off from the world in an attempt to answer the big questions.  Why am I here?  What is my purpose in life?  Etc.

The thing is that by truly immersing yourself in another culture, it forces you to question everything you know about your own.  You naturally begin to question your assumptions and beliefs.  Also, whether study abroad or another form of travel, a change in scenery and a different culture make it easy to find yourself in situations that allow you to discover new interests, talents, etc.  Sometimes, you find yourself doing things you never dreamed you would do.

Lately I’ve given a lot of thought to my own experiences abroad.  Would I do it all over again, knowing what I know now?  You bet.  If I were a traditional college student today, would I study abroad?  Probably, although the circumstances are much different today than when I studied abroad 2000-2004.  I simply think I would ask more questions and have far more concern regarding my personal safety.  That is all probably due to my age and experience.  Of course there are things I did at 20 that I would never consider doing today.  Oh, by the way, just a little tip.  If you are planning on studying abroad in the future, do not watch the movie Hostel.  Just don’t do it.

I’ve also thought about how different study abroad would be today compared to my experiences through Michigan State.  First, it would be so much easier to pack when travelling city to city.  When I traveled all over Spain during my semester in Caceres, I always had to pack my journal, books, and portable CD player/CDs.  Today, a smartphone could easily take the place of the music and books.  Also, a small laptop or netbook could take the place of the journal.  Technology is just so much better.  Back in the early 2000s, people were just beginning to blog.  I didn’t have a blog until 2005.  Blogging would make it much easier to capture experiences, rather than just photos and journals, especially with the help of a smartphone.  I can only imagine what I would and could have created studying abroad with today’s technology.  Sadly, I remember getting actual film developed during my times in Spain and Ecuador.  Blogging allows for an immediacy that was not available to me at the time.

What advice would I give to an incoming class of college freshman?  Study abroad!  You will not regret it.  Ten years from now, you will regret it if you didn’t go.  If you are concerned about the cost, there are scholarships; there are ways to make it comparable to a semester on campus.  Also, be careful:  it is addictive.  During my time at MSU, I participated in five separate study abroad programs and alternative spring break – in Merida and Puebla Mexico – three times.  I spent a semester in Quito, Ecuador and a semester in Caceres, Spain.  I also spent a summer in London and completed two separate summer study abroad programs in Merida and Monterrey, Mexico.  When I finally came back to campus to finish my undergraduate degrees, I landed one of the best jobs I’ve ever held:  peer advisor in the office of study abroad.  As a student, I worked part-time helping other students plan their own study abroad adventures.  I consider all of it the best part of my education.  My education would not be the same without all of those experiences; I would not be the same without all of those experiences.

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Politically Incorrect

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Is There Such A Thing As Oversharing? – Blog Her

This.  All of this!  I could have easily written this blog post.  Fortunately, this past year in particular, I’ve tried to be more discrete when it comes to what I share online.  There is always – and I do mean always – so much more I would love to say.  In fact, it ended up biting me in the butt once or twice.  The funny thing is that in one case, one side of my family thought I was referring to them when in reality, it happened to be about something else entirely.  In the other case, the blog post in question was over five years old.  Five years!  It is the only blog post I’ve ever taken down.  I took it down more for personal reasons than any other concern.  It was definitely a case where I wrote out of raw emotion more than anything else.  The bottom line is this:  Aside from close family and friends, I really don’t care what people think about me.  Life is too short.

I’m struggling with this issue again.  February is Turner syndrome awareness month.  As a result, I want to write about my personal experiences with Turner syndrome.  Whether I acknowledge it or not, it has a profound impact on who I am.  The piece will be shared via a Facebook Page for a non-profit organization called A Walk for Ferrial.  I have so much to say, and not everyone will want to hear it.  In the past, I’ve actually left Facebook groups designed for women and girls with Turner syndrome due to conflicting issues.  How do I manage not to be misunderstood?  I’ll have to tread lightly, but if just one girl or young woman with Turner syndrome comes across my writing and recognizes that she is not alone, that there is someone else out there who has had to deal with the exact same issues, it will have all been worth it.  I am fed up with political correctness and not discussing issues that need to be discussed.

The High Cost of (Not) Being Yourself – Part 1

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What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? – BlogHer

You Need to Take Care of Yourself First – BlogHer

Just when I feel hopeful about the future, reality seems to rear its ugly head.  Lately I’ve been reminded time and time again that I need to take care of myself first.  That is all well and good, but I need people in my life.  I know I can get wrapped up in my own life to the exclusion of all else (with the exception of my family), which is why I worry that I’ll end up alone in the end.

How do I let go of that almost paralyzing fear that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life and yet concentrate on myself?  Maybe that is exactly what I need to do at the moment.  I am tired of living in a society focused on narrow measures of beauty and success.  None of them apply to me.  They never have and they never will.  Where does that leave me?  I don’t exactly know.

I know that I need to create my own path.  Unfortunately, that is precisely what intimidates some people, even though that is the only option I’ve ever been given.  Then again, why should I care?  The people who understand are the only people who matter.

Adoption and Single Motherhood – Part 2

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BlogHer – I Want to Adopt and Become a Single Parent Someday – Stephanie Dolce

I decided to break this blog post into two parts because I feel there is one overwhelming issue regarding adoption that Stephanie Dolce addresses in her post that deserves its own response from me.  All of the myths surrounding adoption – many of which make the adoption process more difficult – need to be addressed and discussed openly.  Unfortunately, it seems as though there is still stigma associated with adoption.

In particular, Stephanie addresses the high cost of adoption.  In reality, there are a wide range of fees associated with adoption.  They vary widely depending on how one choses to adopt.  What most people don’t realize is that there are many reasons as to why and how people make the decision to adopt a child.  Some chose to become a foster parent first.  Others chose international adoption.  The length of time it takes to complete an adoption also varies widely depending on the type of adoption and the adoption law in the state where the adoption takes place.  The process can be so complicated and shrouded in mystery at times that it makes it extremely difficult to make generalizations.

I believe that was Stephanie Dolce’s point.  There just needs to be a lot more open discussion about adoption in general.  There are so many children that need homes, we don’t need to make adoption more difficult than necessary.  Like Stephanie, I wish there was much more discussion on the topic.  Everyone needs to know that you don’t have to be perfect to adopt.  Pregnant women dealing with an unwanted pregnancy also need to recognize that they don’t have to have an abortion.  Placing a child up for adoption is a possibility.  I’m not sure what it will take for people to discuss it more.  It breaks my heart.  I realize that adoption doesn’t always work out and that it isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the best possible outcome in some cases.

Adoption and Single Motherhood – Part 1

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BlogHer – I Want to Adopt and Become a Single Parent Someday – Stephanie Dolce

Well, it is time to address the BlogHer article that piqued my interest in the first place.  I saved this particular blog post for last (last of the articles I came across late last week) because it hits so close to home.  Even though Stephanie and I may have differences regarding dating and the possibility for a meaningful relationship (more on that later), we share so much.  Where to begin?

First, Stephanie never shied away from her love of children.  She discusses her years spent as a teacher and coach, all that she has given to children in her life.  That just wasn’t the case earlier in my life.  During my 20s, I let my issues surrounding infertility get in the way of my love for children.  I simply thought that it hurt too much to spend day in, day out with kids not my own.  Well, I can’t believe just how wrong I was.  I finally got over myself and realized the truth that I am meant to be a teacher.  I am meant to make a difference in the lives of children.  I just wish I would have discovered that little gem of self-awareness earlier.  Then again, everything happens for a reason.  All of my experiences in business – good and bad – have made me who I am today.  I doubt I would be planning to take over my parents’ business with my brother if I didn’t have all of that business experience.

Speaking of my brother, Stephanie’s statement that her love of children began with her younger brother rang true to me.  Did I want children of my own before my brother was born?  Yes; it is one of the first and only things I wanted out of life.  However, when my brother was born, I was ten years old.  There was enough difference in our ages that we weren’t necessarily playmates.  My younger sister (three years younger) and I were each other playmates.  Instead, my brother taught me what it is to care for a child.  As his babysitter, I would make him bathe and help him fall asleep.  As his older sister, I made sure he had the opportunity to spend time with me during my college years.  I taught him to appreciate classic cartoons such as Looney Tunes and The Jetsons; he taught me how to ski.  In other words, he will always be my baby brother.  Nothing can change that.  No matter how many children I adopt, he will always be my oldest child.  If one day I am a successful parent, I will have my brother to thank, along with my parents, grandparents, and sister.

If I don’t at least attempt to adopt as a single woman, there will always be something missing in my life.  I think this is exactly what Stephanie is feeling as she approaches 40.  It is what I felt as I approached 30.  It is what gets me out of bed in the morning.  It is the reason why I decided to change careers and go back to school.  Everything in my life – at least anything worthwhile – relates to my dream of creating a family of my own.  Everything.

As a single woman, that dream becomes infinitely more complicated when it comes to the topic of men.  Stephanie comes across as extremely pessimistic when it comes to dating, particularly for a self-described love and relationship advice columnist.  Why?  Why not leave open that possibility that you will meet the right man, even as a single mom?  It might take more work to find the right man, but it can be done.

This is what I am struggling with at the moment:  Making room for others in my daily life.  As I go about creating a life I love, the life I’ve always wanted, I need to find ways to ensure that I am not getting too wrapped up in myself.  I need to make time for others, make sure that I am available.  How will I ever find the right man if he thinks I am too busy for any kind of meaningful relationship?  What kind of mother would I be if I put myself before my child?  Unfortunately, it can be too easy to shut the most important people out of your life, even if that isn’t your intention at all.

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