There’s nothing like a good party in the car with the kids. Cue the music, roll the windows down, and sing and dance the traffic away. It’s fun and easy to make shuttling around a memorable party in the car but it can quickly go wrong. Odds are, something’s wrong with how your child’s car seat is installed or being used. Maybe you don’t have him correctly harnessed in it, you let him keep his jacket on underneath the belt, or perhaps you let him put on his own seat belt, straps twisted and all, because, well, you know, he’s a big boy now.
It happens every day. I recently watched a car jam session I’d taped from the passenger side of our car while my husband drove us around. The kids were singing their hearts out and then I noticed, the seat belt straps on my son’s Graco harness booster seat were way too low to be effective in a car accident. There he was, singing at the top of his lungs and the harness that connects the straps were down, below his chest, closer to his waist! This is how it happens. This is how children end up severely hurt in car accidents. I’d looked at him several times during that car dance party and didn’t notice the straps until watching him on the video, days later. How did I miss this? How can I tune back in, be in the moment of checking and re-checking these belts, when so many times I’m just on autopilot? Should I leave myself a sticky note in the car to remind myself to check his car seat?
I’m in heaven. There’s no other way to describe it. I’m on the vacation of a lifetime, on a megayacht sailing around the French Riviera—Naples, Nice, Puerto Cervo, Capri, Portofino, Antibes, Saint Tropez, and Cannes. My days consist of sleeping in, frolicking in the sun, exploring the wonders of this clear, luring water, flirting with a certain handsome 36-year-old, sightseeing charming ruins, eating amazing food most of which is prepared by a personal chef, binge watching movies or getting caught up on some series, hiking through scenic trails along various ports, and anything else my heart desires. Did I mention that yesterday I took a 4-hour nap and that I’m vacationing without my kids? This is the type of trip that, as the young folk say, gives you life.
I know what you’re thinking–I’m on a vacation of a lifetime, it should give me life! The Siren is a 230-foot-long yacht with six guest cabins and a crew of 18. I’d have to be crazy not to feel super relaxed and like the weight of the mommy world isn’t so heavy. On the Siren, I have discovered some amazing things but they aren’t specific to this fabulous boat or trip, even though the first-class, picturesque voyage doesn’t hurt. I am just blessed to learn these few golden gems here, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and they are important lessons every mom should consider.
Lesson #1: It’s okay.
This trip took me away, and I mean mentally away, from my life at home. Because of the 9-hour time change and without the constant interruption of little, well-meaning people who like to say, “mom, mom, mom,” I have completely disconnected from the mommy load. We all know it’s important to disconnect and recharge from time to time, without kids and without the guilt of not being with kids. That guilt part, however, is difficult.
I‘m the youngest of three, the baby in the family. My older siblings are fraternal twins and that meant I grew up desperately wanting to be a twin myself so that I’d have a playmate and someone with whom I could communicate telepathically (because you know, that’s what you get to do when you’re a twin, so my young mind thought). When that didn’t seem to work, I fought hard to simply be taken seriously as a viable playmate for my brother and sister, only they weren’t having it for the most part. Instead, they wanted very little to do with me. Undeterred, I pestered on and made them include me when possible. If that didn’t work, I ran to my mom who would make them include me and that didn’t always go over so well. I was confident that one day, they would cave to my cuteness, my wit and charm. My ability to belt out Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall word for word, my amazing high score on Intellivision’s Pitfall, or my fast footwork would win them over, eventually (I was the runner in the family and could whip them in any front yard race at any time). I was convinced that one day, they would sincerely like me. I was right.
(Home Video Caption: Gigi sings to her baby brother Avery while he’s in my belly)
Why yes, yes you are privileged. We all are to some degree, depending on who you are, where you live, what you want and a host of other variables.
There’s never enough conversation about the role privilege plays when it comes to getting ahead in life. Too many people believe it has no impact and live in a bubble of privilege, unable to fathom the possibility. To me, it seems ludicrous to think otherwise–how can anyone “make it” without benefiting from myriad factors such as the generations before, gender, racial bias, socio-economic status, and more? Is it possible to “make it” without any type of advantage? By having an unwavering dream and strong work ethic? Are those that “make it” an anomaly who give false hope about what’s really possible?
The tricky thing about privilege is that it is often individually evaluated and defined against personal experiences and agendas. The notion is perpetually misunderstood and even when it appears as if it’s been properly considered, there’s always a way to understand it further, to push further, or consider more. It’s a complex notion worthy of ongoing dialogue and self-reflection. But first, we have to all agree on baseline understandings of the concept and that starts with each of us acknowledging who we are as individuals, our surroundings, circumstances and environment and then weighing those factors against what’s being pursued.
A new quiz created by the Ford Foundation–“What’s Your American Dream Score?“–highlights how privilege at its most granular level impacts chances of success. If you take the quiz it will feel overly simplistic. However, it will force you to consider things you most likely have taken for granted and force you to contemplate privilege from its most basic understanding. I scored a 63 which showed that many factors in my life have worked in my favor, not to my surprise. While many things have helped me along the way, this privilege works in tandem with bias. The reality is, it’s virtually impossible for people to not have any bias about anything–it’s a human quality–and so with that comes factoring in the role of privilege.
Finding a solution to the fight for all types of equality will take many lifetimes and have multiple layers. Being aware of the fundamental origins of privilege and accepting that it impacts everything is a universal first step in the right direction if we are going to truly make long-standing inroads. If you are someone who still doesn’t grasp how the basic facts about someone impacts success, you need to go back to the drawing board, take this quiz, and reconsider the factors in your life that may have impacted your accomplishments.
We are mere weeks away from summer and I am loving the thought of spending fun, carefree days at the beach. The only part I remotely dread is when it’s time to apply sunscreen to my kids. They moan and groan the entire time and if you didn’t know better, you would think I was torturing them or asking them to do something truly horrible.
“Raising A Rukus” is a first-of-its-kind series in virtual reality (VR) and it’s awesome! The 12-minute computer-animated film is packed with beautiful, colorful imagery and heart-warming adventure into different worlds. It felt like I was in a vibrantly colored piece of art. Even more, it was good, quick, clean, family fun.
Despite known concerns about children using technology, ranging from developmental implications and online bullying to addiction, a lot of parents don’t think about technology use before it’s been introduced.
For some, devices replaced the old role of television as babysitter to jump in the shower, make dinner, or have peace and quiet while sitting in traffic. Or use began innocently in school as part of the curriculum and before you know it, your child had homework that required surfing online. For others, it started off as a means to stay connected with distant relatives or so that a child could be reached when needed. Whatever the case, latitude in use often increased without careful thought first and as a result, many of us find ourselves trying to catch up to the technology, provide some guidance, and set limits well after our children are already engaged.