We do it big around these parts on Friday nights. As you can tell from my tweets. . .
Really, what is best to teach our children?
When I look back upon what I was taught in school. Yes, way back then. [Okay people, I graduated in 2002. It's not that long ago] I realize that there wasn't a lot of emphasis placed on sex at all. It was just something that really wasn't talked about, unless it was among friends during a football game or in the girl's locker room during a 'smoke break.' Although I took a Health course, I can't remember much at all being taught along the lines of abstinence or safe sex.
According to the website 4parents.gov, one in three teenage girls will become pregnant. ONE in THREE. Obviously, as a country, we have a problem. The real question is how do we, as a country, find a solution? Does the answer lie in teaching our children to abstain from sex? Or should we take a more liberal approach and teach them the safest way possible to have sex? Also, who should be teaching our children these things? Is it the school's responsibility or our's as the parents?
A recent study published by The New York Times took a group of 662 middle school aged students (all of which were African American) and split them into four different groups, each of which was to attend an eight hour program. Group 1 was taught from the abstinence-only standpoint. Group 2 was taught about safe sex and the use of condoms. Group 3 was taught both views, and the program for group 4 was merely a health course unrelated to sex (a control group).
So, yeah. The results were a bit shocking to me, as I would have thought that group 2 (the one engaged not only in abstinence teachings but those of safe sex) would have fared better. In reality the group that was taught abstinence only had a much higher success rate two years down the line. That is, higher than that of the control group, which was the group it was measured against in this article.
What does this prove? That we should only teach our children NOT to have sex, and not what to do in case they are having sex? Because, really.. what the children are learning in this case is completely opposite of what they are living. Even though their teachers are telling them NO SEX, their friends are telling them how wonderful it is.
In any school in any city in any state ANYWHERE there will be teens that have sex, and those that don't. Which is why I believe it is important to teach strongly on abstinence, but to also let them know what they need to do (in terms of protection) in case they are doing it.
The next question for us to answer is who should be teaching our children? Should we place the burden on the school system or should the parents take the responsibility? In my home, sex was hush hush. Don't ask, don't tell. I'm not sure why, being as how now I could call my mother and tell her about the newest vibrator I bought to add to my collection.
In my opinion, though, I feel that the main responsibility is on the parents. We should be the ones to teach our children the "right and wrongs" of life. The burden should be placed on us for their learning values and morals. Schools should simply be there to reinforce this information.
When a school system doesn't teach what we believe they should teach in terms of sex education we get pissed. We rant and rave and go on, but really, they aren't the responsible party. It is our job to teach our children. With two sons, I will be the one who does this. I will teach my sons that sex is saved for marriage. I will teach them about what a wonderful experience sex is between to loving people that are married to each other, but I will also teach them that sometimes things happen. Sometimes we don't always do what is right and good, and in those circumstances they need to learn how to at least do it safely.
And then.. I will feel like a hypocrite, because I am not married. I was pregnant at the age of 19. I was nothing like the ways I want them to grow up and be. But, isn't that how it is as parents? You always want what is good for your children and you always want them to be better than what you are/were. Isn't that what parenting is about?
So, I'm curious. What are your views on the Safe Sex vs. Abstinence war? Whose side are you on? Also, will you (as a parent or future parent) take on most of the sex education yourself or will you leave it up to the school?
As many of you may know, because I'm sure I've told mostly everyone by now, I'm pregnant again. Yes, that's right. Another human being is being grown inside my body for me to protect and care for for the rest of my days. God has blessed me with another life to charish and guide until the end of my life or either his 18th birthday, whichever comes first.
WHAT IS HE THINKING? I don't know. I'm wondering the same thing. Now not only will I have one really loud overbearing and clingy 5year old, but I will also have a screaming, pooping newborn too. Amazing. Can I really handle all of this? Who knows. I guess all I can do now is give it a shot, and try not to send my newborn off to preschool while feeding my 5 year old out of a nipple.
I have made one triumphant decision during my time of motherly crisis, however.
I want to blog again.
Or, as I should probably be saying, I want to learn how to blog again. I've lost my mojo. Completely. So, I'm going to try to start all over. I need classes. A mentor. Something.
I've cleared my google reader.
I've stretched my typing fingers/toes.
I'm heading out on this journey all over again.
Don't worry, you'll be there to witness every brutal moment of it.
We are outside. I am smoking, and having my morning coffee (and twitter), and we're waiting on the 'moving guy' to come and take us away.
I'm actually not a nervous wreck yet though (even though I did just try to light my cigarette with my cup of coffee), but I'm sure I will be by the end of the day. (Good thing that make meds for that, huh..) My dear sweet mama has practically put everything together for me. She even went this morning and bought me a microwave, a coffee maker, and (wait for it. wait for it.) COFFEE! She knows how I am without my coffee.
I'm starting out with a little bit of nothing, but isn't that how everyone starts? I can build myself up from here. This is a new beginning for us, and I'm pretty dang excited.
Please excuse me while I go dig my pill bottle out of my purse,
(This post was inspired by Catherine @ Her Bad Mother and all of the rumors floating around about Kate Gosselin's "child abuse".
I grew up in the south in a family that didn't mind to spank. I remember running laps around the dining room table trying to escape the grasp of my mother. I really did. I remember the spankings, and I remember that most of them were only enough to let me know that I had been spanked. I don't remember any really hard spanking, and none of them stick out in my head as being any worse than the others.
Spanking was a part of my childhood. If I didn't follow the rules, and if I didn't mind my mother and grandparents (mostly grandfather) then I got a few swift taps on the hiney. I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm not talking about all out beating your children folks, so let's not take this the wrong way. I'm talking about spanking. It has been around for many many generations, and probably for longer than history can record. It is a way of disciplining children. It works.
No, you don't smack them in the face. (I know how badly you want to sometimes..)
You don't beat them until they are black and blue.
When I say spanking I mean a couple swift taps to the buttocks or upper thigh. Does this sound cruel to you? Oh well, I guess that just means we're different, and that's okay, too.
I have seen some parents who all but beat their child(ren) in public. This doesn't seem very effective to me, and I do think that in cases such as this that the proper authorities should be alerted.
It is more effective for me to use the "If you don't straighten up, then you're getting a spanking when we get home" technique. This usually always brings out proper behavior, and there have been very few times when I've had to follow up on this statement.
I will go ahead and tell you that my 4 year old has been spanked maybe 3 times in his life, and all three of those times it has been by me. I have tried other methods. I have tried time outs, and discussions, and taking away privileges, but nothing is as efficient as a good old fashioned spanking. (Keep in mind, nothing too harsh..)
At the age of four he has started behaving worse than ever, which leaves me thinking that maybe the spanking should have started a little bit sooner.
I do know that our parenting styles reflect alot of how we were parented, and all of that varies tremendously from family to family. Just because one family disciplines by spanking and one disciplines by time outs, that doesn't mean that the former is abusive. There is a line that has to be crossed before it is considered abuse in my book.
As parents we are all different, but I think we could at least agree to disagree.
This is a day in my life. The life of a single mother.
I wake up at 7 or 8am with a very active 4 year old. Not the kind of 4 year old who is sleepy and snugly for 20 or 30 minutes after waking up, but the kind who from the moment his eyes pop open is hell on wheels, literally. I spend the first 9 or so hours of my day
screaming at him politely telling him no, and trying to stuff healthy foods down his throat. I have also been scurrying about during these hours trying to get some productive things done. You know, such as moving out my ridiculously insane mother's house.
I had found us a nice apartment. Nothing special, just something that will do for now for myself and the kid. Something affordable, which is hard to find when you make minimum wage in Kentucky.
Anyway, around 1pm I usually start getting ready for work. Normally I don't have to be at work until 3pm, but I always start getting ready really early due to the fact that my pampering is usually interrupted by screams of "Mommy, will you get me more fruit punch?" or "Mommy, I had an accident!" The latter usually sucking at least 15 minutes from my "getting ready time."
Then, I am off to work for the next 9 hours.
This is what happened on Tuesday, June 16th as well, only it ended a bit differently.
I have lived through my first two weeks of having a job. It wasn't easy, and it's something I don't want to have to do for the rest of my life, but I have lived. Why do you have that look of surprise on your face? Well, thanks for your concern, but I'm doing just fine. We have amazing soft serve, and that makes it all worthwhile.
After spending the weekend telling my child not to touch anything, to quit hitting, and that his actions may just force mama to open up a can of whoop ass I have realized
that he must have been abducted by aliens what a bad little boy my dear baby is turning into. Thank God he never hit (no pun intended) the terrible twos, because his behavior at the age of 4.5 makes up for every bit of it. I'm not sure what to do. Don't get me wrong, 80% of the time he is still a very well behaved little boy, but there is a 20% there that is almost too terrible for words.
When I was 20 years old and pregnant with my first child (and only one so far) I was told that I didn't deserve a baby shower, and that what I had done to get pregnant in no way deserved a celebration. It is true that I was young and unwed, and in a two year relationship with a boy that I probably should have never even met, but words like that are hard to hear for a scared young girl, especially coming from her mother.
It was for reasons such as those, among others, that I waited until I was almost 7 months pregnant to tell my mom, even though I lived with her during that time. During the second to last trimester of my pregnancy it was fall and winter, and I was able to wear big thick sweat-shirts in order to hide my tummy. I also spent most days trying to avoid my mother at all costs. The whole time my boyfriend's family said, "I can't believe your mom doesn't know," but she didn't, and I focused my entire being on keeping it that way. At what was supposed to be one of (if not the) most important times in my life I was busy hiding in my bedroom, bawling my eyes out, and working long hours to save money to move out, because I knew I would have to when I told my mom the news. Every fiber in my being and all the energy I had was put forth to keep my 'tragic' secret.
Then the day came. I have never felt such humiliation as when I told my mother I was pregnant. I believe the first word out of her mouth after me divulging my secret to her was "abortion." After I told her no that I wasn't doing that, and that it was too late anyway rage filled her veins and I was called anything from a slut to a whore, and the phrase that still hurts the most and makes me sick as it plays over in my head is, "you're just (insert boy's name here)'s little slut aren't you? That's all you are." These words scarred my heart, and still play over and over to this day. My beautiful son was then referred to as a "n*gger bastard," because his father's mother was African American, and I was told he would be an outcast to the entire family. Why would I want to do this to a child? Why why why? I can't repeat everything that was said, but you get the jist of it.
Needless to say, my family never gave me a baby shower, and actually I spent the last couple of months of my pregnancy hiding myself from society (at my mother's
wishes demands). When shopping she would suggest that I go to the next town north so that no one I knew would see me. She wouldn't tell anyone that we knew. She didn't even tell the family.
While thinking about this period of my life, my heart swells with pain, and I'm wiping the tears from my face. I ache and yearn to have those 9 months back. I yearn to sit and rub my tummy and talk to my unborn child and play music for him, and I yearn to have protected him and myself from all those horrible words and that hell-on-earth that we lived in. It would mean so much to be able to enjoy the most important 9 months of my life as a woman rather than feel the humiliation and shame that was forced upon me.
One thing I remember very clearly is logging onto babycenter.com, and talking about my pregnancy in the forums. Every time mom would come near I would quickly shut down my browser for fear that she would look at me and see the bit of excitement twinkling in my eyes. That was not allowed, and would have only been shot down with a reminder that my "situation" was nothing to be proud of or excited about. I had heard this so much and it was beat into my head so hard that 75% of me believed it too by this point.
If I could go back I would do things differently. I would walk around proudly in public, without taking my mother's advice (or directions should I say) to not go into public in our town. I would buy beautiful maternity shirts instead of wearing over-sized sweats, and I would show off my bulging tummy rather than trying to suck it in and slouch over to hide it. I would enjoy my pregnancy and the changing of my body rather than being shameful. I would put together a beautiful nursery instead of throwing together the second hand things given to me at the last minute by my family who she didn't approve of my telling until around 2wks before my son's birth. Looking back I know that all of this was completely wrong, but who else did I have but my mother? Who does a young girl turn to in times like these? Her mother. So I acted on all of her suggestions, regardless of my better judgement.
Now, almost five years later, I know what it means to be a mother. Motherhood is not about marriage, although marriage is a beautiful thing. I've learned in my years as a single mother that marriage does not equal motherhood and motherhood doesn't equal marriage. Motherhood is about strength, endurance, soft smiles during 4am feedings, sweet kisses after bath time, reading Dr. Seuss over and over and over again. It's about time outs, and baseball games, and being "the meanest mommy in the world" every now and then. It's about hugs, and laughter, and chocolate covered faces. And, did I mention Dr. Seuss? That is a lesson that I wished I had learned 5 years ago. Another thing I wish I had known back then is that motherhood, in any form, deserves a celebration.
Happy Mother's Day!
Yesterday I was extremely sick. I had taken the kid to the doctor for his poor tummy that had kept us both awake for four nights, and I was freaking out because I thought I was going to have to excuse myself to the restroom* to puke while the doc was in there examining my child. What kind of mother would I have looked like if I would've left my 4 year old in there alone with his doc to tell him about his 'symptoms' all by himself?
Basically the doc told me that he's faking it! I had no clue that a 4 year old's mind is capable of concocting a scheme so grand that it not only kept him out of school for a day, but also kept us both awake for 4 nights! Amazing. I don't think I learned that until I was at least 10. Is he now going to be sneaking out of his bedroom window at the age of 6? I'm beginning to wonder. Needless to say, after the doc told him he was okay yesterday, he slept like a baby last night - instead if sitting up all night crying like one. I'm guessing that my 'sickness' yesterday must have came from lack of sleep, because after getting a good night's sleep last night I woke up fine and dandy this morning.
I'm grinning from ear to ear right now as I have been since waking up. You wanna know why? Sure you do. It's because I know all of those telemarketers and collection agencies and credit card companies are calling my cell right as we speak only to find out that I've changed my number! I thought it cost like $20 or so to change a cell number with AT&T, but obviously it doesn't, because Pup was able to do it for me last night, and now I only have to give my new number to the people that I want to call me, and that list will be very short my friends, let me tell ya. I even considered not giving the new number to my mom, but being as how we're living in the same house right now that could cause a teensy problem. As of right now only 2 people have this number, and it's been a lovely quiet morning.
I'm exited to announce that I get to do a review for someone who can actually put together a proper sentence! Author Rebbie Macintyre is mailing me an ARC copy of her book Cast the First Stone. If you know me at all then you know how much I like to read, and you will understand my excitement. Ms. Macintyre also has another book due out in Feb. '10 called A Corner of Universe. The plot line for this work goes something like this:
With hopes of saving her floundering marriage, Chicago physician's wife Zoe Sterling welcomes her adult stepson into her home on Universe Street, but her well-meaning intentions ignite events that jeopardize everything she holds dear--including the life of her unborn child.
She's also asked that maybe I possibly review that one for her, also. Oh yes I will. I can't wait. Check back soon, dear readers, for my review of Cast the First Stone, as it should be on it's way to me right now via postal mail.