Friday, July 18, 2014

So you want to be outraged?

I'm sorry, but promoting misinformation has got to stop. I am sick & tired of people getting outraged over whether or not Hobby Lobby will be forced to pay for birth control for their female employees.

The argument is that an employer should not have a say over a woman's healthcare. Which is missing the point entirely.

My boss does not have a say over my healthcare. They do however have a say over what they will or will not pay for.
You want to get outraged over something healthcare related? Over what your boss will or won't pay for? Then get outraged over people whose cancer treatments aren't covered. Or who miss qualifying for payment because their necessary surgery happened three days too soon according to the fine print in their policy. Or the drugs used to manage your disease are no longer covered. Or any of the other necessary medical procedures that health insurance companies deny every single day. Don't get outraged because you have to be responsible for your own sex life.
The idea that women aren't able or necessary to take responsibility for their own reproductive health is degrading and sexist thinking. The idea that I need a man in the White House, or the man running my company, or the man running my insurance company to pay for me to have sex freely and without consequence is essentially calling me an irresponsible whore. Stop it.

I am a grown woman. I can decide when I have sex. I decide whether or not to protect myself from the consequences of that sex.

You want to talk freedom of choice? Then fine. Let's talk responsible choice. Let's stop pretending like women are so sex crazed that we can't say 'no' and need to be protected from our own choices. Let's stop treating women as if they are so weak and unable to take care of themselves that we are found making huge issues out of what should be simple personal responsibility. I am responsible for my own sex life and my own reproductive health and I am sick and tired of being told that I need a man's world to take care of me.
So you want to get outraged? Stop getting outraged over sex. Start getting outraged over real health issues. Cancer. Heart Disease. Alzheimer's. Anything other than sex. Anything other than something that we all make a choice to do or not do, to protect ourselves or not protect ourselves. Anything other than what our society has essentially turned into a recreational activity. Stop getting outraged over whether or not someone else will have to pay so you can have sex for fun instead of procreation, and start getting outraged over real issues.
Seriously.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank you

Dear Jillian,

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you for being mine. Thank you for being here. Thank you for healing parts of me that I didn't know were broken. Thank you.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's part of life. And no, life isn't fair.

Today as I was picking Jena up from Vacation Bible School I overheard a woman complaining about the snacks they were serving this week.

Well, really just one snack. On Friday the kids get cheese pizza. Her daughter cannot eat pizza due to food allergies.

This woman ranted for over 10 minutes to her friend about how it's not fair that her daughter won't be able to eat the "cool food", and stated that she thought they should change the menu to accommodate the kids with food allergies.

Over and over again I heard how upset she was that her daughter would miss out on the "cool" food / treat. She went on about how it's one thing when you're older, but when you're a kid it's just really hard to miss out on the "cool" stuff.

And then when a VBS worker walked by, she stopped them and went on a very polite tirade about the stinkin' cheese pizza.

I'm gonna be honest. At first, I thought 'whatever' but the more she pounding her point into the ground, the harder it got to hold my tongue. But I did manage to. But now ya'll get to hear my perspective on the issue.

Here's the deal. Jena is sensitive to chocolate. For those of you that don't know, many of the food "allergies" out there are actually sensitivities. The difference (in a very simplistic nutshell) is that an allergy can kill you, a sensitivity just makes you sick. Possibly really sick, but you aren't gonna die from it.

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Chocolate makes Jena really, really sick to her stomach. Sick isn't really the right word. It's painful. Heartburn remedies ease the discomfort, so I suspect it has something to do with acid reflux, but we don't know exactly. What we do know is that if she eats even a small amount of chocolate she is sick enough to be out of commission for several hours.

Now, I don't know if this woman's daughter had an allergy or a sensitivity. For the purposes of what I'm going to say, I don't think it matters either way.

Back to Jena and the chocolate. Believe me, we know what it's like when you're kid can't have the "cool food". When their friends at school bring only chocolate cupcakes to share for their birthday, and your kid can't have any. When the cafeteria decides that as a reward for good behavior during lunch, kids can have chocolate milk, so no matter how well behaved your child is, no matter how often she is well behaved during lunch, she will never get the reward. We know what it's like to have your kid be the only kid who can't have the "cool" treat. Trust me, we get it.

In fact, at this particular VBS, we have to pack Jena's snack three out of five days, because on three out of five days the snack they are serving involves chocolate (M&Ms, pudding, chocolate chip cookies).

Are we whining about it? Asking that they change the menu?

Nope.

The whining going in surrounding this issue is that my five year old is upset that because she's on the list of kids with food allergies, she has to ask the teacher every day for her snack, then the teacher checks the list to see if Jena can have the regular snack or has to eat her packed option. Jena's complaint is that she can regulate her diet herself and she shouldn't have to ask permission because she's responsible enough to monitor it herself.

SHE'S FIVE.

I don't know how old this woman's daughter is, but since five is the youngest class at this VBS, I can reasonably assume that she is Jena's age or older.

Now, I understand that some allergies are easier to monitor than others. It's easy for Jena to know whether or not something has chocolate in it. Whether or not something has, say, peanut oil, can be much more difficult to decipher. Which is why they have the rules. I get it.

But the fact is that at five years old Jena regularly monitors her diet herself. More than once over the past few years a teacher has forgotten and tried to give Jena a snack she couldn't have and Jena corrected them.

SHE'S FIVE.

Anyway, back to my points.

Should they change the menu to accommodate children with food allergies?

No.

First of all, this VBS has over 400 kids and workers participating. Trying to create a menu that will accommodate every single food allergy and sensitivity would be near impossible.

I surmise this is why they sent an email to all parents & workers the week prior giving us the menu for the week and advising us to pack a snack if our child was unable to eat the snack of the day.

Secondly, it will not get easier for your child if you shelter them from the reality of their condition their entire childhood, then when they get older suddenly spring it on them.

Is it easy now? No. But if your raise your child in an environment where they are aware of their condition, know / learn what they can & cannot eat, and begin dealing with the social issues of not being able to eat the "cool" foods now - well then they learn how to manage their condition, monitor their diet, and handle themselves in difficult social & peer pressure settings. If you shelter them from it when they are young, then at some predetermined age just spring on them, suddenly expecting them to handle it themselves, they are most likely going to be overwhelmed at the responsibility, resentful of the social implications, etc, etc etc.

It's part of life. And no, life isn't fair. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot make life "fair" for your kids. What you can do is give them the tools to handle the unfairness, however it presents itself.

So get over it. Teach your child to be responsible for themselves. Educate those around you about the dangers of food allergies. But for Pete's sake don't demand that the world bow to the needs of your one child so that you can continue to shelter them from reality.

Just my two cents. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's sad, really.

Back when I was in my late teens / early 20s I became aware of a class of women who I have been jealous of for years.

These women seemed to have the ability to absolutely control men. They had scores of men dying to date them, and whether they dated or not, it seemed if they asked something of a guy, any guy, they jumped to do her bidding. Most of them married early, having found their Prince Charming early on. Easy enough, I'm sure, with all the men falling at their feet.

As someone who didn't date until I was 19, and didn't marry until I was 30 - and not for lack of desire on my part - I envied these women. I wished I had that kind of hold on a man. I remember thinking that I wouldn't want to manipulate men the way they did, but that to have the ability to gain & keep the attention of scores of men, for a man to want to do things to please me, well, that would be nice.

So for years I envied them.

Now, in my mid-30s, I see things a little more clearly, because I've see who these women become.

I see that they are the woman who's onto her third husband... and isn't even 30 years old yet.

I see that they are the women relegating themselves to the role of adulteress, because it's the only way they know to get attention.

I see that they are the women posting graphic pictures of themselves online, desperate for comments or interaction from men, trying desperately to prove that they still have that kind of hold on a man.

I see that they are the divorcees and the widows who find themselves lost, unable to function in this world without a man making them the center of his world.

I see more clearly now, and instead of envying them, there's a part of me that pities them.

As difficult as it was sometimes being "late to marry", by being older, more settled into myself, I became confident in who I was as a woman, as a person. I know my own identity, and it isn't tied to a man. I lived as a single woman, and I know how to take care of myself. I have a good job, earn a good living.

In short, though I may want a man in my life, I don't need a man to survive or to be happy.

These women, unless they make a conscious effort to change, will never know what it's like to be a strong independent woman person. Their identity will always be tied to men, and they will never be able to have a happy, successful, fulfilling life without a man (or men) to give them attention.

It's sad, really.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Damn Phone

So the other day we ventured to the park, first time taking Jill, first time as a family of four.

At one point I was in the backseat of the car feeding Jill, Jena was playing on the playground, and Jason was watching Jena.

Or was supposed to be.

I watched as she yelled out "Watch this Daddy!", then jumped onto the monkey bars, her latest conquest.

She finished her trick, and turned back to him... to see him staring down at the phone. I saw the look of disappointment cross her face. I saw her hesitate for a minute, before moving along to the next piece of equipment.

source

And it broke my heart.

And I'm not telling you this to vilify my husband in any way.

Because the truth is I'm sure she's seen me do the same thing more than once. I'm sure that look of disappointment has crossed her face more than once because I was staring at my damn phone.

I'm telling you this because I know many of you are guilty of the same thing.

I've read the articles, seen the blog posts. But to see the look on my own daughter's face, to see how it affected her directly... well, it really makes it hit home a little more.

I know it's extra hard for Jena right now, as she's also adjusting to sharing our attention with another child for the first time in five years. So once I finished feeding Jill, I took her out of the car, handed her to Jason, and spent a few minutes following Jena around the playground, asking her to pose for pictures that I took, making her the center of my universe for the first time in way-too-long.

And I watched her entire demeanor change... for the better.

And so I challenge my blog readers to do the same: at your next possible chance, spend 10-15 minutes giving your child your undivided attention. Let me know if there's a noticeable change in their attitude. There was with mine.

As always, thanks for checking in.
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