slut

 

 

I may incite the rage of many a blogger here, in this day of sexual harassment, objectification of women and rape culture. But I’m going to say it.

I’M A SLUTTY WHORE. 

Jarring? That’s all right. The blogosphere is a think tank.

 

Is it bad to be a slutty whore? Really? When did that happen?

I thought that whole stifled sexuality thing went out in the 50’s. By 1969, wanton Woodstock nymphos were taking on bushy haired bohemians two at a time in the mud at Yasgur’s farm, urged on by Country Joe and the Fish.

He spelled out F-U-C-K to the crowd. They did it.

They just don't make rock festivals like they used to

They just don’t make rock festivals like they used to

 

They were slutty whores.

I love being a slutty whore.  Not being labeled one by others.

ON MY TERMS.

The words “slut” and “whore” are aggressive. But I will not let society control me with the use of these words.

Being labeled “slutty whore” by others is abhorrent. In a patriarchal society, there is an inherent danger in these words. Because these words support Rape Culture. Blaming the victim is the dark side of the American Way.

There are compelling reasons to support sensitivity around the use of these words; why feminists fight against the use of these words.

Sexual harassment is UGLY. Objectifying women is UGLY.

.

Still, I’M A SLUTTY WHORE.

And simultaneously, a card carrying feminist.

I’m wholly independent, and always have been. I’ve supported myself since I was 16 years old, and support a child as well. On my own.

If that’s not female empowerment, in a world where not only are women competing against men for jobs, but where we are all competing in a global environment for gainful employment, than nothing is.

 

I’m not always a slutty whore. In this moment, I’m in a thick fluffy purple bathrobe and matching slippers.

I’ve just fed Little Dude homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk, and he’s doing his homework while I blog. I’m in full-on Mom Mode.

bathrobe-cocktails 2

Homework really fucks with Mama’s cocktail hour

 

But later on, tonight maybe? Will I be a slutty whore?

i’m a single mom. I should be so lucky.

 

There are many situations in which being a slutty whore, is, in my opinion, a positive thing.

1. In Bed with Your Man (or Woman)

Here is where you should be the sluttiest whore you can. Why not? This is a key component to sheet ripping sex.

If you love the person, all the better. Extra credit if you’re married. Triple extra credit if you’ve been married 10 years or more.

Can you imagine couples married for 20 years with enough fire in the relationship for the wife to want to be a slutty whore in bed? That’s extraordinary. It’s not just long-term companionship, which can be wonderful. It’s a 2-decade hot and heavy romance, and that, in my book, is PURE GOLD.

 

2. Going Out/Escaping Real Life

When I was in my 20’s, I went out clubbing in New York all the time, and yes, I frequently dressed like a slutty whore. That’s what your 20’s are for.

These days, I’m a working mom. I’m in total denial about my age, which is somewhere between 30 and none of your business. I rarely go out, and when I do, Saturday nights at Applebee’s is not the forum for a slutty outfit.

BUT – don’t we all, even just once in a great while, need to put on a costume and play at being something we’re not? Or a reminder of what we were? Don’t we all occasionally need that brief respite from being a Parent and a Grown Up and a Super Responsible Human Being?

Last December, I saw Patti Smith perform at a club in New York. I was meeting up with college friends I hadn’t seen in 22 years.  And it was Patti Smith’s birthday concert.

I damn sure went all out and dressed pretty goddamned slutty to pay homage to my High Priestess of Rock.

I wore black, skin-tight, low-cut clothing and high-heeled, over the knee black boots.

THESE BOOTS WERE NOT MADE FOR WALKING

These boots were NOT made for walking

 

Little Dude actually blocked the door.

“MOM! You can’t leave here LOOKING like that!”

It was the first time he’d ever seen Mama look like a rap video ho, and he did not like it one bit. He’s fine, now that I’m back in the fuzzy bathrobe. Hopefully, he hasn’t been scarred for life.

 

3. Shopping For Lingerie.

My girlfriend was recently divorced after being married 15 years. Her husband simply tired of her, and right about now her self esteem resembles my house after Hurricane Sandy.

She’s a no-nonsense gal who bought her underwear at the supermarket in a Hanes 3-pack labeled “Designed to Make a Man Go Limp.”

I marched her off to Victoria Secret, and we bought some smokin’ hot lingerie sets. Because she wants to date, and feel hot and sexy and good about herself again. And it will make her feel like a goddess to have that kind of lingerie on under her clothing when she’s out on a date – lingerie designed to be ripped off your body later.

 

My college BFF fought a brutal battle against breast cancer. An entire year of pure torture. But she fought like an amazon warrior. She recently had her reconstruction done, and we went online and ordered a cornucopia of bras. Some were pretty, some demure. But some were super charged, high octane slutty bras that say,

“HELLO, WORLD. CHECK THESE PUPPIES OUT. I’M ALIVE, AND I’M HERE.”

Because if ever a woman needs to feel that way, it’s her after what she endured this past year.

Her boobs will damn sure be saying "Hello!"

Her boobs will damn sure be saying “Hello!”

 

4. Blogging.

I’m not talking about writing a sex blog (although by all means, do. Whatever tickles your pickle.) I’m talking about using those words when you write.

“Slutty whore” is an incredibly evocative phrase. When you write, “I was such a slutty whore when I was in high school,” we know JUST the girl you were.

Words inform the mind. They thrill and excite, kindle the flame, affect as powerfully as physical actions. Wordplay is life. Handle with care, but USE them.

 

5. Out With the Girls

It’s like African Americans using the N-word. Outside the community, it’s a racial slur. Inside the community, it’s an expression of solidarity. My girlfriends and I have reclaimed those words, and if we want to banter with them, by God, we will.

They’re multiple meaning words. We can use them to express appreciation or dismay. For example:

“Ooh! Where did you get those, you whore?” might be said to my girlfriend who has on the perfect pair of stiletto ankle boots.

“Ugh! You tragic whore,” I might say to the same girlfriend, when she shows up 30 minutes late for coffee.

Any excuse to use a Regina George reference.

 

Hopefully, you understand me. To use these terms pejoratively is one thing.

But to describe yourself that way in a celebration of your own uninhibited freedom;

to rejoice in the escape from your everyday world of work/mom/PTO drudgery;

to bond with friends in an exclusive language that allow you to metaphorically take back the night;

to be evocative with words; words – the lifeline that connects this cherished community of comrades;

Right now, I’m not a slutty whore.

 

I’m a blogger.  And I want to know how you feel about those words. 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Your Kid is NOT That Bright

September 18, 2014 — 151 Comments
It's all about the Benjamins

It’s all about the Benjamins

We’re ALL in denial when it comes to our kids.

You know that book/movie/episode of Sex and the City “He’s Just Not That Into You?”

Your kid is Just Not That Bright.

Ouch. That HURT.

But I felt it was necessary to rip the bandaid off quickly, rather than prolong the agony. Sometimes brutal honesty is better than sugarcoated fantasy (which, although a great porno name, is not going to help you understand my point.)

It doesn’t do you any good for me to feed you the same bullshit the schools have been feeding you all these years.

I know you think your kid is smart. After all, he has a 4.0 GPA in school, doesn’t he? Or a 3.8?

As a matter of fact, she’s a National Honors Society member.

But trust me, this doesn’t mean anything. It may have everything to do with grade inflation; rampant cheating; tenure; weighted averages, grade grubbing – so many factors.

He could be in the top 10 percent of the class and still…not be that bright.

 

“Dammit, why does she keep SAYING that?!!”

I guess I’m hoping to take the sting out of the words through repetition.

I have found that even the most realistic, evolved parents harbor a little bit of denial when it comes to their offspring.

Take Little Dude, for example. He’s super bright (or is he? I’d like to think he is, but after all, I AM his mom. And by definition, this puts me in the paradoxical situation of writing about a phenomenon that I myself may fall prey to).

Okay, let’s assume he’s bright. Not super gifted genius bright, but above average bright.

However, he has a lot of behavioral flaws. He’s defiant, smart mouthed – a difficult 10-year-old (or 17-year-old). Over the years, I have tried to be realistic about his flaws, but I’m sure I still see him in a better light then some other parents see him.

When he’s hanging with his buds, and smashes another kid over the head with a lightsaber, I’m sure the parents of his friend with the fresh head wound is now going to think of my kid as “that maniac.”

I think he’s … spirited. They think he’s a hyena.

 

Every parent whose kid has less than stellar academic performance goes dragging their kid off to the pediatric neurologist, looking for answers.

ANY ANSWER:

ADD. ADHD. Visual Perceptual deficit. Auditory Processing Disorder. Sensory Processing Disorder. Dyspraxia. Dyslexia. Dyscalculia. Dysgraphia.

It’s actually a GOOD thing that kids are no longer seen as just good and bad, smart and dumb.

It’s a positive thing, and a long time coming, that many developmental learning issues have been identified and are now addressed in schools so that every kid has a chance to learn.

The downside to this is,

THERE ARE NO DUMB KIDS ANYMORE.

NONE. NADA. ZIP.

This is what I want to focus this post on.

 

Where have all the dumb kids gone?

Some of the other issues I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I’ll discuss in subsequent posts.

When I was growing up (wow, nothing like that phrase to make you sound old), there were smart kids, there were average kids, and there were dumb kids.

It was fairly easy to identify the dumb kids. In middle school, they were the ones sitting in the back of the room, shooting spitballs in Mr. Gleason’s crappy hairpiece.

In high school, they were the ones standing outside, huddled together in leather jackets smoking cigarettes and lighting Mr. Gleason’s car on fire.

To hear parents speak today, there are simply no dumb kids. How can that be? We’ve all come into contact with dumb adults, haven’t we? Possibly you’ve asked them for help while shopping at Best Buy. Occasionally they work airport security, or dance around inside purple dinosaur costumes.

So, weren’t they, more than likely, just not so bright as kids? And isn’t there a possibility that there are some not-so-bright kids roaming around TODAY?

If there are, it NEVER gets blamed on intelligence.

A close friend of mine has a son who’s just not that bright.  She constantly refers to him as “intelligent” but “with delays.”

Now maybe it’s easy for me call a spade a spade because my kid doesn’t have intelligence issues, but delays? The kid was dumb.

She ended up having him repeat kindergarten, TWICE. Never mind that he’ll be shaving before he leaves middle school. He’s just “delayed.”

 

I can already hear the indignant denouncements of the outraged politically correct baby boomers.

How dare I use the word dumb?

I’ll tell you how I dare. For one, it’s nicer than stupid.

The world is just not created equal.

I can already see, at 10, that my son is not a “natural” athlete. He’s better than he USED to be because I run him like a dog (I know – the dad’s job –right? I’m the one in the backyard with a ball and a glove like a dipshit). And yes, he’s improved, and will continue to.

But some kids his age can run a ball on a soccer field like Lionel Messi. The “delayed” son of my friend can run faster than a speeding bullet. Maybe it’s because his brain weighs less than all the other kids.’

And I can and do compare my son’s artistic ability to that of my friend’s kids.  My girlfriend’s daughter can already draw, at 9 years old, the kind of artwork I would consider framing and hanging up. I can see that, Little Dude is NO Da Vinci. Here is his latest drawing:

drawing

 

 

So why am I, and probably other parents, willing to admit when our kids are not naturally athletic, or artistic, or musical – but DON’T WANT to admit that our kids are just not that smart?

Because BEING SMART HELPS WITH EVERYTHING YOU DO IN LIFE.

If you can’t paint, throw a hellish long pass, play the tuba, or win a beauty contest you can still have a very successful life.

But if you’re not smart, you’re kind of screwed.

 

I recently spoke to a mother, an incredibly bright Ivy League Graduate. Her youngest son has learning “issues.” He has an IEP; an Individualized Education Program, which is a written document that’s developed for each public school child who is eligible for education. 

I inquired as to nature of these issues. The mom, as bright and articulate as she is, could not tell me anything specific. She had just identified early on that her son was having difficulties in school. She asked his teacher if she felt her son was experiencing any kind of learning delays; the teacher did not.

She demanded that the child study team test her son. They did and found nothing diagnosable wrong with him.

She then went to a private doctor, and was given a diagnosis sufficient to garner her son the aforementioned IEP. Her answer, when I asked what specifically was his diagnosis, was that he had “broad spectrum learning disability.”

What IS that?

I tried googling it.

It doesn’t exist.

Is there anything even “wrong” with her son? Who’s to say?

Many experts found nothing they could specifically pin down; the expensive specialist she went to gave her a diagnosis that doesn’t exist on the Internet.

What if her son was just not that bright?

What if she just had enough money to find a doctor who would give her what she was looking for – a reason to explain away her son’s sub-par academic performance? That would certainly make her feel better about having given birth to a “C” student who doesn’t have an iceberg’s chance in hell of attending her college alma mater.

 

The benefits of having broadened our educational system to accommodate kids with learning disabilities are extolled resoundingly.

The damage this may be doing, on the other hand, is completely hush hush. No one wants to think that people exploit the system so they can do something as unfair as get their kids undeserved extra accommodations. I see it all the time.

 

Let’s say you’re one of the smart, professional, educated parents with plenty of resources – and you  were unwilling to have your child – who may or may not have a learning disability – struggle in school.  And you choose to utilize all the support necessary to help your child.

BUT – when does utilization become exploitation?

Because remember – even with all the fancy diagnoses available, some of the kids with these quasi non-specific diagnoses are just not that bright.

Schools must accommodate these kids. Once diagnosed and given an IEP or 504, schools are legally bound to. But even with all those extra accommodations, a student whose parent fought to get them one of these bogus diagnoses is going to flounder.

In high school. In college.

And definitely in life, where IEPs DO NOT exist.

This is the where this debacle REALLY impacts us.

Let me state this, for the record: I would never suggest that some students do not legitimately deserve and benefit from these accommodations. I would never try to minimize the importance of the Special Education system in our country, and how much good it has done to help millions of kids with learning disabilities.

But I wouldn’t have written about this kind of exploitation if I didn’t know a parent, a special education teacher, tell me right out that there was nothing discernably wrong with her child.

Her kid was just a crappy student who did terribly on tests, and she told me she knew how to “work the system” to get her kid extra time on tests.

This is the type of parent I am talking about. Only one of them had the balls to come right out and say it.

But she’s like a cockroach – for every one you spot, there’s a hundred more hidden somewhere.

And this mangled intersection of finance, education and politics is not IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR CHILDREN.

 

What do you think about the accommodations made for kids who really don’t need them, vs kids who do? 

Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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banana (2)

Author’s Note: I originally ran this post last year, when I had been blogging all of 2 weeks and had 12 followers.
Thought it might be fun to break it out of The Vault.

My friend and her husband are ending their marriage over the most banal of issues – sex.

“But Samara, your marriage didn’t work out. Should you be passing judgement?”

Shut yer pie hole! My marriage didn’t end because I wouldn’t blow my husband!

They’re ending their marriage because they are “sexually incompatible.” He wants her to do certain things that she hasn’t done since they were dating. He’s angry that she’s being “withholding.” She’s angry that he’s a “sex addict” (whatever THAT is).

Essentially, they are ending their marriage over blow jobs.

I do not profess to be a sexpert. I hope none of you will think I’m using gratuitous sex to generate followers (does it work? Cause I’ll include pictures.)

If I were to write a manual on how to have a successful marriage, I would name it,

“Put Your Mouth On His Dick.”

Perhaps the ladies are not digging this. The guys probably are. Fuck them. Of course they want to read about how I’m pro blow. But hear me out. This is not for them. It’s about keeping marriages alive.

For some reason, in the marital bed, blow jobs seems to go bye-bye. Not initially, but after say, 5 years of marriage. Maybe 10. Life is stressful. Marriage is hard work. The tub needs to be recaulked. The dog has gingivitis. The PTO chair lady just died in your house and now you have to get rid of the body.

Women work 24/7. Outside the home, inside the home – it never stops. The last thing some feel like doing, during sex, is more work. And there’s a reason it’s called a “job.”

With intercourse, you can lay there and get intercoursed in a rather non participational way. And he’ll still be happy. What does he care? He just needed the valves cleaned out. Even if you were reviewing the Christmas shopping list in your head.

A good shop vac requires much more participation. You can’t really play the electric meat whistle mellifluously while pondering the sale of your kidney to pay off the home equity loan.

When you were first together, you used to bob some knob.  Sex with him was new, and you were turned on enough to do just about anything. Now? Sex with him is predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The one thing I liked about The Ex was that he always knew how to get me there.  Almost as good as I could myself (I said almost).

But old sex lacks the fire of new sex. There is a quality called New Relationship Energy (NRE) that makes women do things they stop doing, eventually. You CAN’T. You just can’t stop smoking the pole because you’ve been married forever.

Here’s an analogy. Let’s say, you adore shoe shopping. Putting on new pair of shoes makes you feel limitless. Sexy. Powerful. Now imagine, every time you want to shoe shop, your husband says, “No.”

But, you tell him, “I need that. It makes me feel good. Plus, I earn my own money so this is a moot point.”

And he says, “No.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“It’s not my thing.”

“I don’t enjoy picking pubic hairs out of my teeth.” (just go with it.)

Just accept the fact that even if you’ve been married forever, you have to slurp the gherkin once in a while. His birthday. New Year’s Eve. Columbus Day. Passover. Tu B’Shevat. Penguin Awareness Day.

Ladies, just suck it up. Pun intended.

Pretty much anything you do down there will work. But The Ex claimed I knew how to operate a joy stick. So, I will share.

This is not about oral as foreplay, but blow job as main event. An entire five paragraph persuasive essay – with an introduction, body paragraph, and a conclusion. The kind where you swallow.

FIRST:

MEN- CLEAN UP DOWN THERE!  We don’t need a big whiff of dirty dick funk. If you want us to put our mouths on your penis, be hospitable! There is no excuse for having a funky dick!

Consider yourselves warned.

Let us proceed:

1. A little eye contact goes a long way. Pull your hair back so he can watch. Put on a show. (Don’t roll your eyes and look aggravated. This is a mood breaker.)

2. You may want to get your hands in on the action. The average mouth is 2-3 inches. The average penis is 5-6. Do the math, and call in for back up. And for Christ sake, wet your hands a little. Don’t dry rub the guy. You’re not at a Boy Scout Jamboree, trying to start a fire rubbing 2 sticks together.

3. It also helps to eliminate your gagging reflex completely. Of course, this is physically impossible. But a girl can try. Practice deep throating a water bottle. Not if your man is white.

4. NO TEETH. I know that some women do the whole “let me just graze it with my teeth” thing. HELL NO. Keep the chompers OFF. The perfect blow job would, in fact, be given by a gorgeous woman with removable dentures.

5. Have some idea of what kind of intensity your guy likes. Not everyone wants to be sucked like a Dyson upright (but a surprisingly large percentage do).

6. Don’t forget the twins. Cup them. Fondle them. Gently. Don’t throw them around like you’re rolling dice in a Vegas crap game.

7. Hum. Why do you think they call it a hummer? Hum a little tune while he’s in your mouth. Nothing complicated. I like “Ave Maria.” Go for seasonal. Maybe some Christmas carols.

8. Swirl your tongue around on the coronal ridge – the part where the shaft meets the head. It’s extremely sensitive. Covered in nerve endings. So, go lightly. Otherwise, it’s like clamping two jumper cables to each nut sack

9. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can always go for the perineum. The taint.The little area just past the family jewels. Right underneath it is his prostate gland. So, it’ll actually fit in with the whole Movember thing.

I strongly advocate the Power of the Blow Job. When I was married, I could pretty much get The Ex to agree to do anything after I’d blown him.

Me: “Honey, would you mind replacing the roof and repainting every room in the house?”

Him: (post blow job) “Sure, babe.”

And the whole gift thing? Pfft. Forget that. Every other wife is running around, pushing through crowded department stores trying to find him the perfect birthday gift for the umpteenth time. I NEVER had to do that.

I just had to brush my teeth.

The Ex always tells our son he fell madly in love with me because of my cooking. I love to cook. I own tons of cookbooks. I actually own 20 years of the Thanksgiving issue of Gourmet Magazine. I DO. I’m very domestic. I know – totally incongruous with many aspects of my personality, but true, nevertheless.

I have an amazing collection of Julia Child videos from her 1960’s television show “The French Chef,” which I got on Amazon.

The first time I cooked dinner for him, I agonized over the menu. It had to be perfect. For dessert, I made Julia Child’s internationally famous chocolate souffles. These exuberantly rich gravity-defying bites of chocolaty heaven are an ambitious endeavor. And painstakingly intense to time. I went trench coat-loony making sure the souffles would come out of the oven at the precise right moment.

And where do you think they ended up? In the bedroom, all over us. Him, specifically. I basically licked the damn souffle off Mr. Winky. All that work was WASTED.  I could just have easily bought a few Dunkin Donuts and played Ring Toss the Boom Stick.

Incidentally, I don’t really think he married me for my cooking. I think that’s something he tells Little Dude. Cause it’s not nice to tell a 10 year-old, “Son, Mama sure can suck the chrome off a tail pipe!”

But –  maybe it was my cooking. Anything’s possible. In which case, this entire post is without merit. And what you really need to watch is this:

A tribute to Julia Child on her 100th birthday, set to Guns N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

You MUST watch this. Hilarious, goofy, bizarre Julia. I adore her. I love her ditzy commentary:

“We’re having four vegetarians for dinner. I mean, we’re not going to EAT them, but I have to make a vegetarian dinner!

Either way, whether it was my cooking, or my blow jobs, as Julia would say:

Bon Appetit!

Do couples forget to please each other after they’ve been married a long time?  
Is Julia Child not the wackiest broad on television?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Untitled

 

Little Dude is a “walker,” which means he does not require bus transportation to school. His school is, in fact, at the end of my block. Six houses away. 270 steps from the end of my driveway.

I know this because the other day I counted them.

There’s a thin strip of street to cross, which is fervently policed by Gayle, the cheerful blonde Crossing Guard. I live on a quiet, tree-lined block. The only traffic, outside of school arrival and dismissal, is the occasional car belonging to someone who lives in my development.

I’ve walked my kid to and from school every day since kindergarten. Last fall, as he was entering the 4th grade, he begged for the opportunity to walk the 1000 feet himself.

I was torn. In theory, it seemed very safe. In fact, I could stand and observe him walk to the end of the block until he was under the watchful eye of cheery Gayle. It’s probably a 4 minute walk. What could possible go wrong?

Apparently, everything. I have a Facebook page for my civilian, non-blogging friends and family who actually don’t know I even have a blog. I posted. asking for opinions. More than 50 very adamant people weighed in. All but one were convinced that letting my child walk to the end of the block was a potentially life threatening decision, akin to child abuse. Because even in that short span of both time and place, anything could happen.

I decided against letting him walk alone to school. Full disclosure: it wasn’t because all these dogged opinions persuaded me that it was unsafe to do so.

It was because I didn’t want to be judged by the other parents.

I didn’t want to be “that” mom; the one who doesn’t take care of her son correctly. I didn’t want to impact my son’s social life. People where I live are shallow. They’ve just barely learned to accept the fact that I refuse to wear the local suburban mom uniform: Juicy sweat suit, large Louis Vuitton bag, Tory Burch shoes.
(I’m lying about the Tory Burch shoes. I have a shoe addiction so that doesn’t count)

I was afraid I’d be judged as “the mother who doesn’t care if her kid gets kidnapped.” So everyday, I walked him.

After all, (clamored the cacophony of voices on my Facebook page) things are so different today.

When I was a kid, I walked to school everyday, starting in kindergarten. I survived. Well, I got my ass kicked a lot of days. But that was because I grew up an outcast in a predominately black housing project. No kidnapping was involved.

As kids we played outside all day, with no adult supervision. I rode my bike to the library. On summer nights all the kids were outside after dinner until dark, with nary a grownup in sight. You came home when the street lights came on. Or if your mama called for you.

Occasionally, if you heard gunshots.

I’m just keeping it real. It was a nasty, crime-infested housing project.

In 2008, A New York City journalist and mother of 2 named Leonore Skenazy made the controversial decision to allow her 9-year-old to take the subway home from school alone. He begged to, and she felt he was ready to handle the experience. Lenore Skenazy is an Ivy League-educated journalist who has written for several prominent newspapers. I would assume she’s an intelligent person, capable of making a well-informed decision.

She published an article about it and the backlash was intense. It became national news overnight, eventually receiving worldwide coverage. She was verbally annihilated for risking her child’s life. Editorially drawn and quartered for child abuse. Dubbed the “world’s worst mom.”

Was she? She researched statistics to support what she felt was a reasonable and informed decision.

And I agree with her.

I wholeheartedly believe that what has changed most is not the increased risk of kidnapping, but our own psyches. I believe we are a fear based culture. A fear based world, actually, fearful beyond the scope of child rearing. Global fear is the undercarriage of racism, war, homophobia and intolerance of all kinds.

I believe we learn fear. I believe some parents blanket themselves in fear as a cushion of superiority; an indication as to who’s the most careful parent, because being stifling and overbearing is mistaken for valid concern. Fear-based über parenting is the barometer by which we measure the quality of our child rearing.  I also believe that we are inundated with gruesome stories of child abductions and murders which dominate he media, thus blowing out of proportion the real facts around these crimes.

 

I subscribe to the method of parenting whose name Skenazy coined in response to the overwhelming uproar of censure she received. Free range parenting was developed by Skenazy as the antithesis to helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parenting is – well, picture a helicopter hovering a few feet above you, blades rotating furiously. Think about the parents you know who do every little thing for their kids. Helicopter parenting is not just about being “hyper present;” it’s about the wrong kind of presence.

Some parents are like that because they’re neurotic and refuse to allow their children to learn and grow.  And sadly, some women are like that because they feel guilty about the choice they made – a very valid one- to work inside the home as stay at home caregiver. To justify their choice, they perform Herculean acts of parenting so the world understands just how imperative it is that they be home. Little Johnny would die if the crusts weren’t cut off his sandwich. The next thing you know, little Johnny is in college and his mom is calling his professors when he gets a bad grade.

Richard Mullendore, professor at the University of Georgia has an interesting theory regarding the manifestation of helicopter parenting. He blames it on the pervasiveness of cell phones – which he refers to as “the world’s longest umbilical cord.”

Antipodal to helicopter parenting, free range parenting is empowering your child towards independence and allowing them to make mistakes. It’s evaluating the perceived danger of a situation logically and making decisions based on facts. It’s rendering kids susceptible to the lumps and bumps of childhood and raising kids who walk around smart, not scared.

 

With regards to allowing your child to play outside unsupervised, walk to school, etc, what are the facts? Lenore Skenazy referenced statistics she obtained from the Department of Justice.

1. U.S. violent crime rates have plummeted almost 50% since they peaked in 1992.

2. Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005:

31% were killed by fathers
29% were killed by mothers
23% were killed by male acquaintances
7% were killed by other relatives
3% were killed by strangers

3. Number of children killed each year by family members and acquaintances: About 1000
Number of children abducted in “stereotypical kidnappings” (kidnapped by a stranger for ransom or for sexual purposes and/or transported away) in 1999, the most recent year for which we have statistics: 115.
Number of those children killed by their abductor: About 50.

Murders of children by abductors constitute less than one half of 1% of all murders in America.

Crime rates, in fact, are down. It is only our perception of crime – a fear based perception – that is up.

Interestingly enough, 200,000 kids under 14 are injured every year in car accidents. Doesn’t stop parents from piling 6 of them in a minivan for soccer practice.

I do not want my child unsafe. Nor do I want to make light of the horrific things that can happen to children, to anyone. The instinct to protect our children is biological. I personally morph into scary Mama Bear if I think Little Dude is in any kind of danger.

But I do not want my child growing up fearful. I’ll not have him live a life borne out of the constant onslaught of horror stories brought on by the media – stories whose purpose I question. Are they to inform? Or to quench our appetite for the macabre and disturbing; to confirm that our children are in danger the moment we take them out of the bubble wrap?

 

This year, I did not succumb to societal pressure, nor an anticipated trickle down backlash against my son. Little Dude walks himself to and from school everyday. And no- I do not stand at the door, watching him walk. I kiss him goodbye and sit at my kitchen table, coffee in hand, and take that great leap of faith.

In his book Protecting the Gift, child-safety expert Gavin De Becker explains that compared to a stranger kidnapping, “a child is vastly more likely to have a heart attack, and child heart attacks are so rare that most parents (correctly) never even consider the risk.”

So let all the other mothers in the neighborhood judge me. Maybe they ought to think about that heart attack statistic, and take the artery clogging Ho Hos and potato chips out of their kids lunches, and mind their own damn business.

Would you let your child walk to school alone, or play outside unsupervised? What do you think of what Lenore Skenazy did? Is the world really that much more dangerous than in was when we were growing up?
Talk to me.    I’m listening.

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1. Congratulations on your engagement. Your fiancé gave venereal warts to every housewife at the gym. His ball sack is a hot bed of disease and infection.

2. If I can’t afford it, and I have to have it, I’ll just shop lift it.

3. Why are you so engrossed in your cell phone conversation? Are you a transplant doctor awaiting a donor heart? Someone could strap a pair of cymbals to their feet, and kidnap your child and you would be oblivious.

4. No, it’s not a “difficult age.” Your kid is an animal. We’re in a restaurant, so please, don’t just stand there while he caterwauls like someone shitting farm equipment. I would like to enjoy my meal. If you don’t learn to control him, I will cut you and dance in the blood.

5. I know being morbidly obese is horrible and challenging in a million ways. and it’s probably glandular and I’m sure you’re a lovely human being. But in the mean time, stop blocking the entire aisle at the fucking supermarket. The regular sized people need food, too.

6. Oh my God, your baby is UGLY. SCARY ugly. Did they yank his head out with forceps? Is it too early to consider plastic surgery? Get that shit fixed so he doesn’t scare the other babies.

7. For the love of everything holy, please brush your teeth. Your breath smells like feces. Would you like a tic tac, or some toilet paper? While you’re deciding, I’ll be over here donning an oxygen mask, so you don’t singe my eyebrows.

8. No. Your kid is not a “bad test taker.” He’s just dumb. Remember dumb kids? Yes. They still exist. You own one. You should sterilize him so that he does not reproduce.

9. Stop being so incredibly nasty to me, PTO whore. Our kids go to school together. If you continue to act bitchy to me, so help me God I will fuck your husband six ways till Sunday.

10. Place don’t sit next to me, please don’t sit next to me, please don’t – oh my God, you smell like Big Foot’s Dick. Your BO could be used in international bioterrorism. Next time you go out in public, please take a shower, heathen.

11. Heroin is awesome. It’s so convenient that the dealers are selling it behind all the high schools. And in those economy-sized little $5 baggies.

12. Good thing I am not a crazy person, or this Godforsaken supermarket parking lot would be littered with the dead.

13. I know you just farted. My eyes are watering and suddenly the room smells like an exploded septic tank.

14.  I could just totally punch you in your misshapen annoying face and run away because you don’t know me and you couldn’t report me if you wanted to.

15. Oh, dear Lord. I look ridiculous. Am I really wearing a backwards baseball cap? Forgive me, world. It’s a frantic attempt to beat back death. In a few short years, I’m going to be shopping in Forever 21, trying to get a discount with my AARP card.

 

Do you think things you would never say out loud?  C’mon. Your turn.
Talk to me.   I’m listening.