Written on February 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm , by jtaylor
By now most of America has seen the infamous recent television appearance by Kate Gosselin with her twins on NBC’s The Today Show. It started off promisingly enough, with the 13-year-old twins clamoring to talk about “how normal their lives are.” Compelling stuff! What transpired was both shocking and sad. The twins were painfully silent on live television, creating the dreaded dead air. After glares and a curt “Use your words!” from Kate in response to their silence, one of the twins uttered a few sentences. Whew!
The resulting debate centered upon Kate’s fitness as a parent, conjured up memories of Mommy Dearest, questioned the twins’ sanity (they’re fine), and suggested that their performance was meant to get back at their mother. What an intriguing concept. Are teens that smart and deceptive?
Teens certainly know how to push mom’s buttons. Television and radio personality Wendy Williams recently burst into tears when talking about her 13-year-old son, who “doesn’t like me anymore.” She didn’t get the memo: No crying when raising a 13-year-old. Really? Of course not.
The reality is that 13-year-olds will try you to make you question your own sanity. They alter their personalities and responses to situations in the blink of an eye. The same cuddly child giving you hugs and saying, “I love you, Mom,” can give you a look and spew words that make you search for the 666 that must be somewhere on her forehead.
Thirteen. Hormones are raging, friends are confusing, parents are annoying and life can feel full of pressure and confusion. The good life…
Instead of labeling them as crazy or mean, we need to just hang with them and show them love. We must parent with limits and consequences in spite of how they push back. Remember when you were 13 and how easily you communicated with your parents? Yeah, right.
If you need proof that teens come around, fast-forward to the Gosselin segment on The View a few days later after their initial debacle. The girls were pleasant, relaxed and laughing. It was good to see, as it was further proof that if you wait long enough, the kids have a way of letting you know that they’re all right.
Has your teen ever tried your patience in public? Post a comment below and tell us what happened.
Got a question for Dr. Janet? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written on January 29, 2014 at 6:04 pm , by Christina Tynan-Wood
My daughter is a bit of a shutterbug. When she was 8, she would grab my big, fancy (and expensive!) DSLR camera away from me and run around taking pictures with it. Despite her tendency to cover furniture and walls with sticky fingers and crayon mess at that age, she was very careful with that piece of equipment. She was also quiet and uncharacteristically focused when taking pictures. So I let her. And on her 10th birthday, I gave her that camera. In the five years since, she has surpassed my photography skills and knowledge by miles. In fact, she has surpassed the skills of most casual photographers. We frequently frame prints of her shots and hang them on the wall. She includes photography in every imagining of her future she comes up with. My husband, who disputed my insane decision to give a messy 10-year-old a $500 camera, now tips his hat at my ability to recognize passion in one so young.
I thought that camera would last her a lifetime. But the functionality of cameras has evolved. These days cameras can connect to the Internet so you can post pics directly to Facebook or Instagram the minute you take them. She wants one of those. Of course, she can take photos with her cell phone to post. But for someone who has learned to take great pictures with a real camera, that’s just not the same.
I’ve looked at some very tempting connected cameras lately. Some have onboard Wi-Fi and others are so connected that they blur the line between camera and smartphone. For example, when I was at CES I looked at the newest version of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, a very-high-end mirrorless camera that, like a smartphone, runs the Android operating system. (I liked the previous version enough to put it in the holiday gadget guide.) Many of Sony’s wonderful interchangeable-lens NEX cameras are Wi-Fi-enabled so you can shoot awesome photos and post them directly to Instagram, Google+ or the online photo storage and sharing space of your choice. Not all of these camera are terribly expensive, considering their high-end features and interchangeable lenses for professional results. But I’ve already given my daughter a camera. And she loves that camera and knows all its quirks and features.
So instead of springing for a new camera, I gave her a connected memory card for the one she already has. The Eye-Fi Mobi ($50 for an 8 GB card) will send photos from her camera—almost as fast as she can shoot—to her smartphone or tablet as long as both are connected to Wi-Fi. From there, she can tell her phone where to post the shot, how to back it up, or what to say about each shot as she posts it to Facebook or Instagram.
Some manufacturers engineer their cameras to work seamlessly with the Eye-Fi in order to bill them as connected. But the camera you already own and adore might be compatible with the Eye-Fi too. There’s a full list of cameras that work with the Eye-Fi Mobi card here.
Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com.
Written on January 28, 2014 at 8:00 am , by Family Circle
The ever-amusing Ana Gasteyer, who plays Suburgatory’s resident PTA mom, Sheila Shay, is serious when it comes to keeping her household running smoothly. The mom of two shares how her family spends quality time together—it doesn’t include sitting around the dinner table.
By Ana Gasteyer
So there have been a million studies that say your children will be perfect violin-playing, early-acceptance-to-Harvard types if only you get your whole family to sit down and have dinner together every night. But let’s face it—this just doesn’t work for every family, and I’m pretty sure there have been wonderful people whose moms never followed this tradition, and some degenerate criminals who learned to say “Please pass the peas” at three and half years old.
Here are my top reasons why it’s okay to give up on family dinners.
1. No more battling over the menu. My husband is a carnivore, my daughter’s a vegetarian and my son is kind of a nothing-atarian. The poor kid is allergic to dairy, and getting him to eat anything is a challenge. Dragging him to the table so everyone can stare at each other, eating food they don’t want to eat—it’s not my idea of quality family time. I’d rather have everyone happy.
2. Everyone can eat when they’re hungry. When 5:30 hits, my kids are starving because they basically just got home from school. It’s a documented fact that they eat better, sleep better and are at least 200% less crabby when they don’t have to wait for Dad to get home from work. Plus, I don’t necessarily want to eat at early-bird-special hours either.
3. You don’t have to eat together to spend dinner together. I’m not suggesting that you plant your kids in front of the TV (unless you happen to have dinner on a Wednesday evening at 8:30, in which case, Suburgatory makes a great family dinner tradition). My kids eat so early that I still have plenty of energy. I use that time to hang out with them and make their lunches for the next day.
4. It gives you a chance to have more grown-up time. Because of our different work schedules, by the time my husband gets home, our kids have already eaten. They’re happy. Their bellies are full. And that gives me a nice window of time to have an adult evening and enjoy grown-up food with my husband. We both do Weight Watchers and love to cook delicious food, so we’ll experiment with ingredients, but I’ll always be a fan of a good go-to cookbook. One of my new favorites is What to Cook Now from Weight Watchers. We love the chicken pot pies with cornbread crust or the lemon-yogurt tart because they taste amazing and I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.
5. You can focus your energy on family bonding that everyone enjoys. What I’ve realized is that parenting is like one of those weird mathematical equations, so you adjust until you find what works. We don’t have family dinners, but we walk to school together every single day, and we have a regular night that we go out for dinner. The best days in my life are when we get away, unplug and live a very simple, card-and-bingo-playing life together—while all eating totally different foods.
Read more of Anna’s amusing parenting anecdotes on Familycircle.com.
Written on January 27, 2014 at 11:11 am , by Family Circle
By Emeril Lagasse
I love hosting a big party for the Super Bowl. There’s nothing better than watching the game with family, friends and delicious food. Often I’m asked for tips when entertaining and my advice is always the same⎯serve something that is simple and great-tasting and, most important, can be prepped ahead of time. Choosing dishes I can tackle in advance is key to enjoying time with my guests and watching the game.
With the big game coming up, I’ve put together a couple of recipes that utilize a great tool for saving time in the kitchen: the pressure cooker.
Chili is always a crowd favorite. My Navy Bean & Chicken Chili is a take on what some folks might call a “white” chili⎯made without red meat and sometimes with beans. In my version, I add chicken breast and one of my favorite beans, the classic navy bean. I then flavor it with my favorite green chiles, a touch of regular chili powder and, of course, cumin. This chili cooks up so quickly you won’t believe it.
For folks looking for a little more meat, I also like to serve a classic combo: Pulled Pork and Coleslaw. People loved pulled pork but can be intimidated by how long it can take to cook. With the pressure cooker, though, you can get it on the table in about a third the time it takes to cook in a conventional oven. Talk about a time-saver.
Navy Beans and Chicken Chili
This chili takes its personality from navy beans, a variety of green chiles and tender chicken breasts that are cooked just to the point of doneness, then shredded and stirred back in near the end of cooking. The result: a chili that stands out from the pack with moist, flavorful pieces of chicken in every bite.
• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
• 3½ teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons chili powder
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 onions, minced (3 cups)
• 3 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (1½ cups)
• 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
• ½ large bunch or 1 small bunch cilantro, stems and leaves reserved separately, finely chopped
• 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, stem removed, minced
• ¼ cup minced garlic (8 to 10 cloves)
• 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or regular oregano, crushed with your fingers
• 1 pound navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
• 5½ cups chicken stock
• One 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, with juices
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornmeal
• Sour cream, for serving
• Lime wedges, for serving
• Minced red onion, for serving
• Finely minced jalapeños, for serving
• Grated Monterey Jack-cheddar cheese blend, for serving
Season chicken with 1½ teaspoons of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the chili powder.
Set a pressure cooker to the “browning” program and heat olive oil. When oil is hot, add chicken breasts (in batches if necessary) and cook until they are golden on both sides and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, tent with foil or plastic wrap and set aside.
Add onion, poblano and serrano chiles, cilantro stems, chipotle chile, garlic, oregano, remaining 2½ teaspoons cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder to pressure cooker. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add beans, chicken stock and canned chiles. Close and lock the lid and set to HIGH for 15 minutes. While beans are cooking, shred cooled chicken into bite-size pieces and set it aside.
Open the pressure release valve and allow steam to escape. Unlock and carefully open lid. Add remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the cornmeal, and stir to combine. Close and lock lid, and reset pressure cooker to HIGH for 8 minutes. Release pressure, unlock and carefully open lid. Beans should be tender; if they’re not, continue to cook under pressure for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Set pressure cooker to the “simmer” program. Stir in chicken and cook, uncovered, until chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes.
Serve chili in bowls, garnished with sour cream, lime wedges, minced onion, minced jalapeños, grated cheese and cilantro leaves.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 9 cups)
Pulled Pork With Classic Coleslaw
Pulled pork is a sure crowd-pleaser, especially when you pair it with southwestern spices and cool, creamy coleslaw. Serve this dish at your next football party or tailgate and you’ll have more fans than you know what to do with. The pork is coated with an intensely flavored rub, then refrigerated overnight before cooking. The results? Oh, baby.
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1½ tablespoons pimentón picante (hot smoked Spanish paprika)
• 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
• 2 teaspoons hot Mexican-style chili powder or regular chili powder (New Mexican is spicier)
• 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or regular oregano
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• One 5-pound bone-in pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
• 1 yellow onion, minced
• 4 cloves garlic, sliced
• 4 cups homemade chicken stock or packaged low-sodium chicken broth
• ½ cup buttermilk
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• ½ teaspoon celery seeds
• 1½ teaspoons salt
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
• 1 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
• 2 carrots, thinly sliced on a mandolin or shaved with a vegetable peeler
• 1 head butter lettuce
• Tortilla chips, broken into bite-size pieces
• Lime wedges
Marinate the pork: In a large bowl, combine sugar, pimentón, ancho chile powder, hot chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and black pepper and mix well. Place pork in bowl and toss with spice mix, coating all sides of pork. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Let pork to come to room temperature before cooking. Season pork with salt.
Set a pressure cooker to the “browning” program and add grapeseed oil. When oil is hot, brown pork, working in batches, about 5 minutes per batch. As it is browned, transfer pork to a baking sheet and set it aside. Add onion and garlic to pressure cooker and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Return pork to pressure cooker and add chicken stock. Close and lock lid and set to HIGH for 60 minutes.
Open the pressure release valve and allow steam to escape. Unlock and carefully open lid. Pork should be fork-tender; if not, cook it under pressure for another 10 minutes. Once it is done, transfer pork to a platter and allow it to rest until it is cool enough to handle.
Shred pork with two forks and return it to broth. Pork can be served at this point or frozen for up to three months.
Prepare coleslaw by combining buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, celery seeds, salt and cayenne pepper in a large bowl and mixing well. Add cabbage and carrots and toss well. Set aside for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Salad can be made up to several hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve.
To serve pork, separate butter lettuce leaves and place them on a platter. Top leaves with warm pulled pork, place some of the coleslaw on top of pork, and top with tortilla chips. Serve with lime wedges.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Recipes courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, originally appearing in Emeril’s Cooking with Power, William Morrow Publishers, New York, 2013, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
For more of Emeril’s cooking tips, tune in to QVC for the “Emeril’s Kitchen” broadcast Sunday, February 19 beginning at midnight (ET)
Written on January 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm , by Paula Chin
Oops. He did it again. Justin Bieber was just busted for drunk driving and drag racing at 4 a.m. after leaving a Miami Beach strip club (where he allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars!). He didn’t take it well. Resisting attempts to pat him down, he shouted, “I ain’t got no f—ing weapons. Why do you have to search me? What the f— is this about?” and “What the f— are you doing?”
All of it, of course, captured on cell phones and posted online—from videos of his arrest to his mug shot (he’s smiling!). It’s just the latest instance of the once-sweet teenybopper breaking bad (sneaking out of a Brazilian brothel, illegally spray painting a hotel wall, urinating into a mop bucket while yelling “F— Bill Clinton” and desecrating a photo of the former president). Age-old tragedy of a child star growing up and going off the rails? Or, as cynics say, an orchestrated train wreck to turn him into a sexy, dangerous but very adult superstar? It makes for great headlines, snares lots of eyeballs, but frankly, I don’t care. My 12-year-old daughter could care less. Do you? Does anyone?
How would you handle this behavior if it was your teen?
Written on January 23, 2014 at 10:00 am , by Rosalind Wiseman
Do you have to be buddy-buddy with the parents of your kid’s friends? Chances are that at some point you’ll come across a mom or dad you’d rather not pass time with or who just doesn’t fit into your schedule. Our parenting expert, Rosalind Wiseman, recently got a letter from a woman struggling with just this dilemma. Here’s what happened, why it may be a personal red flag for you, and—no matter what your true desires—how you can handle the situation with grace.
I have two boys, 10 and 14. Neither gets invited over to friends’ houses but friends do come over to our house. My sons think I should be friends with the other boys’ mothers. I don’t think so. I think being friends with those women isn’t good because these friendships are with his friends. What do you think?
Let’s take a moment to appreciate that your boys see you as more than the person in their life who does things for them or enforces rules they don’t like. They, at a pretty young age, know that friendships are important for everyone, including you. The question is, why do they feel this way? Are they worried you don’t have a support system? Do they think you’re lonely? Whatever their reasons, that’s what I’d pay attention to.
I’d sit down with them at dinner and first acknowledge that you appreciate their concern. Then I’d ask them to explain their motivation and which of their friends’ parents they respect the most and why. Obviously, you get to choose who your friends are, but this is still a great conversation to have with your kids.
Your question brings up an important issue about being friends with the parents of your children’s friends, because you may be spending a lot of time with these folks whether you like it or not. So here’s what I’d suggest.
At the very least, it’s wise to have a good working relationship with them. This means you know the other parents well enough that you can ask each other for help in times of need—like picking up and dropping off when the other parent has to be somewhere else at the same time. As our kids get older, it’s helpful for other parents to be part of your collective reconnaissance team because some of us have children who give us the least amount of information possible about what they’re doing and where they’re doing it.
That doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. But don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and realize that these people who have shared all the incredible highs and lows of raising kids have truly become your friends.
Have you ever NOT wanted to be friends with the parents of your kid’s friends? Post a comment and tell me about it here.
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of the new best seller Masterminds and Wingmen as well as Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads. For more info, go to rosalindwiseman.com. Do you have a parenting question? Email email@example.com.
Written on January 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm , by Family Circle
As a nutritionist who spends her days working with celebrities and regular folks alike, there’s one question I get all the time: “So, what do your kids eat?”
My kids aren’t immune to the lure of fast food and junk snacks. But nutrition is the family business, and by empowering them to make healthy decisions from an early age, I can trust them to use their good instincts.
This was one of the inspirations behind my new Fast Metabolism Diet cookbook and app. In the cookbook, I included over 200 tasty recipes that kids will love to eat and parents will love to cook. With the app, parents can streamline their shopping lists and plan a month’s worth of healthy meals.
Just last week I had a counter full of fresh veggies that I brought back from the store: kale, carrots, mangoes, avocados, raw nuts and apples—a whole pile of great foods. My son walked in from school, saw my groceries and said, “I want to eat all of that!” I sure was a proud momma!
Parents have a tough battle when it comes to healthy eating. We’re up against poor-quality cafeteria food, rows of vending machines and aisles full of sugary, processed junk marketed to kids. But you can plant the seeds to encourage healthy choices.
Here are three changes you can make to your daily routine.
1. Make the kitchen the heart of your home. My best memories are of my mom’s kitchen. This is where I learned to cook, and learned to love food. Try taking your kids shopping with you and teach them how to choose the juiciest lemons, the crunchiest carrots and the freshest salad greens. Or give them a “kids’ night,” where they can plan and prepare part of the dinner (if they’re old enough). Emphasize making healthy choices, and help them choose the recipes and do the cooking.
2. Broker a deal. When my kids want to eat something they know I won’t be crazy about, we negotiate. I rarely say no completely, but I will ask for something in return. Typically, I’ll say yes to the ice cream or nachos but ask that they eat two healthy things first. My kids are now so used to this that it’s part of the routine. My daughter will say, “I want this cupcake I got at school, so I’m eating celery sticks and almond butter.” This is a great way to get them to think about what they’re eating, but there’s a sneaky agenda in there too. By eating healthy and delicious foods first, they’ll want less of the junk. This isn’t a bad tactic for yourself, either. Want to splurge on birthday cake? Have some red-pepper strips and hummus, or a handful of raw almonds and an apple, first.
3. Try some healthy makeovers. You may not be able to convince your kids to give up chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese altogether. But you can make those meals healthier and just as tasty. Here’s my no-fail recipe for pretzel-crusted chicken nuggets.
Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 egg whites
1 cup finely crushed sprouted-grain pretzels (Unique 100% sprouted pretzels work well)
1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice (such as smoked paprika, chipotle powder, garlic powder or Italian seasoning)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet (you may need two) with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the arrowroot, salt and pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy.
3. Place the crushed pretzels in a third bowl and stir in a teaspoon of your favorite seasoning.
4. Dip a piece of chicken in the arrowroot until it is evenly covered. Then dip it in the egg whites, and then in the crushed pretzels.
5. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
6. Bake the nuggets for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the outside is golden brown.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Want more ways to make over your favorite comfort foods? Visit my website, fastmetabolismdiet.com, for healthy recipes, tricks and tips.
Nutritionist Haylie Pomroy is the best-selling author of The Fast Metabolism Diet and The Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook. Ms. Pomroy lives with her husband, their five children and their four dogs in Los Angeles. Visit Haylie Pomroy and the Fast Metabolism community on Facebook.
Written on January 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm , by Danielle Hester
There’s an art to taking the perfect selfie—just ask your teen, or James Franco. From how you angle the camera to what your hair looks like to how you smile and tilt your head, it all matters. The point is to appear effortlessly perfect and carefree because, after all, these pictures will live online indefinitely.
Recognizing how hard it is to create such an impression of carefree perfection, Dove challenged a group of young women to confront their insecurities by taking, you guessed it, selfies, and getting their mothers to do so too. In the eight-minute short film simply titled “Selfie” (there’s a three-minute version here), the girls admit to having insecurities that their mothers also express feeling. Through a photography workshop, the teens and their moms begin to have an honest discussion about what beauty is and question the way they define it.
“You have the power to change and redefine what beauty is,” professional photographer Michael Crook tells the girls in the film. “The power is in your hands, because now, more than ever, it’s right at our fingertips. We can take selfies.”
Written on January 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm , by Family Circle
By JM Randolph, the Accidental Stepmom
I don’t make my kids’ beds. This doesn’t stem from some lofty ideology, unless you count self-preservation as lofty.
The thing about mess is that it is not linear. It’s logarithmic. If one neat child and one slovenly child share a bedroom while three children who are too young to properly clean their rooms by themselves share a bedroom, how long does it take their new, not-neat stepmother to give up on making beds? Answer: no time at all.
My main neatness requirement in the children’s bedrooms is that there be a path from the door to the bed, and that the door be able to close. Out of sight, out of mind, thus freeing the mind for other pursuits, such as what to feed everyone for dinner, how to get them to their scattered, simultaneous activities, and whether or not I can take a shower before work.
We can’t tell ahead of time what the end result of our parental decisions will be. My overly optimistic hope was that the kids would learn to make their beds. What happened is that they have a resentment against sheets.
My children neither know nor care about the difference between a flat sheet and a fitted one. Pillow shams and pillowcases are identical to them, and they were genuinely baffled by the discovery of a bed skirt in the linen closet. More than one of my children was surprised to learn that a mattress pad does not count as a sheet. They can sleep on a bare mattress with a naked pillow and can’t even tell the difference. This may also be due to the fact that they sleep in more clothes than they actually wear in public. Twice as many.
It’s not surprising that “Change your sheets!” on the chore list is viewed as punishment. They try many creative ways to bypass it. They’ll put all the bedding—including their comforters and mattress pads—in the laundry room. Whatever child “wins” starts their wash load, usually cramming the machine full with the sheets balled up in the mattress pad and the comforter stuffed in too, if they can get the lid closed.
Then nothing else happens.
The load does not move from the washer to the dryer. No further sets of sheets are washed. None of the 37 extra sets of clean sheets in the closet—which would have eliminated the need for them to do laundry in the first place—are put on their beds.
They operate under the delusion that their sheets will magically cycle themselves through the machines on a Saturday, when their dad and I both work a long day in the city, in time to put themselves back on the beds before bedtime, and that if it doesn’t happen, we won’t notice. Well, that last part is pretty true.
They dig out sleeping bags and blankets and lay them out in pretense of having made their beds. They will then sleep on bare mattresses and pillows until the ruse is discovered.
They’ve finally gotten hip to the fact that if they remove only their sheets and not the rest of their bedding, we won’t know they’re sleeping sheetless unless we go in the bedroom and check. Frankly, I try to avoid their rooms as much as possible.
I was talking with a friend of mine about this recently and she’s the exact opposite of me. She has two teenagers and cleaning is her hobby; she still makes their beds every day. She’s currently engaged in a passive-aggressive battle with her teen daughter. When the daughter throws attitude at her, the mom doesn’t make her bed. The next day the daughter retaliates by halfway making her bed by herself. I totally recognize that teen girl gauntlet being thrown down.
I just surveyed the bedrooms and found three kids are using only one sheet, one has no pillow coverings at all, and the one who has both a fitted and a flat sheet is using a pillow sham instead of a pillowcase.
I retaliated by closing all their doors again.
JM Randolph is a writer, stagehand and custodial stepmom of five. She lives in New Jersey with her family and blogs at accidentalstepmom.com.
Written on January 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm , by Family Circle
By Lisa Kelsey
For its “Women in TV” issue, fashion magazine Elle released four separate covers, each featuring a different actress: Mindy Kaling, Allison Williams, Zooey Deschanel and Amy Poehler. Because she wasn’t featured in color and three-quarter length like the other actresses, the cover showing Mindy generated immediate controversy. Was Elle cropping out her body because it didn’t fit the magazine’s model-thin standards? Was it shot in black and white to minimize her ethnicity? Not too long ago, Elle was in hot water for running a cover with the plus-size actress Melissa McCarthy wrapped in a coat.
The controversies surrounding these covers made me wonder: If Mindy Kaling or Melissa McCarthy were men, would everyone be clamoring to see them in all their full-figured glory? What if they were scientists or writers? We all know what these women look like—we see them on TV. But by focusing so much on their physical appearance, maybe we are reducing these women to their bodies when they have so much more to offer. Mindy and Melissa are both funny, intelligent, very successful women who are being featured on a top fashion magazine cover. That they look glamorous and beautiful is enough. And who says you have to reveal all to be sexy?
Mindy and Melissa both say they’re happy with their respective photographs. Mindy took a characteristically humorous approach and tweeted:
Melissa says she chose the coat and covered up—she was thinking about the issue coming out in November. Or maybe it just made her feel more confident in front of the camera. If you’ve ever had a professional photo taken of yourself, you probably know it’s not as easy as it looks. I don’t like my thinning hair and feel much better wearing a hat. I’m not “ashamed” of my hair, but you better believe if you ever see me on the cover of a fashion magazine I’ll be wearing a hat!
Insofar as Mindy’s cover being shot in black and white, the photographer, Carter Smith, shoots in color as well. On his site you’ll see beautiful black-and-white images of Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Gwyneth Paltrow and many others. When I saw Mindy’s cover, I automatically thought of 1940s glamour photography. With her glossy black hair and dark eyes, she looks sultry and seductive. Contrast this Parade cover with Elle’s: It has a similar angle and she looks great, but seriously, on the Elle cover she’s a knockout.
Some say it doesn’t matter that the subjects themselves are pleased. I say it does. There are plenty of photographs of both these women (including a lot of selfles in Mindy’s case). In some they look great, in others not so much. These photos made them feel great about themselves. I say, why should we begrudge them that?
I think Elle wanted to celebrate these women by making the best possible images for their covers.
You have to admit they are striking, don’t you think?
Written on January 16, 2014 at 9:30 am , by jtaylor
Many outsiders would look at Chiara de Blasio, the 19-year-old daughter of newly elected New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and see a young woman with a completely charmed life. A recent fashion spread in a well-known teen magazine does little to dispel that image of a magical existence.
Fashion mavens may argue about her style, but few could dispute her honesty. In a video released by her father’s campaign last month, Chiara’s struggles with depression and substance abuse, which began in her teenage years, add a sobering reality to what it means to be a first family.
She details her difficulties with fitting in and self-esteem, and the need to self-medicate with marijuana and alcohol. Describing how her mental state impacted her academic and social progress, she offers wise advice to others, stating: “If you’re suffering…getting sober is always a positive thing…It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s so worth it.”
Mental health issues can be present in any family. Being an elected official doesn’t exempt one from them. What’s most important, however, is a family’s reaction to the problem, which can make the difference between a person’s shying away from treatment and their embracing it.
Chiara’s openness may help break the stigma associated with mental illness and seeking the appropriate treatment. By simply telling her story, she potentially can help so many others.
As parents, we try to protect our children as much as possible. However, there are times when silence is not productive. Instead, it can reinforce negative behaviors by not addressing them. We can all learn from the example set by the de Blasios.
If your child is struggling with similar issues:
Support your teenager. Be open to their getting a professional assessment and treatment. They may be resistant, but purposefully and gently push for treatment.
Talk to other families. Many families feel like they’re the only ones going through challenging times. You are not. Talk to your health care professional about support groups.
Look at the big picture. Staying sober is a lifelong journey. Buckle up and be prepared for the peaks and valleys. Celebrate successes while being mindful of a blueprint.
Share your struggle. Breaking the silence about issues like depression and substance abuse can assist others in getting help. I applaud the de Blasio family for sharing their story—and hope more families do the same.
Is there someone in your life who could benefit from getting support for substance abuse? Post a comment below and tell us how you plan to approach them about this and offer them help.
Got a question for Dr. Janet? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written on January 15, 2014 at 11:26 am , by Family Circle
Remember your child’s attempt at taking her first steps? Did her stumbles and waddles make you say “awww”? So will this adorable polar bear cub.
The star of this video was born on November 9 at the Toronto Zoo. Watch as he attempts to take his first steps. Priceless!