Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bad Mother? What Do You Think?

First, a little background. This is a typical day in my life:

I wake up around 6:00 a.m. and spend about a half hour in the bathroom getting ready for my day. I then pack my gym bag, my purse and my 2 year old son’s backpack. I feed the dogs and then make breakfast for my son. (Scrambled eggs, toast, fresh fruit…not just cold cereal or some vitamin “pouch”) I wake him up, help him get dressed, and give him his breakfast to eat on his own. While he’s eating, I’m usually cleaning this or that and sometimes I help him a little or just talk to him. Then we comb his hair, brush his teeth and head out to preschool. I work 8 hours each day, 5 days each week. My lunch hour is spent at the gym.

When I pick my son up from preschool after working all day, I spend time with him… in his room doing puzzles, reading books, playing in the yard…. while his Dad makes dinner. I spend an hour every night doing a bedtime routine with him and just before he falls asleep, I tuck him into bed. When he is down for the night, I’m up very late doing laundry, cleaning dinner dishes and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for him to have the next day at preschool. Then a shower, a little internet time and off to bed usually somewhere between midnight and 1:00 a.m.

I’ve been informed that I am a bad mother because:

  1. It is my opinion that giving my son a “vitamin pouch” (filled with preservatives) to suck on in the backseat of my car instead of feeding him real meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, is NOT okay.
  2. I help him get dressed.
  3. I don’t let him run wild in the grocery store.
  4. I spend quality time with him in the rocking chair before bed.
  5. I put my son before myself, and don’t take enough time for myself to just be an adult.
  6. I don’t sleep enough and I’m likely to have an accident while driving my son to preschool.
  7. I don’t mind staying up a little later at night or get up a little earlier in the morning to make sure my son has what he needs to be healthy.

If that’s a bad mother, I’m guilty as charged. I don’t care what these people do with their own children and I didn’t attack the things they do. I just voiced an opinion about their precious “vitamin pouch” and they unleashed the wrath of hell on me. My opinion was no longer than a two sentences and they managed to touch on all 7 of the points above in their paragraphs and paragraphs of stretching to drag a complete stranger down.

I guess an opinion is okay as long as it fits in with the opinions of the majority of readers. What was I thinking?

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How I May Have Won The Cell Phone War…….well, for now anyway…

(Note: I won’t be using any company names here because I don’t want to just out and out bad mouth anyone or hand out free advertising for that matter. ItMy Awesome Cell Phone shouldn’t be too hard for anyone to figure out who I’m talking about from the photo.)

For the last few years, I’ve been stuck in a cell phone plan that could easily be the very worst out there right now. I was paying over $100 each month for 450 minutes, unlimited text, picture and video messaging…that’s all! No internet, no email, no bells or whistles. Just the bare basics on a four year old analog phone. It seemed like the more I cut the plan to lower the bill, the more “fees” were added. If making a change didn’t cost money, it would add a couple of years to my contract. I’d had enough!!

So, I started investigating other carriers, plans and phones. I was sticking to the big name carriers because I live in a rural area and there really aren’t many options. I quickly found that all three of the big carriers that are dominant in my area, essentially cost the same. I was frustrated and ready to give up when I heard about those prepaid phones from the big box stores. I had decided that with my tiny package of minutes and texting on that old analog phone, I really wouldn’t be cutting myself short on services as long as the signal was strong enough. I thought I may be able to save at least a little money each month.

So, I started reading anything I could find concerning signal strength particularly in my area. One article lead to another and one subject lead to another and I was amazed to find that I could get a prepaid android smartphone, complete with unlimited minutes and texting as well as internet, email and more apps than I could ever figure out while more than cutting my bill in half!! (It turned out to be about $75.00 less each month) With NO contract and the signal strength is exactly the same as with my big carrier!!

I spent the next two months looking at phones. It wasn’t hard to settle on which phone I needed. By this time, I was furious with this big name cell company who had raped my pocket book for so long and I was determined to find a phone that used their towers for a lot less money. I wanted to stick it to ’em!

After I had researched the phone and read all the reviews, both good and bad, I decided the next step would be to call my current cell company and find out how much it would cost to buy my way out of my contract. It turns out, I had 13 months left on the contract and  after one more month, the “buy out” cost would drop significantly. From there, I formed a plan!

I would buy the new phone and set it up with a new phone number and just try it for a month. If I didn’t like it, I’d send it back and keep my old phone while doing more research on my next move. The new phone used the same towers so the signal should be the same but the new cell company said that this particular phone would not work in my area. They wouldn’t even ship it to my home address because they said it wouldn’t work. So, I had it shipped to my office in the next town and tried it anyway.

I spent the next month, driving around to all the areas that I normally travel through. I’d watch the signal bars on both phones to see what the difference was. I made calls from these areas on both phones, sent text messages and used the internet on the new phone all over town. The signal was identical! Not once did I look at the signal strength and see any difference between the two phones. It even worked at my house where the new carrier said it wouldn’t!

Woo Hoo!!! I rock!!

After a month, I transferred my phone number to the new phone, closed the old account and began trying to figure out the wonderful world of apps and clouds and streaming music using wi-fi instead of 3G. (Because we live in the sticks and don’t have 4G here) I’m 4 months into my new setup and I am still THRILLED with my phone and just as happy with the bill. I’m even happier that I’m essentially getting a signal off that big cell company at a fraction of the price!

I wonder how long they will let that go on….

 

UPDATE: I’m 6 months into the new phone and new plan and still Thrilled!!! Woo Hoo!!!  If you want to know more, send me a message and I’ll spill the company names to you privately!

 

 


Much Needed Marriage Rant – Please Disregard

Today I was disturbed to overhear someone talking about new statistics out on babies and unwed mothers and how with Father’s Day coming up, we should really promote fathers sticking around and being fathers. While there are a lot of fathers who need to be nudged in the right direction, there are equally a lot of mothers out there who need a nudge as well. Also these particular statistics, don’t necessarily speak to the parenting problem in America at all. I think they speak more to the argument against marriage.

Sure the statistics read that 53% of children born in America are born to unwed mothers, but of that 53%, 40% of those children go home to both biological parents living in the same home. That leaves 13% for the “one night stand” scenario. I’d like to know the statistic of how many children who came home from the hospital at birth to a home with married parents, who still had married parents at age 10. What are the differences in these children and the children of that 53% socially, economically, academically, and emotionally?

Divorce and breakups between people who are not married are both very hard things for families to go through, but I am of the belief that a divorce is much harder on everyone involved. The biggest reason for this, is that people on the outside of the relationship are brought into it and given the task of sorting through the remains of a dead marriage. This includes the minor children. Some think a waiting period between the filing date and the finalization is a good thing that gives couples time to be sure that they are doing the right thing. I personally believe it just drags out a process that is already hard enough. A breakup, on the other hand, can be handled quickly and between only those in the family. This not only cuts down on talk inside the home about attorneys, the law, legal documents, waiting periods and parenting classes but also keeps a level of privacy, so the children involved don’t have to hear all about it from the legal secretary’s kids at school.

Fewer and fewer people actually want to be married any more. Society tries to promote and even push traditional marriage onto some unwilling souls by calling it morally the right thing to do. I believe that’s one reason that so many marriages fail. Society has changed so much over the last several decades, that traditional marriage just doesn’t fit anymore. The perfect role model for a mother in the 50’s was June Clever. The June Clevers of today are a small percentage who can afford to stay home all day, have dinner ready when Dad gets home and mend socks all evening. The role model of today’s society is Angelina Jolie. She sewed her wild oats when she was young and now has a live – in man, 6 kids, a career and her volunteer work. In June’s day, it was admirable to stay at home and do nothing but hold the house and the family together. Dad made all the important decisions and Mom made sure they were carried out from start to finish. Angelina and women of today could easily look back at June as a weak little follower who didn’t have the ambition or self-confidence to think for herself. Today’s woman doesn’t want to be viewed in that light.

Marriage use to be thought of as a partnership filled with love, trust, security, and butterflies and flowers but now, for many, it is more of a weapon in the power struggle of family life. This weapon could be used by the man or the woman with equal potential for strength. Sometimes it’s leverage for control and other times it’s used as financial terrorism. A lot of couples just consciously make the decision to keep certain things in their lives separate and join others. I believe the biggest reason that people aren’t getting married is for financial reasons and health care, in my opinion has a lot to do with that.

Unless you live in that gritty part of society where families live from pay check to pay check, you probably can’t understand that these people are one illness or injury away from complete financial ruin even if they do have health insurance. For example, if a married couple has a sick child with insurance, whatever the insurance won’t pay falls on the shoulders of both parents. This could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars very quickly. When living from pay check to pay check, there is little left over to pay for things like this especially after paying insurance co-pays and deductibles. In this scenario, both parents are liable for the debt and both can have wages garnished which leads to less money for day to day expenses such as rent or mortgage, transportation, food, clothing and the like. They stand to lose everything. If this same scenario played out with an unmarried couple, only one of the parents would sign documentation to be liable for the medical costs and if garnishments were put into effect, at least the family could survive a little easier without the loss of the other parent’s income.

Another financial reason that couples with children decide not to marry could involve tax credits. We are told that filing a tax return as “married” earns tax cuts that aren’t afforded to single people. The thing to keep in mind here is that when filing a joint tax return, it combines the income of two people and treats it as one entity. You will likely find yourself swimming at the bottom of a higher tax bracket. Single mothers who file their children as dependents on tax returns usually fair very well with tax credits.

If someone is concerned enough about this statistic to want to put the word out and make some kind of change or shift, they would need to start with sweetening the pot for couples who marry and stop using moral and religious propaganda to force people into bad marriages. Sure, it would be great to have all children in America living in the home with married biological parents until they reach adulthood and marry for themselves. But is it a realistic idea for this day and age?


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