Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Why I Won’t be Buying a Toyota Highlander - or Van de Kamp’s Fish Sticks

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Please do me a favor and watch these two ads, then read the post, below. I really want your opinion on this…

I’ve owned two Toyotas in my life. I don’t have anything against Toyotas. But I won’t be buying any car that is advertised with a bratty kid looking up from his video game and saying “I don’t tolerate dorkiness very well. Yet my parents cart me around in a car that says ‘Hi, we’re the geek family.’” The tag line spoken by the kid at the end: “Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean you have to be lame.”

Oh, and the young man is walking around pontificating while his hard-working (but apparently lame) dad is working away in the driveway, washing the “dorky” family car.

I know it’s just an ad. But as a parent, I’m wondering… Does Toyota think I’m so worried that my kid won’t think I’m cool that I’ll buy a vehicle because our dear little children “don’t tolerate dorkiness very well”? Give me a break.

Somebody needs to tell Toyota and its ad agency to give the Little Prince a bit less video-game time and to introduce him to a bucket of water and a sponge.

Then there’s the ad for Van de Kamp’s fish sticks. The adorable-looking little girl says to her mother, who just served her fish sticks: “What is this, minced? You feed me minced? You ever catch a minced fish?” After Mom switches to another brand, the little cherub says “This is more like it.”

What scares me the most? The fact that Toyota and Van de Kamp are probably having success with these ad campaigns — which says something about the current state of parenthood. Me? I’ll buy my cars and my fish elsewhere. What do you think of these ads?

Guest Post: Thanks, But My Tween Will Pass on the Hooker Heels and Makeup

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Today’s guest blogger, Jennifer Smith, is mom to a tween girl and a teen boy. She’s a proponent of university-model schools (I want to ask her to blog about that, too!), a world traveler and a freelance writer and editor. Thanks for your post, Jennifer.

Whose job is it to help my 12-year-old daughter make important wardrobe choices? Everyone is eager to help. The malls are selling grown-up mystique to 12-year-olds faster than I can say, “How about a cute t-shirt under

Magazines and television ads and shows are “helping,” suggesting our kids can be tomorrow’s big pop stars if they dress and move a certain way. And many of the other girls are pressuring those who dress less “cool” to
dress older.

One day recently, I heard a young fashionista ask another tween girl, “Where did you get that shirt?” After the reply that the girl bought the shirt at a nearby children’s store, the fashionista rasped back saucily, “Oh, I thought so.” Sounds harmless enough to a parent, but for a fragile tween, that’s enough to make her want to burn everything in her closet!

Maybe a better question than whose job it is to help my daughter (i.e., market tween fashion to her) is, “Who is going to help my daughter make wise decisions about the way she dresses?” My answer? Her mom. No one else is going to help her navigate these decisions as honestly and carefully as I will. Not her friends, not the other tweens out there wearing full
makeup, hooker heels and skirts cut up to “there,” and certainly not the media.

No one else is going to be honest with her about the pitfalls of dressing too old too soon. With all the messaging encouraging girls to grow up fast, I want my daughter to have time and freedom to enjoy being a girl, playing sports and acting goofy with her friends.

That doesn’t mean she has to dress frumpy; I just don’t want her to dress “sexy,” for crying out loud! There’s plenty of time to grow up, but once those child years are lost, they can
never be regained.

Let’s be parents and take back our right to say “no” to anything that steals the innocence of our girls, including their wardrobe choices. Our “no” to growing up too fast and dressing too maturely is just a “yes” to so many other good things our kids need to be doing right now.

All Sexed Up For 8th Grade Graduation?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Last night we attended our son’s promotion from middle school. It was a wonderful evening, and we loved seeing so many kids that we’ve known for years — some since they were in diapers.

With 380+ kids in the 8th grade class, we saw a little bit of everything when it came to fashion. And let me be very clear, given what I’m about to say: The vast majority of kids followed the dress code that was distributed to parents on three different occasions.

But — and I’m not exaggerating here — about 10 percent of the girls looked like Vegas hookers, complete with stripper heels. We’re talking skin-tight dresses (with spandex to make them even more revealing), some strapless, at a length that barely covered their assets.

What are these parents thinking? Have they abdicated all authority over what their children do? Are they afraid to say no? Are some of the moms so hell-bent on having a daughter who’s part of the in crowd that they allow (or even encourage) her to dress like she’s about to slither around a pole at a sleazy bar?

These girls are FOURTEEN.

I don’t get it.

And another thing: As the mom of a 14-year-old boy, I’m working hard to teach my son to respect girls. It would be a whole lot easier to do that if some of these girls had a bit more respect for themselves.

Talk back: What do you think? Am I out of line here? What are you seeing in your community? And if you’re a parent who thinks this kind of dressing for an 8th grader is fine and dandy, would you please tell us why?

So You HAVE to Yack or Text While Driving? Give Me a Break

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Rant alert! A friend just got rear-ended, this morning, by a guy who was looking down constantly in stop-and-go traffic. She’s pretty sure he was texting.

How can we stop people from doing this stupid thing? What is it going to take?

Actually, I would be totally OK with no cell use at all while driving. (And yes, I know a lot of people disagree with me.) I’ve seen so many drivers involved in heated, excited, animated conversations while on hands-free phones. It’s just not worth the risk. We’ve all heard the stats from AAA and NHTSA about hands-free yacking not being any safer than holding a cell while driving.

It’s not only where your hands are. It’s where your BRAIN is.

The person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know when you’re in a tricky driving situation that requires your full concentration. Someone sitting in the car and talking with you sees the situation and gets it. When my son, Matt, is driving with me, he knows that the time to ask me a question isn’t when I’m trying to merge onto the freeway.

Emergencies? No problem. Use the phone. But yacking with your girlfriend about what she got at Target while you drive to school to pick up the kids? Give me a break. It’s dangerous and it’s just not necessary.

I’ve been trying to not be the person on the other end of the phone when someone is on a cell while driving, too. I’ll admit I haven’t always asked to talk at another time when this happens. I do it sometimes. But not always. But I’m going to do it all the time now. Otherwise I’m being pretty two-faced about this.

I don’t want to be the person you’re talking to when you get in a wreck. I don’t want to be the person your child is talking to when she rolls the family SUV.

We set examples for our kids with everything we do. And we made a family commitment about this. Randy and I never talk on a cell, or text, while driving. (And we’ve managed to lead a pretty normal, happy life while not partaking in this part of the current driving culture, by the way.) Matt has gone thousands of miles with us in the car and has never seen us do it. He’s seen us pull over to make a call. Or ask him to answer a call while in the passenger seat. Or check messages when we get to our destination. But we don’t call and drive.

So when we tell him not to text or talk on his cell when he starts driving (soon - gulp), those won’t be empty words coming from mom and dad.

My Guest Post on Mocha Dad: Forget Snakes on a Plane… What About All This Rudeness?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Thanks to Fred Goodall over at Mocha Dad for inviting me to write a guest post on his “Mocha Dads and Moms” feature. He asks moms to guest post and then he weighs in. Good stuff.

Let’s just say I thought I had witnessed rude behavior by kids on a plane (with inattentive parents who couldn’t have cared less). But Fred’s experience tops mine. Check it out and weigh in!

Who’s In Charge Here?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Top and bottom retainers

I was talking with a friend who works in an orthodontist’s office recently, and the subject of retainers came up. I mentioned that Matt, my son, will get nagged to wear his retainers, which we picked up today. And then I said “but you probably hear that from all the parents, right?”

“You’d be surprised,” she said, and she went on to describe moms who say things like “Well, I can’t make her wear it. It’s her mouth.”

(Insert screeching-tire sound here.)

Wait a minute. Who’s the mom? Who’s the kid? Who is paying for those braces, that roof over the kid’s head, etc.? Who is supposed to be the mature adult who knows more and who is in charge of making good decisions for the sake of this kid’s health and future?

Do I sound a little fed up? Good.

I see so much of this in my community, and I can only assume that the “kids-in-charge” trend is spreading across the land:

“My kid will only eat fast food.”

“My three kids like three different things, so I have to make three different meals at dinner.”

“My kid won’t go to bed on time. I explain to her that she needs sleep, but she just won’t.”


Your kid has enough friends. He doesn’t need you to be his buddy — despite how much you don’t want him to be mad at you for acting like a parent. He doesn’t need you to never frustrate him. To tip-toe around and make three dinners every night and pay the ortho bill while that retainer sits on the bathroom counter.

He needs a parent. Be one. He’ll fuss and fight and complain. But secretly? He’ll be glad that you care enough to be the adult, the person who helps set him on the right path in life.

And when he looks in the mirror when he’s 25? He might even see straight teeth.