About Me

Some of you know me from my old blog "Moving to Morocco" where I wrote about meeting my husband and, you guessed it, moving to Morocco. Well, we're back now, and I want to write about other things (but yes, we're still happily married). There's no real subject to this blog. I just want to write. If you have a subject you'd like my opinion on, just let me know. I also plan on doing advice posts. If you have something you'd like an outside opinion on, e-mail me anonymously at nicegirlatl@hotmail.com! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What the hell is wrong with kids these days - AND their parents

Today the weather was beautiful. A nice day for a cookout. To throw the ball around with the kids. While I caught up on some housework the kids were outside with their dad, playing football. I saw 4 kids come in the yard and were playing with Cain. I went on about my indoor work while they enjoyed playing. A few minutes later everyone came in and my husband explained that the boys were ganging up on Cain, calling him stupid, several tackling him at once, and slamming him into the woody/rocky area at the edge of our yard. Cain was scratched up and my husband yelled at the kids and sent them away.

A few minutes later, Cain said "where's my football mom, I put it right there." I told him to go look around the yard, in the woods, and in his room before he assumed someone stole it. After both of us searching, I realized it was not here and those boys took it. I got in my car and drove around the neighborhood looking for them, as I didn't know their names, or where they lived. These were not kids Cain had ever played with before. I circled around and didn't see the kids, but Cain said he knew where one lived. I drove with Cain to the house where an older woman was sitting on the porch, and a 20-something man was just walking out.

I stopped the young man and asked, "does a young boy live here?" He seemed hesitant to answer, but said "yuh". I explained, "I'm not sure if its the boy who lives here or not, but there were several boys playing in my yard, they got too rough, we asked them to leave, and now my sons football is missing" He said, "yuh". I said, "well, would you mind going and checking to see if he has it", he looked annoyed and walked inside. Two minutes later he came out and had the football in his hand and tossed it to me. Didn't say anything, nor did the older lady on the porch. I said, "maybe you should take this opportunity to talk to the boy about not stealing" he replied with, "yuh".  With the blatant disregard, I let him know that if anything like this ever happened again, I wouldn't be so cool about it, and I would call the cops. "Keep the boy off my property".

By this time there were around 15 boys ranging from 6 to 14ish standing around laughing. I asked them if they thought stealing was funny. They said "yuh, dis funny". I said, "son, how would you feel if someone walked into your yard, and stole your stuff", "aww nah man, it'd be a fight". I said, "look, stealing is wrong, and sitting back laughing about people stealing is no better, God does NOT like ugly". They apologized and went on their way. An hour later, the kids who stole the ball were hanging out in the street - unsupervised - again.

If the situation was flipped and Cain stole something - ANYTHING - from  ANYONE, not only would Cain be apologizing to the person he stole from, he'd more than likely get spanked (and I never hit my kids), along with being grounded from EVERYTHING for a month. Cain knows this, so he wouldn't even consider taking something that wasn't his. I would be mortified if someone came to my home and said my kid stole something. I sure as hell wouldn't sit there nonchalantly, as if nothing had happened.

This leads me to wonder how people live like this? You just go through life and don't give a second thought as to where your kids are and what they're doing? Most of the kids in our neighborhood are unsupervised in the street from age 4. I've had to yell at kids for darting behind my car when I'm backing out of my driveway. For not moving when people are driving down the street. I don't even know these kids, its not my responsibility to get onto them, yet I do it, because I don't want them run over.

I just wish more parents would take responsibility for their children. I wish that they would teach them right from wrong, supervise them, and guide them to do the right thing. My kids are NOT perfect. I am NOT a perfect mom. I make mistakes, and they make mistakes, but I know that my kids know right from wrong and they know the consequences of their actions. If a child doesn't KNOW that he'll get punished for _______, he will not care. He will act as he wants to and think about the consequence later. I have high expectations for my sons lives. I just wish every parent would realize that THE most important job they'll ever do in their lives, is raise their kids.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Would you paint your sons nails pink?

Recently in a J. Crew catalogue, the picture below was featured. It's the president of J.Crew with her son, and she has painted his toenails hot pink. Apparently there was some outrage and some child psychologists started making claims that she's basically ruined him for life!

I beg to differ....a little. 

A friend of mine wrote "what mother hasn't painted her son's nails" and my response was "I haven't ever painted my sons nails, nor do I ever intend to". I was called judgemental for my response. I was told kids should be able to do what they want to. Boys don't paint thier nails because they want to be girls, but because they want to be like mommy.

This brought me back to Halloween of 2010, when my 2 year old son wanted to be Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba:
When the answer was "no", a tantrum right there in the middle of the costume store ensued. We took him out of the store and explained that he couldn't be Foofa because she's a girl and he's a boy. Obviously, at 2 he didn't completely understand, but after letting him calm down, we went back into the store and he chose a gender appropriate costume. Do I think I scarred my son for life by telling him he couldn't dress like a girl? I don't think so.

So do I not want my boy painting his nails pink (or ANY other color for that matter) because I'm insensitive to transgendered people? Not at all, and I don't think it makes a boy transgendered if he wants to wear nail polish anyway. I just don't want my boys to do something that is reserved for women. End of story. I would probably think it was funny if a toddler got into the nail polish or makeup when mom was in the shower and she caught him, but for a mother or father to intentionally sit down and make up their son is a totally different story.

Kids these days have enough pressures. Bullying is always in the news. Sending your kid to school, or in this case, publishing a neon toed 6 year old in a magazine, isn't going to help them in any way from being bullied or picked on, or just given a hard time. It's our job as parents to protect our kids, not to encourage them to do things that are going to bring them problems. Yes, my baby has asked if he could put on nail polish when I was painting my nails. I think its completely normal for them to ask. I however said "no, nail polish is for girls" he said "ok" and walked away. It wasn't traumatizing for him to hear me say no.

I don't necessarily agree that engaging your child in your toe painting ritual is going to scar them for life or create emotional problems. I don't think its right to do, but I also don't think it will ruin them. My main concern here is WHY? Why do it? Cause your kid wants to? Well my kids want to do stuff all the time I won't let him do. Why is it sooooo hard to say NO to your kid?

I am not a staunch conservative, but I do believe skirts and dresses and make up and nail polish are for girls. We do not have to tip toe around our boys when they want to dress up like a princess. I don't feel like I'm teaching my son hate or even intolerance by not allowing him to dress like a girl or do girly things. A simple "no baby, princesses are girls and princes are boys" should be sufficient.

I truly believe this is beyond the nail polish issue. I think its just a case of parents allowing their kids to do whatever the hell they want without thinking about the repercussions. The whole "he just wants to be like mommy" argument doesn't work for me either, because mommy smokes cigarettes, mommy drinks alcohol, mommy drives a car, mommy can use a sharp knife, mommy can climb a 6 foot ladder....mommy does a lot of stuff that our kids shouldn't do. So, say no to the nail polish just as easily as you would say no to letting your 6 year old drive your car. Your argument will be "well its not going to hurt him to do it". I say, "its not going to hurt him NOT to do it either".

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why not just become a Muslim?

In a discussion regarding a Christian woman married to a Muslim man, accepting her children being raised as Muslims, the following question was asked:

" how strongly can one believe in their professed faith if they are willing to raise their children in a faith that has a ...HUGE difference? If you don't believe strongly enough in Christianity to be sure to raise your kids as believers in it but maybe you find Islam acceptable why not just become Muslim?"

This was not directed or asked of me, however, I am in this exact situation and I thought it was a valid question. I can see how a Muslim woman wouldn't understand my reasoning for allowing this or accepting it. I will offer a little into the way I see it....

Before I offer my views on it, for anyone that isn't clear what the HUGE difference is, let me explain. Islam and Christianity are pretty similar on many levels. Many of the stories in the Koran and The Bible are the same. However, Christians believe Jesus is the son of God. Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet, not the son, and that Muhammad was the last prophet. Obviously, there are other differences as well, but that would be the main difference. Since Christianity is based on the belief that Jesus is the son of God, it would basically mean that since Muslims do not, they are unbelievers. Since Christians do believe Jesus is the son of God and that Muhammad was not a prophet, it would basically make Christians unbelievers. The Koran does not say to hate Christians, quite the opposite. They are allowed to marry both Christians and Jews because we are people of the book.

Now, on to why I am accepting of my children being raised Muslim....

What I know about Islam, I can respect. Can I believe it for myself? Not right now. Why not? Well, I truly believe we are a product of our environment. If I were born into a Muslim family, without a doubt, I would be Muslim. If a Muslim were born into a Christian family, I believe, without a doubt they would be Christian. For me, the past 30 years, I've believed that Jesus is the son of God. It's hard to NOT believe that, which is what I would have to do to convert. It's hard to un-believe what you've been taught for 30 years, and I'm not sure there is a reason for me to. Obviously, it would be much easier for me to be a Muslim, as my husband is, and my children are. But easier isn't always better, in my opinion.

So if I'm not sure Islam is the truth, why would I allow my children to be raised as Muslims? Well, I'm probably the minority here, but I don't think that only ONE religion gets to heaven. I do not believe I have a better chance than my husband or my other Muslim friends, simply because I'm Christian. My husbands faith is something I envy. My husband worships God faithfully. He lives his life in a respectable way. He prays probably more than most Christians. He studies the Koran. But I don't think he has a better chance than me to get to heaven simply because he's a Muslim either. Maybe he does because he's more devout than I am, but not because of WHAT he believes.

On a religious scale, of the two of us, my husband is MUCH more religious than I am. So knowing that, it is better for my children to have that parent to learn from. He leads by example, and he is passionate about Islam. He likes talking about it. He loves telling stories from the Koran. He looks forward to teaching the kids about Islam. I, on the other hand, don't enjoy any conversations about religion. I would never take the time to sit and make sure my children are religious. Believe in God? Yes. Religious? No.

So what about getting into heaven? I think if my children follow my husbands path, they'd have a better chance than following mine. Although I follow the 10 commandments, and I worship God, I do not take the extra steps....like reading the Bible or setting specific times to pray. Taking Islam and Christianity out of the equation....just religiously speaking, my husband is more committed to knowing and serving God than I am. I don't think this makes me a bad Christian (obviously I could be better) but I think it puts my husband in a better position to do any religious teaching in our house.

I don't have doubt in Christianity, so there is no reason for me to convert to another religion. I find Islam, not only acceptable, but respectable, so there is no reason for me not to want my children to be Muslim. I think I find it fine, just because of my belief that God is SO good, he wouldn't punish people that worshiped him in life, to the best of their ability and knowledge. If Christianity is wrong, God will know that we believed it with the best of what we were taught and we lived good lives worshiping Him. And the same goes for Muslims, they are worshiping God as they were taught. How could they be punished for that? I just cannot comprehend how people think that God would send the majority of the living world to hell. If only one religion gets "in", that would be very sad for me.

So in summary, for me, it's just about who worships more - not better, or more correctly. To be completely honest there is no way for SURE to know who is RIGHT. We can only BELIEVE, not know. And in this particular case, I don't think that there is one right answer.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Abstinence and Abortion

The only way to prevent pregnancy 100% is abstinence. The only way to prevent getting an STD is to abstain not only from sex, but from all sexual activity. I'm an adult and I know this to be fact. I will teach this fact to my children. Sex before marriage is a sin. I will teach them that too. They will learn it at home, school, and from their religious teachers.

However,

The Guttmacher Institute reports "Although only 13% of teens have ever had vaginal sex by age 15, sexual activity is common by the late teen years. By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 teens of both sexes have had intercourse." 

So, while abstinence is obviously the BEST option, it is not always a realistic expectation of our children. We as parents can do our best to teach our children to wait, but we cannot be with them at every moment. We cannot be by their sides to make decisions for them. We have to accept reality and arm our children with the tools to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and potentially life threatening diseases, should they find themselves in a situation where their bodies are thinking, instead of their minds. We have to give them the knowledge of the consequences of sex. We have to let them know about the 15 million new cases of STD's that are reported each year, half of those belonging to people ages 15 - 24. I will never be the mom that hands my kids condoms and tells them to have fun, obviously, but I WILL be the mom that provides my children with the knowledge to make an educated decision, should they decide to go against what we as parents HOPE for....that they'll wait. Knowledge is power. Knowledge can save their life. Knowledge can prevent a pregnancy. Hoping and praying your kid will wait until marriage is about as solid of a plan as hoping and praying to retire by winning the lottery. We have to prepare them for the real world. And in the real world - teenagers have sex.

And they get pregnant. We have a wildly popular series on TV about teenage mothers. Teen pregnancy is an epidemic. It's not going anywhere either. In a conversation about this abortion came up. Most people I know are strongly against abortion. My feelings on abortion are pretty strong as well, but I am not pro-choice or pro-life. I'm somewhere in the middle about it. I personally do not know anyone that's had an abortion - well, I might know someone - but they've never advertised it or talked to me about it if they have had one. So my feelings do not come from personal experience. I just have an opinion about it.

 This conversation that took place was on facebook. On the page of a preachers wife. Obviously, everyone was pro-life. "God NEVER makes a mistake" "EVERY pregnancy is a miracle, even if you can't see that right now". Yeah? I disagree. I personally believe that abortion should not be used as a means of birth control. I think if you got pregnant unintentionally, there are other options, namely adoption. There are tons of people out there that would do anything to raise your unwanted baby. But, there are certain circumstances that I find abortion acceptable. A rape that resulted in pregnancy is absolutely an understandable reason to want and have an abortion. Another situation I thought of was a single mom who is pregnant and is advised by her doctors that the pregnancy will likely kill her (for whatever reason). Should she give birth and leave two children without a mother, or have an abortion, to be here for her living child?

And in the case of teen pregnancy? I'm on the fence. So I can't really speak with absolute certainty how I would react to that situation, if it were to present itself in my life. I know as an adult with two children and a supportive husband to help me, being a mother is still hard. I know that only 50% of teenage mothers finish high school. And an even lower percentage attend college. Getting pregnant at a young age and becoming a mother will most likely result in a difficult life.Not only will the teen parents suffer, the child will suffer as well. Not in ALL cases obviously, but in most. You cannot expect a 15 year old to be able to teach a child life lessons they themselves have not yet had a chance to learn.  While I think abortion in most situations is wrong, I can't be 100% sure I wouldn't suggest it to my child if they found themselves facing that situation.

 You have to think about all sides of it. It is quite easy to sit back and think that NO pregnancy should ever be terminated. It is quite easy to judge when your not faced with making that life changing decision. It is quite easy to say that even a pregnancy that was a result of a violent sexual act is a miracle, but I'd be willing to bet that while in theory that sounds great, in reality, if that happened to you, you just might find yourself asking God to forgive you while your sitting at the doctors office.