Friday, April 27, 2012

Saggy pants, Duran Duran and motherly love

Published on (click HERE for the link)
Published in Cross Timbers Gazette (click HERE for the link)

When I saw a teenage boy walking his dog in the park, I did a double take, a triple take and then glanced in my rearview mirror as I drove past, just to be sure. The kid suffered from a startling wardrobe malfunction. Namely, his pants appeared to be falling off. I’ve seen plenty of baggy-jeaned teenagers, but this was one for the record books.

In an odd gravity-defying sort of way, the waist of his pants seemed to be suspended in midair at least 12 inches (that is not a typo) below where one would normally expect pant waists to sit. There was no rational explanation as to why his jeans didn’t simply fall to his ankles other than perhaps extra-strong double-sided tape at the extreme lower end of his stylish boxers, of which passers-by had full view.

Speaking of full view, I was fearful of the kind of exposure a front glance at the kid might offer.

About a second after I caught myself wondering what kind of a mom would let her kid out the door in such a get-up, I remembered Duran Duran.

It was my first concert, at age 15. My best friend and I had memorized every Duran Duran song ever recorded and were intent on showing John, Roger, Simon and Nick how excessively fond we were of them (of their music, I mean). Our concert attire was naturally super important, since it was the key to scoring backstage passes and possibly even meeting the band members.

We had perfectly realistic expectations.

My friend got to shop for her concert outfit. Having no such financial advantage, I was left to my own devices and whatever I could scrounge up around the house that looked sufficiently edgy.

Imagine our surprise when my friend and I didn’t get a single backstage pass offer or even a cat call as we climbed out of the back of my friend’s dad’s Cutlass. We both wore skinny jeans, big hair, bigger earrings and oversized shirts. To accessorize, my friend chose a vest. And for my edgy accessory, I had a black extension cord wrapped loosely around my waist a few times and plugged into itself directly above my left hip.

Regrettably, this is a true story.

Why my outfit didn’t at least turn a few heads was beyond me. In reality, though, it probably did — most likely from people wondering what kind of a mom would let her kid out the door in such a get-up.

I can answer that. My mom — the very same one who let me out the door rocking an extension cord — is one of the best moms in the universe. And for all I know, so is the baggy-jeaned kid’s mom. In fact, I’ve never met a mom I didn’t think was pretty terrific.

Despite our differences in religion, child-rearing philosophies and whether or not we work outside the home, we are all mothers. We worry, cry, lose sleep, laugh, pray, play and learn — all on account of our kids. Because we love them.

And at some point, we each experience that AHA moment when it becomes gut-wrenchingly clear that raising kids is a whole lot like nailing Jell-O to a wall.

These Jell-O moments alone should be enough to render any differences between moms insignificant.

So when I see kids suffering from wardrobe malfunctions or engaging in delinquent behavior, I remind myself that each one of those kids has a mom somewhere — and that I should think and act accordingly. Because the best gifts I have ever received as a mom are the intangible ones of empathy, tolerance and love that other adults have shown my own children.

Just the other day, I dropped my eighth-grade son off at school. As he exited the car, at least two inches of his plaid boxers were visible above the drooping waist of his basketball shorts. Thinking it unwise to yell “Pull up your pants!” out the car window into the throngs of middle school kids, I caught his eye and made hand gestures. He rolled his eyes, tugged his waist up a few centimeters and walked into school.

That kid has a mom somewhere. And I love him.

And on the very bright side, at least he wasn’t wearing an extension cord.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Save the date for my presentation at the Flower Mound Public Library on Tuesday, June 12th @ 7 PM.  Here are the details:

How to Unleash the Inner Reader in Just About Any Kid
& Why It's So Very Important
* for parents & educators*

The statistics are irrefutable -- reading should come first in our priorities for children.  For a myriad of reasons, however, it’s difficult for parents and educators to motivate kids (especially pre-teens and teens!) to put reading first.  What works for one child doesn’t work for another, others have significant reading challenges, and finally – let’s face it – some are simply incorrigible. 

But where there are new ideas, there is hope!  In preparation for this presentation, Susie conducted a nationwide poll and gathered tons of awesome ideas on:  1) How to motivate kids to read, and 2) How to tackle reading challenges (both big and small) in children.  Susie shares all of these ideas plus several successful (and since this is real life, not so successful) attempts to get her very own kids to learn to love books and reading.

This nationwide poll also resulted in a fabulous book list for kids and teens that Susie has affectionately titled, “Moms Weigh In:  Books We Adore.”  In addition to this list, Susie shares more of her favorite book and reading resources that can assist parents and educators as they help the children in their lives be more successful (and enthusiastic!) readers.

For Reservations, please call the library at 972-874-6165.

Click HERE for the library's publicity flier about the presentation.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Momsensical: Sifting through prom(iscuous) dresses

Published on (click HERE for the link).

My 6-year-old son answered a knock at the door to find a large wrapped box with my 16-year-old oldest daughter’s name on it. Inside, along with several bags of candy and the question "PROM?" that had been meticulously cut out in large letters, was a small box containing a single fortune cookie. The original fortune had been removed and replaced with a slip of paper that read, "Will you go to Prom with Tom?"

And so it began.

The most logical dress solution — for my daughter to wear the dress that she had just worn to her basketball banquet — was naturally out of the question (not for me, of course). So after much negotiation and some squabbling, we settled on a budget that my daughter insisted was absolutely, positively too low.

A few days later, we set off to a large formal store. When I saw the prices, I had to find the nearest bench to recover from the shock. Incidentally, I joined a few dads who appeared to be either recovering from a similar shock or who had simply exceeded their prom dress shopping limit. Quite possibly both.

It was clear that our predetermined budget would buy exactly one square inch of a dress from that store, but since we had driven 40 minutes to get there, I let my daughter try on a few dresses. To her credit, she only chose dresses from the clearance rack.

Luckily the dressing room offered chaise lounges in abundance, because another shock awaited me.

As expected, high school girls were flitting in and out of dressing rooms, twirling in front of mirrors, asking if they looked fat. But what I didn't expect were the types of dresses the girls were trying on. Sleeveless styles have always been standard for formal wear, but dresses (this season at least) featured huge cut-outs in the backs that came all the way around to the front. And ultra-short skirts.

Ultra-short may be understating things a bit.

These dresses brought to mind what my fabulous grandma always comments whenever she sees a girl wearing an outfit that leaves little to the imagination, "Oh, that poor girl! She didn't have enough money for the rest of the fabric!"

Except that money wasn't the issue in this particular dressing room. In fact, it seemed like the pricier the dress, the scantier the amount of fabric used to make it. Moms were ogling over their daughters, telling them how beautiful they looked. For the most part, these were girls whose body types were not in the least bit flattered by the kind of exposure these dresses offered.

The mothers’ endorsements of these kinds of dresses seemed completely counterintuitive to me. I was curious to know if the moms had given serious thought as to what kind of message they were conveying to their daughters' dates by sending their precious daughters off to prom dressed like that.

Linguistics scholars may disagree, but I wondered if the origin of the word “prom” had anything to do with the word “promiscuous.”

Three stores and several hours later, we found the perfect dress. Since the price tag was absolutely, positively too high, my daughter agreed to pay half. We had to find fabric and add sleeves, but the length and other necessary coverage were already in place.

The dress purchase was only the beginning, after which we had shoes and jewelry and a boutonniere and a hairstyle to figure out. This prom business is not for the faint-of-heart.

The day arrived. I helped my daughter get ready. Tom’s mouth gaped open when he saw her and he simply said, “Wow!” We took a few dozen pictures. My husband gave Tom both the third degree and the evil eye, just for good measure.

And finally, I watched our princess ride off into the sunset (well, it was nearing sunset) with her prince for the evening.

Oh my heart!

I cried just a little bit, hoping that Tom would treat my daughter like the princess she is and that her evening would be practically perfect.

Tom, it turns out, was an absolute gentleman and funny to boot. Thanks to him (and his parents, who I’m sure had a lot to do with it), the prom bar for my daughter has officially been set high.

Prom preparations were a bit pricey, time-consuming and sometimes downright stressful. In the end, though, it was all worth it.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that every teenage girl deserves a fairy-tale evening.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Giveaway: Tickets to Dallas Project Mom Event

I'm excited to announce that I get to give away tickets to the Dallas PROJECT MOM EVENT coming up at the end of April. 

PROJECT MOM provides valuable resources and enjoyable events for moms of all ages and stages who want to be inspired and rejuvenated while relishing some much needed "me" time.

PROJECT MOM will be in Dallas (Allen) 
on April 27th & 28th.

Click HERE to visit their website & read about the keynote speakers, breakout sessions, fabulous MOM topics, & more details.

If YOU and a FRIEND would like to be put in the fishbowl for the drawing, please COMMENT ON THIS POST or EMAIL ME ( your names and email addresses.

I'll be drawing the lucky winners on THURSDAY APRIL 12th, so git yer names in pronto!