We all know that as kids get older, they crave more responsibility and independence. They also need to develop a strong sense of accountability for their own actions.
In our current culture, this can be especially challenging, as kids and young teens today may not be given as much responsibility as they once naturally encountered on a family farm, household, or business.
I’ll be hosting a free live webinar this Wednesday evening, in which Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions (and a Courageous Parents, Confident Kids contributor) will address these issues and more.
We’ll be gathering online for this live training from 9 to 10 PM Eastern time this Wednesday, May 26th
Amy McCready will share her insights about “Choices & Consequences –-How to Foster Independence AND Accountability” in your family.
I am the host of the webinar and I’ll be participating in the live chat with all the participants, while Amy McCready presents the training via live video.
The training is offered to you at no cost but we need you to register in order to participate. To learn more and sign up, just follow the registration link you’ll find on my MojoMom.com Classes & Events page.
Feel free to share this class info with friends! If you have older Elementary kids and especially rising Middle Schoolers this training is for you. If your kids are younger you may want to join us for a preview of things to come.
I’ve been pondering the end of Lost for weeks now and I do have an audacious ending idea to share with you. But first on a related note, I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday that highlights just how real stories can seem to us.
Mojo Girl: Mom, I heard a myth that if you say Freddy Krueger’s name three times before going to bed, he’ll come and kill you while you are asleep.
[Brief interlude where I explain that as her Mom I can't even go there with such a gruesome discussion overall, but then I try to dig out as best I can with logic....]
Mojo Mom: It’s just a made-up story. You know that Freddy Krueger is not real. It’s like, if someone told you that if you said Darth Vader’s name three times, he’d come get you. You know that could not happen.
Mojo Girl: But Darth Vader couldn’t get me because he’s already DEAD! PSYCH! I win!
These stories and characters do seem real to us…even if these iconic fables are pure fantasy they play a genuine role in our lives. How about Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, and then the witches in Wicked? How about Harry Potter? These iconic stories and characters are a real cultural force.
This month people are talking about the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and where they were when they first saw it. I can tell you that I can mark my true transition to adolescence embarrassingly precisely to the summer of 1980, age eleven turning twelve, the summer when Empire came out. At first I was really mad that Princess Leia gave up on cute and adorable Luke (not yet her brother!) for that jerk Han Solo. Somehow over the course of the summer and seeing the movie again and again (the first and last movie we had on bootleg video) I came to appreciate the bad boy charms of Han Solo and never looked back at my crush on whiny old farm boy Luke.
So that brings me to Lost, an obsession that has sustained me with six years of storytelling. I was not that interested in Lost when I first heard about it. It was a busy time in my life and I didn’t have a lot of time to take on a new television show, but for some reason I decided to watch the first ten minutes of the pilot. Jack’s eye opened, he walked through a quiet yet disorienting scene in the jungle (a Labrador retriever, a sneaker in the tree?)–then Jack emerged from the bamboo and into the plane crash disaster in the beach, and the show had me, and I have never looked back. The way that the story engaged us in the fiery midst of the action rather than introducing us to the characters one by one and then having the crash at the end, like any conventional story would have done, is the key element that drew me in with such curiosity. We were drawn in by the life and death situation and then came to care and wonder who these people were and how they would survive. That structural choice was carried through the whole series with the flashbacks, forwards, and sideways.
I’ve had many Lost theories over the years, and they’ve pretty much all been wrong, but it’s been an interesting mental exercise to puzzle over every step of the way. I’ve savored it like a long-lasting caramel and probed it like the socket left by a lost tooth.
My Lost obsession may have even helped me grow as a writer, seeing what worked for the show and what didn’t (dead-end distractions with Nikki and Paulo, stalling the forward momentum of the story by locking main characters up in bear cages). I would like to think that it doesn’t matter to me exactly what answers we get tonight as long as they pull it into a satisfying conclusion. My main worry at this point is that they really have not left enough time to resolve the ambitious Sideways world storyline.
Losthas pulled in the audience like no other cultural story I have been part of–if you are a disagreeing professional Trekkie please don’t flame me! From message boards to professional commentators like Jeff Jensen on EW.com, to Comic-Con panels, the conversation about Lost has taken on a life of its own. I am just waiting to see which university gives Jeff Jensen and honorary Ph.D. to make an honest “Doc Jensen” out of him.
So I am going to suggest an ending to the series that really honors the way the show has crossed over into the real world.
Spoiler alert! I am making this all up! If I turn out to be right in any way, shape, or form, it will be as much of a surprise to me as it is to you!
This would be controversial and surely upset a lot of people, but in my mind I see a conclusion where the Island timeline and Sideways timeline have to be reset yet again with a cataclysmic Jughead-like reboot. But this time when it goes off, the castaways are all brought back into a totally new timeline, one in which….they are actors trying out for the show Lost.
Gimmicky, perhaps. But what really blows my mind about this idea is that all along we’ve assumed that we’ve been living in the same timeline/universe as they castaways. We think we have lived through their September 22, 2004 when their plane takes off from Sydney. But what if all along we’ve been living in a post-reboot timeline, and didn’t even know it? What if it could happen again? How stable is our own reality? And no matter what, how different will our own personal worlds feel when Lost ends.
In twenty years I hope that I can tell you all about where I was for the Lost finale. As you can see from the invitation, I have friends who are as fanatical about Lost as I am. (Seat 4F, First Class window seat. Nice, except that part about the plane crashing!)
In the meantime I look forward to ordering the most ginormous box set of DVDs the show’s creators are willing to put out, and I would be perfectly happy to go back to the pilot and start watching season one all again. Imagine how different it will all look now that we’ve seen the whole story.
What are your thoughts about the end of Lost? What has to happen tonight for you to be satisfied? And if it’s not a perfect ending, how can we get over any sense of disappointment as soon as possible, to remember what a great ride we’ve had for six seasons? Abrams, Cuse and Lindelof have given us such amazing season finales, especially the Season Three “getting rescued by the Freighter Folks” storyline intertwined with “it’s been flash-forwards….and WE HAVE TO GO BACK.” I am hoping to be blown away tonight, and prepared to forgive all if the finale itself falls short of our completely impossible to meet expectations!
I had a chance to talk to WebMD this week about self care. Check out Gina Shaw’s Web MD piece, A Woman’s Guide to ‘Me’ Time: How to find the time for yourself and why it matters. I was able to get in a few good quotes! Here is my new favorite message: “If you can’t do it because you feel like you deserve it, look at it this way: You are a first responder. An emergency can come up at any time, and you should be as well rested and restored as you’d want your ER doc or EMT to be,” Tiemann says. “And besides, taking care of yourself will make you a better parent and partner. You’ll be more fun to be around and more responsive to your family.”
Thanks to everyone who contributed their comments about how they are practicing self care for this upcoming week. From rollerblading to blogging to meditating, you have lots of great ideas. For the record, I have gotten a few good nights’ sleep myself lately!
Book winners, please use my Contact Form to get in touch with your full name, mailing address, phone number and email address, which I will pass on to the book author, who will fulfill this offer for you! I won’t keep your contact info after I pass it along.
I also wanted to let you all know that Renee Trudeau has a “Reflect, Reclaim & Re-Balance” weekend retreat coming up August 13-15 at the Kripalu Center in Western Massachusetts that sounds divine.
I’ve always hated the iconic image of a mother juggling the baby, keys, and briefcase. (In my opinion it was only original once, on the cover of Allison Pearson’s book I Don’t Know How She Does It.)
But I am posting this crazy photo here precisely because IT IS AN IMPOSSIBLE image. We don’t have six hands yet we continually set up unrealistic expectations as if we do.
Right now I feel like I have to make a 9-1-1 emergency call on behalf of all the Moms in America. I have covered a lot of topics as Mojo Mom but I have a continued interest in mother’s self care because I have not seen the needle move very far, if it all, on Moms’ Self Care Reserves in the seven years I have been talking about it. So many of us (myself included, I will admit) find ourselves on square one, trying to find time to eat a nutritious meal without gulping it down, and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. (Now my friend “Momma Zen” Karen Maezen Miller can tell you how to come to terms with the fact that we are always on square one, and how to work with that, much more eloquently than I can. I will accept my own limitations on that topic and recommend that you read her!)
It helps to talk honestly with other women about this issue. My Courageous Parents Confident Kids collaborator Renee Trudeau is a wonderful expert on the topic, providing lots of great advice, motivation and inspiration, as well as guidance on forming your own Personal Renewal Group. And recently I have connected with a new kindred spirit, Dr. Christine Carter of the Greater Good Science Center at U. C. Berkeley. Her new book Raising Happiness covers the science of raising happy kids, including the fact that parents’ self care is an important foundation for any family.
Christine has offered to give a copy of her book to one lucky MojoMom.com reader. Leave a comment either here or on my Mojo Mom Page on Facebook, telling me one specific rejuvenating and kind activity you will do for yourself over the next week, that is, before Memorial Day Weekend, and I will enter you in a drawing to win a free copy of Raising Happiness.
You can also check out recent Mojo Mom Podcasts with Christine Carter and Renee Trudeau.
Mojo Mom Podcast: What you need to know about new Facebook rules, and, tech and relationship violence
Listen to the podcast now:
Internet safety expert Linda Criddle, president of the Safe Internet Alliance and founder of iLookBothWays.com, returns to the Mojo Mom Podcast to talk about two crucial issues: first, what parents need to know about Facebook’s new privacy policies (or lack thereof, as they sell user data to an ever-widening circle or marketers) and second, an introduction to the risks of technology in the context of teen relationship violence.
I was motivated to invite Linda on the podcast to talk about technology and relationship violence after hearing the May 10 episode of The Diane Rehm Show, which took a broader look at teen relationship violence but also honed in on technology as a tool that abusers can use to control and keep tabs on their partners. Linda Criddle is an excellent expert to continue this conversation, as she has deep knowledge and professional experience in the areas of relationship violence and technology.
Linda is currently working on a guide wtih specific strategeis on Internet Safety for Victims of Violence. When it comes out this summer, the guide will be made available free through Linda’s Website, www.iLookBothWays.com
Linda also contributed a chapter to Amy Tiemann’s latest book, “Courageous Parents, Confident Kids,” teaching parents how to guide their children through the early stages of internet use.
I am renewing my Mojo Mom message that a mother’s self-care and TLC must be a top priority for every family–not just on Mother’s Day, but every day! This week I had the chance to share this message with the TODAY Moms blog, and the TODAY Show promoted it to a top story on the front page of their website. This is very validating because truly, if I could sound a 911 emergency call nationwide for mothers practicing self care, I would do so right now. We are running ourselves ragged and there is very little left for ourselves to enjoy, and little reserve for emergencies, either.
I wish I only had to give Moms one reason to take care of yourselves, namely that you are worth it. But I have found that most women need more convincing than that. So read the post and let me know what you think. If you like this, stay tuned for my Mojo Mom newsletter going out next Tuesday, because I am sending out my new Top 10 Courage Boosters to my whole list. This is designed to help get you to take new steps in caring for yourself as a wonderful, valuable Mojo Mom.
Argh. Argh argh argh. I am so sick of writing posts about how the media so routinely and pervasively excludes women’s perspectives from their coverage of humanity without even realizing that something is missing. You’d think someone would notice when an eighteen-hundred word feature categorizing an entire generation was published without addressing women. But apparently not.
A. O. Scott’s generational profile Gen X Has a Midlife Crisis is currently featured on the home page Week in Review on NYTimes.com While covering Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, Sam Lipsyte’s new book The Ask, and the oeuvre of John Cusack, Scott only managed to throw the tiniest scrap of attention toward anything having to do with women:
At a certain point, Dad buys a sports car, or starts a rock band, or has an affair or walks out on Mom or quits the law firm to make goat cheese. When this kind of thing happens to Mom, it’s not a crisis but an awakening.
But I don’t have a penis! Does that mean I don’t count?
You can imagine how blind this article looks from my perspective, having immersed myself in a world of fantastic, thoughtful, intelligent women authors and bloggers for the past seven years. Many of us have even been writing about Generation X for a very long time. But I guess that it will take more than a blogosphere of smart women to get the New York Times’ attention. And as far as Gen X mothers go, I suspect that A. O. Scott’s But what if you never gave up adolescence in the first place? narrative ran out of steam a good five to fifteen years ago. We’ve been caregivers dealing with the day-to-day, hour-to-hour needs of our families for long enough to have the adolescent cobwebs swept out of our brains.
So am I having a midlife crisis? Yes, absolutely, thanks so much for asking. Like many Gen X women, my crisis now involves sandwich generation issues, as I wrote about recently. As my daughter grows into her tween years and my parents reach their elder years, I feel more squeezed in the middle than I ever could have imagined. And we’re just getting started, which is a little scary. The crisis is getting my attention and forcing me to wake up to the fact that I must create a sustainable path for myself and craft a life that will be physically, mentally and emotionally nourishing for everyone in the family. We spent a lot of time this week leading up to Mother’s Day talking about how to do just that. It was a highly unsentimental yet effective way to mark the holiday.
The supreme irony for me (see, irony, I am Gen X) is that while women have come so far, and each generation is reinventing self and motherhood as they go on, at the same time these core caregiving issues have not been solved or shared equally enough. While A. O. Scott is busy musing on the merits of Hot Tub Time Machine versus The Big Chill, I’ve been having therapy sessions that sound like they’re coming right out of The Feminine Mystique. We seem unable to escape the gravitational pull of the issues of work, life, identity and fairness that come up again and again. And I’d love to be able to discuss these issues beyond the fenced-in neighborhood of a mom-blog, in a societal context that is even larger than motherhood itself. And I wish with all my heart that caregiving was not an issue that fell primarily into the laps of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.
As you can tell, I don’t have all the answers, but I wish The New York Times would wake up and recognize the validity of my questions.
The latest episode of Lost starts in just a few minutes but I like to let the TiVO get ahead so I can skip the ads. I can’t believe there are are only four episodes left! I admit that I will feel a genuine hole in my life when it’s over. As much as I love the show, I feel that it’s lost some of its narrative momentum lately. My spoileriffic guesses (made with no insider knowledge) follow.
I wish I were more familiar with The Hero’s Journey so that I could analyze Lost’s final act through that framework, but I’ll just say this season has been incredibly ambitious, and kind of a mess. The Sideways world narrative actually works for me, but there has been an intolerable amount of ambiguity in the plotline. Is the Man in Black good or Bad? Is Jacob Good or bad? Are both of them lying to us on a regular basis? Is Charles Widmore GOOD or BAD? Was Smokey really the apparition known as Jack’s father–some of the time, or all of the time?
There are many other questions of truth, such as, “Was ghost Michael telling Hurley the truth about what the whispers are?” but it’s those larger questions about whom the Castaways should trust and what they should be doing that have lost steam.
With four episodes left we should have more of an idea of what the goal should be. Although I can appreciate the Lost writers wanting to do a delicate dance between the concepts of good and evil, I think they’ve gone too muddled here. So far I’d say the play Wicked does a much better job with this theme!
Lost has done a masterful job of juggling complex story lines for its entire six seasons and I can’t figure out why they’ve dropped the ball here. Their triumph was intermingling the stories of Jack getting the Oceanic Six off the island with his surprise flash-forward declaration to Kate that “We have to go back!” Brilliant.
Somewhere between the Tunisian desert and the Temple with Zombie Sayid, the complications with the Ilana crew, the Widmore crew, and all of that, I feel that the main thrust of the story got off course. And that’s before we threw the literal characters of Jacob and the Man in Black there. (I actually love them whenever they interact, I just want to know what the deal is, after all this.)
I still hold hope for a solid wrapup–one that makes sense in this universe! Yes, I do care who the Candiadte is and who takes over from Jacob. I love anything with Desmond, Ben, and Locke. I wish Jack would get his leadership mojo back ASAP. I can’t stand a wimpy Jack. I do believe that he and all the other castaways will have to make heartbreaking choices when it comes time to figure out which universe and timeline will prevail–I do believe that one will continue on and the other will have to go POP.
My favorite image of a final scene is Ben and John Locke sitting on a beach, knowing they will be there together in eternal opposition that also represents eternal balance. Who has taken over for Jacob who for the Man in Black? I don’t know, and I think it’s kind of delicious that it could go either way at this point.
My other bold prediction is that we’ve had a whole lot of time traveling but never really seen anyone come from the future. I think that Mr. Abbadon is grown up Walt. And in fact I think it might be that in the end the whole scenario was engineered by Walt somehow, to make things come out right. I’ve been sensing an Agatha Christie Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None vibe lately and I will go out on a limb and say that before the show ends, we’ll find out that one of our original core castaways was someone far different than the person we perceived them to be. This will enable us to fill the hole in our lives by going back to rewatch the whole series again starting with Season One, because we will see the whole show in a new light. I am voting for Walt to be that game-changer because at some points, he was very important to the story but it never came full circle.
Like Wicked. Once again, I can’t help but compare. I’ve read the book and seen the show once, but now that we’ve listened to the soundtrack 100 times in my car, because the show is playing in Durham and we’re going to see it again, I am amazed that every time I listen through the CD, I get new insight. And that’s without even seeing the show again.
Given that we’ve had “Henry Gale” (really Ben) saying he flew in on a balloon, and the season 4 finale called “There’s No Place Like Home,” I don’t think that show runners JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carleton Cuse or my Lost guru Doc Jensen would mind the comparison. Here’s hoping they can come up with a finale we will want to watch as many times as we’ve all seen The Wizard of Oz.