This poem is about a dream that helped me after my mother died and through a divorce. It was not an easy process, to look at my childhood and what happened. It can be a very frightening place to go. Good luck and health to everyone who tries.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: book. My second entry for the prompt today.
Skimming the reader’s guide at the back of a book today, I read one question and halt. Here:
“You’ve managed such an extraordinarily successful writing career along with being a full-time father. What has it been like to juggle the two?”
Yes, what has it been like? Because I changed the gender. I can’t imagine this question being posted to a male author. The layers and the sexism in this question are spectacular.
First of all, what is a full-time mother? Does it mean one who is “home” with the kids? Not working “outside” the house. Maybe we should call it at work with the kids if it’s full-time. If she is a writer is that work but it’s not work if she is a housewife? Is she a “full-time” mother with a writing hobby unless it’s successful and then she’s a “full-time” mother with a successful career? How are they defining success?
What is a full-time father? Does it mean the same thing?
Are there part-time mothers? Is a mother who goes to work outside the house a part-time mother? I work. My husband was the househusband. We also had some daycare. Was he a full-time father? Was he a slacker because he took care of the house and the kids and played golf? Our son was six months old when I started my family practice residency. Was I a part-time mother?
The question feels to me like more of the same gender discrimination and devaluation of both genders. A woman who is a “full-time” mother AND a successful writer, wow, that is made noble. But I have never heard a man called a “full-time” father or any questions of a successful man about how he juggled his fatherhood and his career.
It remains infuriating.
The book is Anna Quindlan’s every last one, Random House, 2011 and the Random House Reader’s Circle asks the questions.
Well, gentle readers? Are you a full-time or a part-time parent? Why? Was your father a full or a part time father and was your mother full or part time? And do they mean the same thing?
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: garden.
We have beer gardens at many local events. Centrum music, the Wooden Boat Festival. People have to show identification to get into the beer garden and must keep the drink in there.
I want to start a Sober Garden as well as a Beer Garden. Let’s have a substance free area, roped off, for families and those who are choosing not to use substances, alcohol, opioids, tobacco, meth, whatever. At the events with families, the Beer Garden is roped off, but let’s rope both off. Let us have a Sober Garden and have food trucks and drinks and welcome families and welcome people who are not drinking alcohol or using other substances.
Let’s bring children out to the music and let families set a conscious example. There is no stigma if it is a Sober Garden for families and to support the whole community, including those recovering from addiction. Let us make it conscious and attractive.
When we rope off the Beer Garden and check identification to get in, aren’t we sending the message to the youth, especially teens, this is special, you are not allowed. Let us reverse that and have a bracelet for those going in to the Sober Garden. A sticker, a garden for families, a garden for people healing, a garden for making a different choice.
music by Mike and Ruthy: simple and sober. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsFlHuhDP0A
Sometimes it takes a while to warm up to an idea. But spring will come and warmth.
For Mundane Monday # 184, my theme is rats.
Any sort of rat. You dirty rat. Rats, this is not working.
The photograph is a pet rat. He is gone now, moved on to another plane. In memorium. He was very sweet.
Send your link, send a message, if you want to join the party. I will list them next week.
Last week’s theme, Mundane Monday #183: getting ready.
For Mundane Monday #183: getting ready.
This organized chaos is from 2010. I am thinking about parents and kids. Here we were getting ready for our yearly synchronized swim team show. This involves painting the hair to stay in place with thick very warm gelatin. We did that outside. It’s messy. Synchronized swimming might not be mundane to you but we all have times when we get ready or help others get ready.
My daughter is the one on the left: mom, you are bugging us.
Ready. Pretty much. With a little trepidation.
And ready hair.
And the whole team in the water, in the finale, hooray, we did it!
If you want to join in, I will list the entries next week.
For last week’s theme: kitchen close up:
KLAllendorfer with lots of lovely kitchen photographs.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt #76: freedom.
Immigrant children separated from parents and placed in “camps”. This is concentration camp, jail. They have not been returned to their parents: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family-separation-and-zero-tolerance-at-the-border. This is a horror committed by my country. Return the children to their parents.
The deer were in the empty lot across the street from my clinic yesterday. Both fawns went to check in with their parent when I got out of the car with my camera. Imagine the terror of a small child whose parents have been taken away.
I have a double lot, L shaped, because the 1930s garage extends 5 feet into the second lot.
I don’t mow the second lot. It is in the center of the block and has an apple tree, a plum tree, a maple with a tree house, wild roses and weeds.
The deer leave their young to stay. Intemittently there are young alone in my lot. I went to go in the tree house this weekend, but this small one was alone. I don’t like to scare them into the streets or more exposed yards, so I backed off.
My theme for Munday Monday #165 is parent and child.
I have this small statue in my clinic. I have a small collection of parent/child and mother/child art that I have collected for years. I was separated from my mother at birth, from my father and his family at 4 months and back to my mother and father at 9 months. I was sure that adults loved me but I did not trust them: they kept abandoning me.
As an adult I understand that it was because my mother had active tuberculosis and that the first separation saved my life. But…. I can love people, but trust must be earned.
A patient said last week that I had a political statement in my waiting room. “I do?” I said. He was talking about this statue.
If this is a political statement, I stand by it.
Attach your parent child picture, political statement or not. And much love and hope for every parent and child and love.
One entry from last week, Mundane Monday #165: sand:
KL Allendorfer: Sand.
I took this distant family shot zoomed out and saved the identification for today: a family of hooded mergansers. The feathered hoods are tucked back and this is in the early morning.
What teens are at high risk for addiction?
Would you say inner city, poor, abused, homeless?
This study : Adolescents from upper middle class communities: Substance misuse and addiction across early adulthood. which I first saw in WebMd, says that the privileged upper middle and rich children are at higher risk for addiction than many of their peers.
350+ teens in New England were studied.
Drug and alcohol use was higher than across country norms, including inner city.
Rates of addiction diagnosis by age 26 were
19%-24% for girls
23%-40% for boys
These rates are two to three times the norms across the country.
Rates for addiction diagnosis by age 22 were
11%-16% for girls
19%-27% for boys
These rates are close to the same in girls, but twice as high in boys as peers across the country.
The teens were often popular high achievers who are A students. Parents tended to drink more in those cohorts than the norms.
Also: “Findings also showed the protective power of parents’ containment (anticipated stringency of repercussions for substance use) at age 18; this was inversely associated with frequency of drunkenness and marijuana and stimulant use in adulthood.” That is, parents who sent a clear message that consequences for illegal and underage substance use including alcohol and marijuana would be serious, provided protection for their teens.
A second article: Children of the Affluent: Challenges to Well-Being says this:
“Results also revealed the surprising unique significance of children’s eating dinner with at least one parent on most nights. Even after the other six parenting dimensions (including emotional closeness both to mothers and to fathers) were taken into account, this simple family routine was linked not only to children’s self-reported adjustment, but also to their performance at school. Striking, too, were the similarities of links involving family dining among families ostensibly easily able to arrange for shared leisure time and those who had to cope with the sundry exigencies of everyday life in poverty.”
Other children’s perception of parenting examined included:
felt closeness to mothers
felt closeness to fathers
parental values emphasizing integrity
regularity of eating dinner with parents
lack of after-school supervision
This aligns with my observations both in my town and with patients. I see parents “check out” sometimes when their children are in their teens. “I can’t control him/her. They are going to use drugs and alcohol.” I told my children that if they partied I would NOT be the parent who says, “Oh, he needs to play football anyhow.” I would be the parent who would be yelling “Throw the book at him/her. Bench them.” And I saw parents of teens going out to the parking lot to smoke marijuana at a church fundraiser when it was still illegal. And saying “Oh, our kids don’t know.” I thought, “Your kids are not that dumb.” They invited me along. I said, “No.” And I really lost respect for that group of parents. What example and message are they sending to their teens? Yeah, cool, do illegal things in the parking lot, nod, nod, wink, wink.
Meanwhile, my children keep me honest. “You are speeding, mom.”
“Yeah,” I say. “You are right. Sometimes I do.” And I slow down.