“I don’t think I can parent today.” Guilty as charged.

Father_and_son_surf_lesson_in_Morro_Bay,_CA.jpgI was sending silly Snapchat videos back and forth with one of my best friends yesterday, like we usually do; and he, in jest, said that he was so tired after his day of work that he didn’t know if he could parent anymore today. He was on his way to pick up his daughter up from preschool and he was hoping that she wasn’t going to be too hyper when she got home because he was just plain tired. SO should we as parents feel guilty about…well…about being tired?

IMG_0284Daniel decided that he didn’t want to play baseball this year. He has usually been a three athlete kid but he decided that he wanted to concentrate on two sports instead of three. We respected his decision and have been patiently waiting for Football season to start. As the baseball season has been in full swing, I have noticed all of my Facebook friends talking about how tired they are from working all day and then flying down the road to get kids and drag them to this practice or that next game. So why do I feel guilty about being happy of his decision not to play baseball? We as parents are conditioned to believe that we have to do everything for our children and be happy about it…or we are bad parents. You feel as if there is something wrong with you if you really just don’t want to watch another episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
Yesterday, Daniel was following me around reading his new video game magazine and
all he wanted to do was tell me about a contest that they were advertising in the magazine. We had just walked in the door and between changing clothes to head to the gym and talking to my wife, I had yet to even take a breathe to relax. I lost my cool and told him to ‘please stop talking about video games for 5 seconds’. To a 12 year old, who was excited to talk to his dad about something that he is passionate about, it crushed him. I immediately felt the guilt and my face flushed red and I could feel myself welling up with tears. His unhappiness is the last thing in the world that I would want…and I know that I am not the only parent who just wants 5 seconds to chill. I want to tell you that you are not alone. Well moms and dads, here are some things to NOT feel guilty for but it may be a topic that you need to address.

Guilty as Charged:

  1. Yelling – I’ve done it. You’ve done it. According to Devra Renner, co-author of the book Mommy Guilt, says that yelling is the one thing that that was the #1 thing that all of the 1,300 women that she interviewed for her book revealed to be the thing that caused them to feel the most guilty. Some parents have elevated levels of communication. That’s just how they roll. Some kids know that when Momma starts talking with her teeth together and her voice is low….its time to leave Momma alone. The decibel of your communication is something that accidently comes out. We lose our temper. Sometimes, we as parents, get frustrated and loose our cool. We yell out of frustration. But when that is all our child knows…then there is our problem. If you always yell at your kids, then you need to take a step back and evaluate your manner of communication.
  2. Work – Someone in the family has to work. Money doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve had conversations with many of my friends and they always express to me that they feel like they are losing out on pivotal moments of their child’s life because they are working so much. What can you do when your trying to balance being a spouse, parent and a demanding 40+ hour-a-week job? First off…don’t let it get you down. Realize that your kids love you and after they are grown, they will realize how hard you worked for them. Take advantage of the precious time that you have with them. Know that work is important but your family needs to be a priority as well. Take time to support your son at his Karate tournament, your kid at their dance recital, or to watch your little girl at her first softball game. Take time to play with them. You don’t have to dedicate hours to playing with them or buying expensive toys or going to expensive water parks every day. Memories are made right in your living room playing pretend or by kissing your child on the forehead after reading them a bedtime story. Basically, just create a work schedule that is flexible enough for your family to realize that they are just as important to you.
  3. Taking a Break – Sometimes you just need a break. I don’t mean a Kit-Kat Bar (even though I need one of those right now), but what I mean is that sometimes you just want to walk away from the crying babies and the chaos of our lives. You of course feel guilty about it because you love your family BUT it is important to take some time to recharge. Whether it is something as simple as a bubble bath while your husband takes the kids to the park, a couple of afternoons a week at the gym, or a night at Hooters with your buddies to get some chicken wings and a beer. Some people need that recharge and you shouldn’t feel like you’re not making the right decisions. Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean that you give up being a person. You need to care about your own mental well being as well. Your spouse should respect that and not think the worst of you when you want to have some ‘you’ time (and no I’m not talking to my friend’s ex-wife…or am I).
  4. Play – I touched on spending time and playing with your kids earlier and I just wanted to touch on it once more. I know that in today’s crazy life, actually taking the time and slowing down long enough to play Legos with your son or to have another tea party with your daughter. Before you feel guilty about seeing your son or daughter playing by themselves or them complaining about being bored; I want you to remember that YOUR CHILD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ENTERTAINED EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY! BUT you should dedicate some time to your child, even if its for only an hour. Some parents are the ones that will get down in the floor and give horse back rides or will pretend to be Princesses with their daughters for hours…but some are not. You should not feel guilty about that. Find something that you and your child both enjoy, so you can build a long lasting memory with your child.
  5. Acceptance – I’m not in your house but I’m assuming that you are a good parent. So you need to accept that fact. You are a good parent! Being a perfect wife, husband or parent is impossible. What we can do is realize that the photo-shopped, Susie home-maker, super-mother is a fallacy. Realize that we will fall short of scaling the mountain of tasks that it takes to reach perfection. Besides being tired from our normal lives, the last thing that we need to be is riddled with anxiety and guilt-ridden by some cookie cutter expectation. If your child goes to school wearing two different colored socks…its not the end of the world. Remember to try and be a positive role model for your children by handling the things that life pushes our way with a happy, good-humored demeanor.

Bedtime_story_-_Madeline


I’m not a registered family therapist. I’m not even a perfect parent. What I do is I know a couple of things. I know that you don’t need to feed into the guilt mongers. Don’t worrymcdonalds happy meal about the judgement of the pretentious parenting police who judge you when you get to baseball practice five minutes too late with a kid whose shirt is untucked and hair is unbrushed, all while he’s taking his last bite of his McDonald’s Happy Meal cheeseburger that you picked up on your way to take kid number 3 to dance practice. We’re busy. It’s life. Just remember that it’s not about the quantity of the items that your child has or how many times that they have been to Carowinds. What matters most is the quality of the hours that you spend with your child. That is what makes the difference when they grow up and look back on their lives.


Images 

Feature Image: Father and son Surf lesson image by and accredited to “Mike” Michael L. Baird, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9176643

Reading a Bedtime story to my Daughter image by and attributed to Ludwig Bemelmans, Ldorfman – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18437032

Boy with McDonalds Happy Meal image attributed to uploader. Own work. Fair use.

Springing to Life

640px-father_with_tow_babyAs my son gets older, I miss the little things. I miss him crawling into my lap to watch cartoons. I miss his little hand reaching up to hold mine when we were walking somewhere. I miss hearing him giggle when we would tickle him. But it doesn’t have to be the truly beautiful things in life that you miss. I miss quickening in the middle of the night. You know, that springing into action. The sprinting down the hall to his bedroom to see why he was yelling out ‘Dad!’ I think that that’s because you know that at that moment, that he knows that he is safe because you are there to protect him. Whether it was an upset stomach or a bad dream, it was important for him to know that you were there for him. You can’t always be there with them though. Even though the controlling part of you as a parent wants to be. They have to grow up. They have to develop and most of all, they will know pain. Their first love will break up with them. Someone will call them a name. We can’t protect them from the ever changing world.

The one thing that I have always wanted to ensure in Daniel was the knowledge that he was loved. True parental love is a multifaceted tool at which some parents, regretfully fail. Parental love consists of a warm smile or friendly look at which the child can feel empathy 640px-Happy_child_finds_joy.jpgand good nature. The physical affection felt through a hug or kiss. A parent must be attuned and responsiveness to the child’s needs. Now I know that not all parents are huggers or show their emotions in that way; just ensure that your kid knows that you love them. Now you condescending parents who are scoffing at those parents who don’t show love like ‘we’ do, I’m sure that every one of ‘us’ did things perfectly. Right? Wrong! I have witnessed well-meaning parents insensitively scolding their child for missing a ball during a game or ignoring a playful moment that left the child scarred and hurt. Now before you get on the defense, I’ll tell you that most of us, as parents, are telling the truth when we say that we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes that dad at the ball field has the best intentions when he yells at his son for not swinging the right way or the mother who scolds her daughter for not pivoting her foot right during a pirouette.

159px-happy_childWe will make mistakes as parents, just like our parents made mistakes with us. But it is important for our children’s future to not view our children as our replicas; and we must properly externalize the components that will positively affect our children. Remember that your good intentions are not a substitute for love. Being able to throw a football is not more important than the love that you see in your child’s eyes. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Because when you truly love your child…everything else will fall into place.

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Featured Image: H. Ambrose Kiehl and his daughter, Laura Kiehl, on a bicycle photo by and accredited to UW Digital Collections – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uw_digital_images/4951162891/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53410386
Father with son and Daughter by and accredited to Niriho khoka – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49572330
Happy Child Finds Joy image by and accredited to Hillebrand, Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/people-public-domain-images-pictures/children-kids-public-domain-images-pictures/happy-child-finds-joy.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24874186
Happy Child image by and accredited to امید رستمی نیا – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3623295

Celebrity Crush: Beauty in Pop Culture

As someone who has an affinity for all things popular culture; it always intrigues me to see other people’s opinions about all the different avenues of popular culture. Pop culture has become such a vast wonderland that flows down different avenues and gets influences from many different venues from all around that world. These avenues allow us to encounter new interesting ‘celebrities’ who we inevitably end up liking one a little more than the other. Whether our significant others like it or not, sometimes we develop a

640px-magazines_on_stand_of_bookshop_in_nanhai_road_20090801

Magazine Stand on Nanhai Road

celebrity crush. My only question is that based on the pantheon of the normal “Sexiest Man Alive” or “Most Beautiful Woman” choices that People magazine presents to us once a year and other media outlets push down our necks every day….do they fit your criteria? Does your personal taste and your personal celebrity crush fall within the usual guidelines and perimeters of who is chosen for “Sexiest Man” or “Most Beautiful Woman”? I was curious about this because some of my choices wouldn’t appear on the list and most of the ones that are up there….shouldn’t be.

To ensure that I was not alone I created a poll/questionnaire that I posted on a popular social media site (I won’t say which one but its the one that let’s you read people’s face) and the answers that I received astounded me.

img_1838As you see in the picture, in the questionnaire/survey I asked both male and female participants: agree/disagree with the choices for Sexiest Man and Most Beautiful Woman (the last 5 year’s worth of choices), who their celebrity crush was if it was not on the list, if their ‘type’ was also indicative of the person they were attracted to in real life, how big of a role that their celebrity crush’s popularity plays in the selection of their choice, and who their celebrity choices were 10/20 years ago.

I was pleased to receive responses for the questionnaire/survey from 23 people (24 if you include me).

  1. Adam Levine and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson received an equal amount of votes for being a female’s celebrity crush while Scarlett Johansson received an overwhelmingly large amount of votes on the male end.
  2. Male celebrity crushes who were not on the list included: Chris Pratt, Joshua Bell, Clive Standen, JJ Watt, Kit Harrington. Females who were not on the list included: Jenna Fischer and Blake Lively.
  3. A resoundingly large percentage of the questionnaire/survey participants said that their celebrity crush is also indicative of their personal dating choice.
  4. All but two of the participants in the questionnaire/survey indicated that the celebrity’s popularity had nothing to do with their selection. But some did bring up the point that they would have never been exposed to this person, if not for their immense popularity.
  5. The female participants indicated that 10 years ago their crushes ranged anywhere from Ryan Gosling to the Backstreet Boys while they indicated that 20 years ago their crushes ranged from Peter Steele to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck. The male participants also presented interesting choices for their crushes from 10 and 20 years ago. The male choices from 10 years ago ranged from Trish Stratus to Erica Durance while their choices from 10 years prior to that ranged from Terri Hatcher to WWF wrestler Sunny.

I won’t deny that I was surprised to read some of the participants responses, I was pleased to find out that I was not the only one that deviated from the usual list of ‘most _____ person’ .  What did I truly learn from my investigation? In my investigation, I learned that we end up having crushes on people that we see and things that we love. My friend had a crush on Terri Hatcher back in the 90s but that was because he really liked Superman. Another friend really liked Peter Steele but that is because she was/is really into rock music. Without seeing these celebrities and being followers of them, these crushes wouldn’t exist. And even for me, you can’t really say that I am deviating from a norm or following a trend but take my celebrity crush as an example. Scarlett Johansson is my celebrity crush because….I mean…she’s Scarlett “the Black Widow” Johansson. Have you not seen her?!? 🙂

Sooo….How would you fill out my survey? Answer the questions in the comment section below.

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Photo attributions:

Featured image ‘People magazine title’ accredited to and by Time Inc. – http://www.people.com/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30478424
Magazine stand photo accredited to and by 玄史生 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33730954
Scarlett Johansson SDCC photo accredited to and by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27440650
Scarlett Johansson at the Don Jon premiere photo accredited to and by GabboT – Don Jon 09Uploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30090976

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: James Bond movies

In 1952 Ian Fleming introduced the world to a character who would change the face of popcasino-royale-book-cover culture forever. His name was Bond. James Bond. A British secret service agent who loves beautiful women and likes his martini shaken not stirred. Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was the first in many successful books and short stories. Fleming’s wartime service for the British Naval Intelligence Division during WWII allowed him to have all of the details that he needed to write 11 Bond related books and multiple other short stories between 1953 and 1966. The James Bond character which has appeared in film twenty-six times and has been portrayed by seven actors has been popular since Dr. No’s release in 1962. But despite who portrayed James Bond (codename 007) in the movies they were relatively a hit. From 1962 to the latest Bond movie that was made in 2015; it is obvious that I would have a few that rose above the rest on my favorites list.

So here are my Top Cat’s Top 10 James Bond movies:

10. License to Kill 

license-to-kill-bond-movieThe 80s produced a lot of things and the 16th James Bond movie was one of them. Timothy Dalton stars in his second and final Bond movie in the first movie not use the title of an Ian Fleming story. The movie showed Bond in a more violent, darker Bond than people had been used to but it was just what people in the 80s had been looking for.

9. Die Another Day

die-another-day-posterBefore our blue eyed blonde Bond stole the screen in Casino Royale, Pierce Brosnan took to the big screen and portrayed Bond in four spy films. In Die Another Day the MI6 agent is betrayed and imprisoned. He spends 14 months in prison and must then track down his betrayer. It’s a typical Bond storyline but the CGI of the movie is…..well…a little off putting. The redeeming factor? Halle Berry. Even though Pierce Brosnan is by far my least favorite Bond, Die Another Day’s action scenes and story line were almost as beautiful as Halle Berry.

8. Dr. No

dr no.jpgSean Connery was the first to don the on screen James Bond persona. Since Dr. No is not the first James Bond movie, the movie fills in movie goers who have not read the books. The movie also introduces us to the criminal organization SPECTRE (which appears in all six subsequent movies, as well as in the Daniel Craig movies). In Dr. No, Bond travels to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of another 00 agent. He finds Dr. No, who is trying to destroy America’s first human spaceflight program with a radio wave weapon. Bond frees the bikini clad beauty that he had met earlier in the movie and boils Dr. No in the water from a nuclear reactor. The two escape in a boat as Dr. No’s lair explodes in the distance. The movie begins a chain reaction of popular James Bond movies and many other mock spy movies. Dr. No made James Bond a house hold name and it has remained there since 1962. And I don’t see it leaving any time soon.

7. Quantam of Solace

quantum-of-solaceAfter we were introduced to Daniel Craig’s pastiche of the James Bond character in 2006’s Casino Royale, James not only seeks revenge over the death of his love but must also try to stop a mysterious organization who is hell bent on destroying the world’s most valuable resource. The movie delves us deeper into the psyche of 007. We also get to see the convoluted relationship between M and Bond deepen.

6. From Russia With Love

from_russia_with_love_posterIn 1963’s From Russia with Love, which is our second James Bond movie (second time with Sean Connery at the helm) and this storyline takes our favorite agent to Russia where he battles rogue agents of the KGB and from, what it seems, every SPECTRE agent alive to keep a decoding machine out of the hands of SPECTRE. He finds a beautiful girl (of course) and defeats all of the bad guys. This and every James Bond movie, the tag line should be “His new enemies, His new women, His new Adventures!”

5. Goldfinger

goldfingerA bad guy who loves gold and ironically has the last name of Goldfinger whose driver is a super strong henchman who can chop people’s heads off by throwing his derby hat after getting off the plane being flown by a gorgeous woman named Pussy Galore? Yeah. I’ll watch that. In the beginning Bond makes Goldfinger look like a fool and steals his girl. Well while he’s out handling business, Goldfinger has her gilded. Yes. You heard me right. Bond tracks Goldfinger down and finally gets caught. When he thinks he has it all under control, he realizes that he has his work cut out for him when it came to taming the gorgeous Pussy Galore but his real work was the fight between he and Oddjob (the driver/henchman) after he breaks out of Goldfinger’s prison. He stops them from breaking into Fort Knox’s gold reserve and gets the girl.

4. Casino Royale (2006)

casino-royaleAll James Bond fans were apprehensive when we found out that there was going to be a new Bond. Especially because this bond had shockingly beautiful blue eyes, blonde hair and a sculpted body. But as a fan, I can say that within the first 10 minutes I looked at my best friend (also a big Bond fan) and smiled. We both were pleased with the studios choice and Casino Royale easily became my favorite Bond movie at that time. Movies series get better with time because of increased graphics and the fact that more money is spent in production (ie Marvel’s The Avengers, X-Men, etc). Oh…about the movie. Our favorite fictional MI6 agent James Bond finds himself at the beginning of his 00 career. He is just earning his “license to kill” (definitely pun intended) and of course proves his awesomeness. The new time line follows Casino Royale with Quantam of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.

3. You Only Live Twice

you-only-live-twiceJames Bond + Ninja powered Japanese secret service agents + gorgeous women + threat of nuclear war + Spaceships hijacking other country’s space capsules + a great opening/theme song = a great movie. SPECTRE is behind the theft of an American Space Capsule and their journey to start WWIII is thwarted by 007.

2. Spectre

spectreA lot of us fear that Spectre will be the last time that we see Daniel Craig as Bond and if it is, we will not be able to deny his amazing run. In Spectre, we find Bond following a cryptic message left to him by a deceased M. Bond starts to unravel and piece together the hell that he has went through during his whole 00 career. Bond begins to uncover the deep layers of deceit that have been the misreable truth that is SPECTRE. The movie ends with Bond riding off into the sunset with the newest of his many loves.

1. Skyfall

skyfallThe last and final movie on our list is Skyfall. The second to the last Bond movie that has been created. I hope that it is one in a long line of Bond movies. I hope that it is also one in a long line of movies that have Daniel Craig as the lead. This Bond movie showcases a time where his assignment goes really wrong and all of the agents around the world are exposed. The MI6 building is attacked and M has to utilize the one person in the world that she trusts: Bond. Bond follows a baited trail to what ends up being a shady figure from M’s past.

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Upcoming Movies

People Watching a Movie in Movie TheatreIt’s so easy to get caught  in the whirlwind of videos that just get continuously thrown your way on youtube and this is especially true when you find the upcoming movie trailers lineup. I have always loved the movies and the movie going experience; so I watch new movie trailers to see which movies that I should get excited about. The bad part about watching movie trailers to see which ones that you will be excited about is that you have to (to crudely use a biblical reference here) separate the wheat from the chaff. The reason why….well let’s face it, some movies are bad and sometimes even the movie trailers can’t hide how bad that the movie is going to be.

Since I am definitely a trusted authority on the quality of a movie (oh that is just bleeding with sarcasm), I am going to give you my opinion and a short review on the upcoming movies that I think is the wheat or what should be tossed in the garbage:

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff:

rogue-one

 

wheat isolated

Sweet Wheat

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

 

Ever since we found out that they were doing stand alone Star Wars stories, everyone got excited; but when the trailer for Rogue One played when we watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters back in 2015, excited was not the word that you could use to express how excited everyone was. So this stand alone Star Wars story (which would fall chronologically between Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode Iv – A New Hope) introduces Jyn Erso, a Rebel soldier and a Han Solo-esque criminal, who is asked to steal the plans for the Death Star. Should be exciting to see old faces (ie Darth Vader, Bail Organa) and finally see the on screen debut of Saw Gerrera and K-2SO (who is played by Alan Tudyk!). And don’t worry if you think that you’ll be confused because you are confused why you don’t see Luke and Leia.

office-christmas-party

garbage

Trash!

Office Christmas Party

Besides having a cast made up of a couple of Hollywood’s hottest actresses (Jennifer Aniston and Olivia Munn), this crap storm of a ‘holiday’ film will not be worth the price of your bucket of popcorn. The movie showcases everyone’s second favorite pothead, T.J. Miller (coming in a cold second to weed giggles himself – Seth Rogen) whose uptight sister tries to stop their epic company Christmas party. The party gets out of hand and you get to see wasted people do stupid things. Sorry but I have better things to do…..like stump my toe on a coffee table or….accidently step on a thumb tack…..or you forget to take all of the shell off of your boiled shrimp and it gets stuck in the back of your throat and you almost choke to death. I think those scenarios would work out better than watching that movie.

 

transformers-5

half-trash

Half Trash

Transformers 5: The Last Knight

SO……They made another Transformers movie. Some of you are over joyed but most of you are probably like me, wondering why in the world Michael Bay is talking these production companies into sinking millions and millions of dollars into a failing movie franchise. There are so many other dynamic movie ideas (IE other 80s toy lines that could be made into Blockbuster movie franchises (Thundercats, He-Man, or M.A.S.K.). The movie’s storyline is much like the rest of the Transformers movies: Optimus Prime realizes that his home planet of Cybertron is now a dead planet and he feels like he is the one who is responsible for its destruction. Now that he feels that way, he tries to bring his planet back to life but the artifact that he needs is on Earth. And people are trying to kill him. People will work with him to help him find it. Blah blah blah. Honestly the graphics for the movie look great; and the storyline looks pretty dark nor does it look any worse than the other Transformers movies. It definitely won’t be a movie that I’ll be seeing before it comes out for free on Amazon Prime.

 

why-him

garbage

Trash!

Why Him?

Loathe is a extreme word to use in regards to a movie but I almost LOATHE all romantic comedies. I especially loathe romantic comedies that use shock value to gain more viewers. Why Him? stars everyone’s favorite meth making high school chemistry teacher Walter White. Well this time we have a conservative Midwestern Bryan Cranston as a father of a beautiful young daughter who has fallen deeply in love with a sweet yet overwhelmingly vulgar internet billionaire named Laird (played by the almost irrelevant James Franco). The movie looks like your usual ‘dad hates guy that daughter loves…so lets try to get her to see how terrible he is but I end up falling in love with him just like the rest of my family does’ movie. Throw in the extreme vulgarity that Franco’s character spews in the previews and it looks almost unbearable. Of course, if you’re into that sort of thing….feel free to fill your mind with this mind numbing piece waste of film.