Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Talk to Little Girls


I found this article in the Huffington Post by Lisa Boom-- LOVED IT!

I went to a dinner party at a friend's home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!"

But I didn't. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.

That's why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

"Maya," I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, "very nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too," she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

"Hey, what are you reading?" I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I'm nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

"I LOVE books," I said. "Do you?"

Most kids do.

"YES," she said. "And I can read them all by myself now!"

"Wow, amazing!" I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

"What's your favorite book?" I asked.

"I'll go get it! Can I read it to you?"

Purplicious was Maya's pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.
Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It's surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I'm stubborn.

I told her that I'd just written a book, and that I hoped she'd write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we'd read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.

So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya's perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she's reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You're just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.

And let me know the response you get at www.Twitter.com/lisabloom and Facebook.

Here's to changing the world, one little girl at a time.

For many more tips on how keep yourself and your daughter smart, check out my new book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, www.Think.tv

Diaper Genie II for $15.90

Right now, Diapers.com has the Diaper Genie II Pail for only $15.90.  Just add it to your cart for $31.79, then use coupon code OFFGENIE to cut it down to $15.90. Shipping will only cost $2.99.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Mother's Influence on Beauty

Growing up in our culture can be daunting- especially as a girl. I felt like I was always receiving messages about how I should feel, act and look. "You shouldn't wear orange if you're a red head." "Always cross your ankles and never your legs." "Never go out in public without makeup." "Never speak your mind because it might be offensive to somebody." There were a lot of silent messages, too. I would be standing in line at the grocery checkout and notice all of the magazines with girls with perfect, tan skin, with their collar bones visible and figured that's what I would need to look like to be considered beautiful in our society. Luckily, I had a great mother to counteract these false definitions of beauty.

My mom trained me about beauty from a young age. She would often comment on how grossly skinny some girls were. Or she'd mention that I looked beautiful. Anytime she'd hear me commenting about how wide my hips were or how upset I was about the size of my breasts, she'd remind me that I was beautiful and that my body was a gift from God. She also taught me about the importance of looking like a real woman with curves and how part of our purpose as women is to bring children into the world. Without real hips, breasts, fat storage etc. this wouldn't be possible.

My parents have always been affectionate with each other. I remember my dad always complimenting my mom on how beautiful she was. My mom and dad would go out on fancy dates at least once a month where my mom would wear a silk blouse, skirt and stilettos and put on some flashy lipstick. I always thought she looked beautiful. The funny thing is, my mom isn't exactly tan nor was she a size 2. She knew how to take care of herself and her body and she had confidence that radiated beauty.

My mom is definitely the one who provided the foundation for my definition of beauty to come about. Without the great example of my mother and regular conversations with her regarding healthy body image, wellness and beauty, I would still be very confused and trying to figure out how to fit in. Mothers (and fathers) have such a huge impact on shaping their children's definition of beauty. One expert said, "Parents who maintain healthy attitudes about their own bodies, who model healthy eating behaviors, and who provide nutritious food for their family, preparing, serving, and sitting down to eat meals together with children as frequently as is possible, virtually immunize their child from developing eating problems."1 I thought of a few things that my parents did and wanted to share them with you. Obviously, these tips aren't fool proof, but they will definitely provide a great base from which your can learn and grow.

Here are some tips for mothers to help influence their daughters' definitions of beauty:

1. Never demean your own body. People can tell if you aren't satisfied with your body. It will radiate in how you carry yourself, talk, act, what situations you avoid etc.

2. Respect your body. Don't fall for the fad diets or other tricks that suck you into the unhealthy body ideal of today.

3. Encourage a wellness lifestyle. Do exercises that you enjoy. Eat a well-balanced diet.

4. Be aware of how you may be getting caught in the American ideal for beauty. For example, don't purposefully buy clothes that are a smaller size and then use them as motivation to get smaller.

5. Be aware of comments you make regarding other's appearance and/or eating habits. Never joke, shame or make comments about other's body size and/or eating habits. These off-hand comments may be the most memorable for your children.

6. Talk openly with your daughter about body image and beauty regularly. Help her distinguish between what's real and what's not. Help her have realistic expectations of beauty for herself and others.

7. Help your daughter have a vision for her future that goes beyond her appearance. Help her find hobbies and activities she enjoys and establish goals with her. Encourage her in the activities she enjoys.

8. Pay attention to comments your daughter makes about her body and appearance. Listen and be empathic. Although some comments may be irrational, she still genuinely feels this way. Be there as a person for her to talk to. Engage her in a conversation about what she thinks she could do to improve her body, health, ability to do certain things etc. and how she plans to do this.

9. Teach your daughter that there is no such thing as the "ideal" body. Beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

10. Encourage your daughter to be aware of and share her feelings instead of harboring them in her body. Young children, especially, tend to manifest anxiety and other stressors in the form of stomach and other body aches.

11. Discourage extreme behaviors such as sleeping too long, too little or too late, dieting, exercising too much or too little. This will help her feel better in her body.

12. Help her have a respect for the many amazing functions and purposes her body serves.

13. Praise your daughter for who she is, not how she looks. Find non-materialistic things to compliment her on such as her ability to get along with so many people, her dedication in work, and her passion.

*I wrote this article as part of the Recapturing Beauty Campaign started by BYU Women's Services (they have a blog, too). You can see my original article here.

"Maggie Goes on a Diet"

"This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image." (via)

This book just contributed to a nice conversation between the hubby and me. We decided we are both right in our opinions and our culture is messed up.

Your thoughts?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Date Night

“Keep your courtship alive. Make time to do things together – just the two of you. As important as it is to be with the children as a family, you need regular weekly time alone together. Scheduling it will let your children know that you feel that your marriage is so important that you need to nurture it. That takes commitment, planning, and scheduling. It doesn't need to be costly. The time together is the most important element."

Upgrade Pass of All Passes

You can upgrade your current pass of all passes to include the Wasatch Front Pass, Salt Lake & Utah County Pass for $49.95.

Current passholders use code: PROVORENEW
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wake Up Calls for Husbands & Wives

Wake Up Call for Wives
Tips include: Give him time to unwind, Listen to him, Let him know how much you love and appreciate him...

“The wife, also should treat the husband with the greatest respect and courtesy. Her words to him should not be keen and cutting and sarcastic. She should not pass slurs or insinuations at him. She should not nag him. She should not try to arouse his anger or make things unpleasant about the home. The wife should be a joy to her husband, and she should live and conduct herself at home so the home will be the most joyous, the most blessed place on earth to her husband. This should be the condition of the husband, wife, the father and the mother, within the sacred precinct of that holy place, the home.”  (Gospel Doctrine, 283–84)

Wake Up Call for Husbands
“Your wife is your equal. In marriage neither partner is superior nor inferior to the other. You walk side by side as a son and a daughter of God. She is not to be demeaned or insulted but should be respected and loved. Said President Gordon B. Hinckley: ‘Any man in this Church who … exercises unrighteous dominion over [his wife] is unworthy to hold the priesthood. Though he may have been ordained, the heavens will withdraw, the Spirit of the Lord will be grieved, and it will be amen to the authority of the priesthood of that man.’ (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,” Liahona, July 2002, 60; Ensign, May 2002, 54. 8)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Moms: What's your deepest, darkest secret?

  • Nearly one in five moms admits medicating their child to get through a special event like a plane flight; one in 12 does it just to get some peace and quiet on a regular night.
  • Half have knowingly sent a sick kid to daycare or school.
  • 85 percent use their kids to get out of social obligations.
  • Nearly one in three uses work as an excuse to avoid taking care of the kids.
  • 44 percent of moms would rather be 15 pounds thinner than add 15 points to their child’s IQ.
  • One in four fears their partner is a better parent than they are.
  • One in ten wishes their child was the opposite sex – and of those moms, 60 percent have boys.
Read More:


I gotta agree with missing alone time, my post-pregnancy body (for the most part), and sleep!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Failing Cry it Out

Last week, Aidan went to bed 4 nights in a row without crying!! I put him down awake and he just drifted off to sleep. He has cried himself to sleep every single night since he was 6 months old and we started CIO so naturally I was amazed. I kept hoping it would last.

Tonight, he fell asleep around 7:00 just fine without crying, but woke up 45 minutes later SCREAMING and I mean screaming like somebody was choking him to death. The make your skin crawl sound. Our downstairs neighbors are back from a vacation and I'm suddenly super self-conscious about him crying so I went to rescue him. I rocked him. I tried to feed him. Sat quietly with him on my lap. Tried singing. He was still screaming. It's like he didn't even recognize me. Put him down again and endured that horrible, horrible cry for 15 more minutes before rescuing him and bringing him out with me. I felt guilty the entire time he was out here with me. I'm ruining the pattern. Now, he'll think he can come out and play. Crap crap crap. What is this new piercing cry? I wish I weren't so self-conscious about his crying bugging neighbors. Some nights, I just can't endure the crying. But I know he needs to learn to sleep and he sleeps worse the later I keep him up.

He has also mastered the art of yelling "Maaaama! Maaaaammmmmma!" and the little lip quiver.

Breaks my heart.

3 Days Free at Sam's Club for Everyone

Sam’s Club will be hosting an Open House Event for both members and non-members August 5th-7th! This means that if you aren’t a member of Sam’s Club you can go into any location those 3 days and do some shopping, no membership required.
Plus, for this one event they have waived the 10% service fee, which normally applies to free, temporary membership offers!
If you’ve been wanting to give Sam’s Club a try or even just want to go see if you can score some good deals for Back to School, these are the days to go!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baby Cramping Your Style?

Read the first article as well as the comments and then read the second article.

Isn't a Baby Supposed to Cramp Your Style?

So You Have a Baby: Is it the end of life as you know it?

Basically, it's just opinions on bringing your baby out or keeping him or her in. Just opinions and everybody has their own.

Here are some of mine:
We were quarantined for the first 6 months of Aidan's life per doctor recommendation and it was horribly lonely. But, at times, I did like the excuse not to have to go out and be social and just focus on Aidan and Aaron. Even now, Aidan is much happier when we aren't running around most of the day.

I think date night with your spouse without baby is really important. I like to go out with Aaron without Aidan. At other times I like to go out with both of them. I don't usually mind babies at restaurants (not that we each at high end places), but I do mind when babies are in movie theaters crying or toddlers are running around in there. An added bonus of cry it out around 6 months was an established bed time for Aidan so Aaron and I could have time together. There's a reason 2/3 of marriages have a decline in marital satisfaction after their first baby's birth and a lot of it has to do with not spending meaningful time together. I wonder if babies that are often traveling around on mom's errands are often found to have flat head syndrome as suggested here. I think Aidan's sleep habits, growth and development are meant to be honored and his needs should come before my own which means I sacrifice going to the gym regularly for going on walks with a stroller and sacrifice hours surfing blogs for time playing on the ground doing hide and seek with Aidan. That's just my opinion though.

What do you think about baby etiquette? Bring baby out? Get a babysitter? Depends on when and where?

Expressions of Love

How do you show your spouse you love him/her?
What's your favorite thing he/she does for you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is Depression Good for You?

These are a few great reframes on depression and how you benefit from working in the fight against depression.

7 Ways Depression Makes You Stronger

It might be interesting or helpful to make a list of the pros and cons of what Depression does to you. Does it give you anything? Does it take anything away?

What's In Your Car Seat?

Check out the article here (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/08/child-car-seats-contain-chemicals/1)

"It says these substances have been linked to allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity and cancer, and babies are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are still developing and they spend hours in car seats."
I don't usually check out this stuff and, of course, most children have survived toxic carseats, riding without seatbelts etc. but it might be worth checking out.

I am still totally in love with the Chicco KeyFit30. Aidan is almost 1 and still hasn't outgrown it. The 30"/30lb limit has made it last a bit longer for us. Remember how most car seats used to have limits of 22"/22lbs? Ick! Of course, the new rear-facing car seat law makes it a bit less exciting that Aidan still fits, but I still LOVE it! He's an inch short of the limit so we'll probably get him a new convertible carseat for his birthday.

Check out what's in your car seat here: http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/childrens-products/product.searchbrand.php

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crazy Postpartum Thoughts

Tonight, I confessed to Aaron my worst thought after having Aidan. Aaron was shocked!

There was one night where I think I had 2 hours of sleep total in 10-30 minute spurts. I was in Aidan's room in the rocking chair and he kept crying and crying and wanting to eat and I remember visualizing throwing him at a wall and him landing in his crib. I would never, ever, ever do that, but I pictured it.

My turning point for letting him cry it out was after another crazy night. I'll have to post about that later, though.

I was telling my friend about it at work today and she showed me this clip from Scrubs.

What was your worst thought postpartum?
You can post anonymously if you'd like.