Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | April 5, 2011

What do you wish you knew in high school?

If you’re like any of the people who attended my 40th high school reunion recently (yes, yikes, I am that old), what you probably wish you knew in high school has a lot more to do with your social life than your academics. Within moments of arriving at the reunion and connecting with old friends, we collectively slipped back into our 16-year-old personalities with one huge difference — we told each other the truth about how we felt (So maybe we lied to each other about how good we looked but we were honest about our feelings. And really, most people looked damn good!). Sharing how we felt was something we were all woefully unable to do in high school. So, 40 years after the fact, we find out that we weren’t the only ones sitting home alone on too many Saturday nights, we weren’t the only ones who thought we were not good-looking enough, or too fat, or had “look away, hideous” acne, or weren’t popular or talented, or athletic, or cool enough to be accepted and happy. We find out that if we hadn’t been so scared in high school it might have been a whole different experience.

Which is not to say that my high school years weren’t fun, because a lot of it was a blast. I had friends, I had a lot of joy in those years. But, there was also a lot of self-doubt and pain and I found out at the reunion that others felt the same way. Maybe we could have avoided that pain if we talked more and perhaps even exposed ourselves (in a good way) to more people instead of suffering in silence. Then again, it’s possible that those years are designed to force us to experience the necessary growing pains to toughen us up for the realities of adulthood. Still, I can’t help but think that if someone had told me in high school that there were guys who secretly lusted after me and were just too shy to speak up, and girls who admired me for being smart and funny, maybe I would have felt better about myself and perhaps wouldn’t have had to face the reality of having no date for the junior prom. (Although that high school horror ended happily because just after the deadline for buying tickets passed, just one week before the prom when I had to accept my dateless status, I met someone, and we enjoyed a really fun time that weekend, after all.)

So, how can parents help kids survive high school? What can we say that will make the experience flow more happily? What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew in high school?

Shira writes:

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a whole lot parents can do to change the high school experience. We have to learn to do that on our own, and it’s definitely not easy. High school is just really, really hard. For the first 2 years of high school, I was shy, painfully shy. By the time I was a junior, I had made a fairly nice group of friends and started to come out of my shell, but looking back, I feel like maybe I wasted those first two years worrying too much about what everyone else thought of me. I honestly don’t think there was anything anyone (especially my parents) could’ve said to convince me that I was worth hearing from until I was ready to believe it myself. The ironic thing is, once I stopped worrying so much about how others saw me, people actually liked me a lot more. And I ended up having a lot more fun.

I was surprised to learn a few years post-high school that my image of myself was totally different from what others saw. I was hanging out with my friend Matt, who’d gone to my high school but that I didn’t end up really getting to know until we went to the same college. We were “reminiscing” about high school, and I mentioned what a shy outcast I felt like for so much of my time in high school. Matt looked at me like I had 3 heads and said “Are you kidding? I thought you were like the queen bee of Cheltenham!” To this day, I can’t imagine what made him think that, but it was interesting to learn.

I guess if there’s one thing I wish I’d known back then, it would be how to tell who your real friends are. Unfortunately, this is a lesson I’m still learning, but I am getting there. As an adult, I’ve come to expect a lot from my friends. My friendships are very important to me, and I’ve learned how to spot the good ones much sooner that I used to. I’ve gotten better at nurturing the friendships that matter, and staying away from the toxic ones. If I’d been able to do that when I was 16, it probably would’ve saved me a lot of heartache.

I am also glad that I never seriously dated any of the people I thought I was in love with in high school, since some of them might be in jail now.

Alexis Writes:

I wanted to write that I wish I’d known more boys liked me. But I decided that was too shallow. But honestly that is what I wish I had known. At my high school reunion someone who was considered to be really cool back then told me he had a huge crush on me in high school. I’m not ashamed to say I felt really validated. I told my friends I was getting a t-shirt made that said that kid had a crush on me and I was wearing it to our next reunion. I mean I was half kidding, but seriously, that was the main thing that I wish had been different in high school — that I don’t really feel like I had enough boyfriends (or really any). I wish it was something a little deeper, but it’s really not.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how my whole experience might have been different if I had known that guy liked me, and maybe it wouldn’t have been different at all.Then I thought that I wouldn’t have felt so bad about myself if I had had that validation. Maybe that would have helped me avoid a lot of body issues. I probably still needed to gain confidence in who I was, though. I felt very lonely in high school. People always used to tell me I was too deep. Maybe knowing that someone was interested in knowing more about me would have made a difference. And the thing is I had a sense at one point that this guy was interested, but I didn’t do anything about it because I was afraid of embarrassing myself.

So I guess high school is like your get-out-of-jail-free card. If you mess it up, you get to graduate and go out into the world and never see anyone ever again in you don’t want to. So, maybe it’s okay to take a few more risks. I’m not going to act like high school wasn’t really hard because it was, but I guess I wish I had taken a few more chances. They might have actually paid off. But I guess hindsight is sort of like cheating because I already know what happens so it’s easy for me to say “put yourself out there more”. But I do think embarrassment is good for the soul. It’s important to realize that embarrassment doesn’t mean the world will end. Making a fool of yourself and living through it is a life skill. Also I think it’s good to know that the label of cool that is so powerful in high school means nothing in the real world. We’re all just people who have to find our niche.

Tamra Writes:

I wish I had known not to take pictures of yourself wearing a bikini, platform sneakers, and red lipstick when you weigh 60 pounds, on a camera that your sister would later take pictures of a high school dance with, develop the pictures and bring the whole roll of film to school for her friends to look through, forgetting that the bikini pictures were in there.

Other than that, I don’t really feel like I needed to know anything else in high school. Most things I was better off not knowing. Sure, I wasn’t the most popular person in the world, but I felt like I had a lot of friends that I genuinely liked (even if I don’t like them now), and there were boys that liked me (although totally didn’t like them), but I really don’t feel like there is anything I would have needed to know to make it a better experience or more valuable. For the most part, I did what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it. I wasn’t too concerned about what other people thought of me (no more than any awkward teenager), and I discovered a love of faux fur and sequins.

I’d say there are things I wished I had known when I was in college, but high school, I feel like I had enough information, except for that whole bikini situation – not good.

I also wished I had known to appreciate “fruit and vegetable packs” in my lunch, because I hate making lunch now, and everyone knows I like a good side dish with my main meal. Even though sometimes mom would cut apples on an onion cutting board, it was a good idea in theory.

Mom Writes: Well, I guess my girls prove the theory that parents can raise kids in exactly the same way and still they turn out differently. Clearly, Tamra was more comfortable with high school and somehow managed to escape unscathed. Or, maybe Alexis and Shira are just deeper. Who knows? Still, as a parent, what I’d encourage all parents to do is to work really hard to keep the lines of communication open when your kids are in high school. If they’re not Tamra, they’ll likely need to chat. Well, that and don’t cut their apples on an onion cutting board or ten years later, they’ll still be complaining about it, despite the fact that you actually made their lunches well into their high school years!

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | March 18, 2011

Dear Mom, You’ve Hlepd Me Enough!

When Tamra was in first grade and just learning how to write, she wrote the note above. It was on a day when I was particularly busy and/or distracted and I guess she was asking me to do something for her or with her and I just didn’t have the time at that moment. She asked repeatedly (you know how some kids are broken records when it comes to that sort of thing) so at some point I guess I just FIRMLY told her to stop asking because I just didn’t have the time to help her just then. I wasn’t much of a screamer (believe it or not with three kids) so my very firm answer probably scared the crap out of her. She disappeared into her room and wrote the note (in crayon and not in a pretty color so it really ripped my heart out) and slipped it under the door. “You’ve hlepd me enough” was her way of saying with a bit of an angry attitude, that she didn’t need me after all, she’d figure out whatever it was on her own. And, I suppose she did because she’s 28 now and just fine.

But, it makes me wonder — what is enough when it comes to being a parent? Look, I know I’m somewhat annoying, and way too much in everyone’s business, and a bit over-functioning as a mom. I send too many meant-to-be-helpful emails about job openings. I offer opinions even when I’m not asked. I give unsolicited advice despite the hundreds of times I’ve explained to my girls that no one really wants advice. And while I can easily identify my friends who suffer from the same affliction (I’d name you but you all know who you are), and swear I’m not as bad as they are, I admit I am an addict and could probably benefit from a 12-step program for mothers of adult children who can’t back off.

But, secretly — well not so secretly because I’m putting it on this blog– I do it because I believe I’m helping my daughters and that I still have wisdom worth imparting. I don’t think I’ve yet “hlepd” them enough.

Girls? What do you suggest to us moms who may be confused about when enough is enough?

Tamra Writes:

First of all, I’m 27, and for that matter, if anyone asks, I’m 21, so let’s just set that straight.

I think that if you are going to be an overbearing mother, and let’s face it, there’s a lot of you out there, that you need to at least be prepared to have people be annoyed with you. People don’t generally like to be told what to do, especially if they didn’t ask. Since I am not currently in an argument about something that I didn’t ask for advice about, I guess I am able to think more rationally, but I think that a lot of times, I want the advice, I just don’t want it when it’s being told to me. I want to hear it, I want to complain about hearing it and get angry, and then later, when I’m ready, I can think about it and decide what to do. The fact that you overbearing mothers sometimes expect instant gratification when you’ve butted in, is really not a realistic expectation.

My advice, not that you asked, is continue to give the advice, but know when you’ve really crossed your boundary, and don’t expect to be greeted with open arms and lots of gratitude, at least not right away.

When people feel like they are in crisis, the last thing they want to hear (at least for me), is someone’s simple solution. When you feel like your world is crashing down, sometimes you just want someone to say, “You’re right, your life is a mess, how do you go on each day?” Rather than some rational “take action” advice, which I’ll probably do after I have a meltdown. I think if mothers are able to keep a good boundary, they might even find that their children actually ask them for advice before they have to butt in.

I guess I was a little premature to declare at the age of 6 that I had enough hlep. I think everyone always wants hlep, whether they think they do or not. My advice (again, who’s asking?), tread lightly, and just don’t get too frustrated when you get hung up on or receive a nasty email about how you are ruining your child’s life and owe them for all of the therapy sessions they’re going to need.

Again, I’m not 28.

Alexis writes: Judy Gold (a comedian who is also a lesbian) once said this about her children “I feel bad for my kids. I mean they have two Jewish mothers, wouldn’t you kill yourself?” It’s true that mothers get a bad rap for being too involved in their children’s lives. But it’s hard, they’re mothers, are they supposed to just stand by and watch their children make horrific mistakes?

I think giving advice is a lot like being a good comedian– it’s all about delivery and timing. Even the funniest joke can be completely unfunny if told at the wrong time. Advice is the same way. I agree with Tamra that when we children confide in our parents about things, we are probably (at least indirectly) asking them to weigh in about the issue, even if we don’t realize it. But even the best piece of advice can be misconstrued into the rudest comment if it’s not discussed at the right time. Tamra is right about instant gratification, mothers are not comedians who will be getting a laugh instantaneously proving that what they said was good. Chances are the closest thing to instant response the advice-giving mom is going to get is an abrupt hang-up.

It’s our instinct as adult children to prove to our parents that we can take care of ourselves. I think that sometimes people feel that if they need to ask their parents for help all the time, they’re not really independent. And let’s face it–there are plenty of adult children out there who rely too heavily on their parents. So it’s a slippery slope for us too. If we need your advice all the time are we really mature, functioning adults? Try to keep that in mind when you talk to us.

So, mothers, my advice for you is to weigh your words carefully. Try to dispense your life lessons in a way that doesn’t make a person feel like if they don’t take your advice you’re judging them harshly (which you probably are but you can pretend you’re not). Watch your timing and delivery, and try not to get too upset about putting us in therapy (if we have health insurance it’s not that big of a deal). You’re a parent so it’s your job to guide us.

By the way, Mom, tell Tamra she’s not 21. She might need some advice about embracing her age.

Mom writes: Well, first, I did screw up remembering Tamra’s age correctly. And secondly, I’m pretty sure it’s that kind of advice that might elicit a less-than-grateful response from Tam.

Ned writes:

I usually like to weigh in after everyone has given their opinion and although Shira has not yet responded, it seems that you all have a pretty good bead on the over-functioning parent. All three of you tell us a lot of stuff, so deep down you probably want our opinions. Your mom and I often say that none of you initially takes our advice, because you need a little time to think about what we suggest. I can’t say that you always do what we say, but I respect most of your decisions. When I stick my two cents in (I actually think my advice is worth at least double that), I try to make a point of not really getting too emotionally involved in your responses because it’s not going to be pretty and I want to avoid an argument. I try to get in and out of there quickly. But your posts show how wise you have become, probably from listening to our good advice. So maybe I should start asking for your advice. Maybe not. And really, I think I have hleped you enough.

Tamra writes: Your mom.

Ned writes: Tamra, don’t get me started.

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | February 28, 2011

2 Fun Things! How’s Your Sense of Humor?

Kid's ice cream cone shoes!

Image by jelene via Flickr

First, I entered a writing contest on the Two Kinds of People Blog (which a very fun thing to read on a regular basis) and won! Full disclosure… it was a very small contest but, hey, a win is a win, right? Read my winning entry here:

For more fun…. answer this question: What’s wrong with acting your shoe size?

We’ve all heard, “act your age, not your shoe size.” It’s what kids or teens say to each other to make fun of them when they act younger than they are. My question is, what’s wrong with acting younger than you are? And, shouldn’t we all do that sometimes? I’m 58 and I’m not sure what that means about how I should act, but I do know that my shoe size is 7 and I know how to be that age. It means I can swing on swings at the park, I can build sandcastles at the beach, I can laugh with abandon when something is funny, even if it makes me snort a little, or pee just a tiny bit. When my girls were little, acting like I was my shoe size meant I could build snow folks, sled and play board games with my daughters and even indulge in a Barbie world or two.

Our lives fly by and if we don’t take the time to act like idiots once in a while, we miss a real opportunity to have fun. Parents often correct their children about being “silly” or acting like a baby and I think that may be a mistake. Why hurry them to grow up?

The power of humor cannot be overstated. I don’t know if a sense of humor is inborn but I don’t think it is. I think it’s something you have to learn and I can’t think of too many more important things to teach a child. It should be part of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others…. oh, and make ’em laugh, too.”

Not only do I think we ought to let our kids be silly and to enjoy humor, I think we ought to get right down there on the floor and join them. Or, we ought to at least be able to sit back and watch the show and let it bring a smile to our lips. I believe that if we raise kids who stay kids as long as they can, they become adults with enhanced senses of humor and better attitudes about life. As they once said on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” … “a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” Nothing wrong with that at any age.

What “age inappropriate” activities do you still like? When was the last time you indulged? What are you waiting for? And what can we do to keep little kids younger, playful, and gleeful a bit longer? How insure a sense of humor in kids?

Alexis Writes: Even in high school I always enjoyed swinging on swings and hanging at the playground in general. My friends and I would go to playgrounds at night (yes I knew it was illegal as the parks were “closed” but we weren’t hurting anyone) and slide down the slide and hang on the jungle gym. One thing I think we discourage kids to do as adults by not acting silly is that we are encouraging them not to take risks. We don’t want them to do something where they can get hurt, but sometimes that means having no fun. It’s a balance they should learn from us.

People say that everything in life can’t be fun. That may be true but how much fun you have is often in your control. If you choose to have a good attitude,  many things in your life can be fun. I love my job because I work hard to make it fun for me and the kids. We sing and laugh together. One thing all my students agree is that I’m funny. They know that it’s important to me that they have fun while they learn. Teaching your kids to have fun and laugh is a life skill, a coping mechanism, and a way to connect with people. The last time I probably acted ridiculous was two hours ago when I sang: ” Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down you’re rockin the boat!” to a boy who’s notorious in my class for not staying in his seat. For most adults this would be outrageous behavior, but in my classroom it’s the norm, and it’s fun. We also have freeze dance every day. In the beginning most kids are shy and don’t dance very much. Now that we’ve been doing it for a while they are completely comfortable busting a move. I love dancing and often indulge in it. I dance around my house all the time full throttle, holding nothing back. There’s been many a time my husband has come home and walked in on me really giving my all singing and dancing to my current favorite song. I don’t mind being discovered that way. It’s one moment where I feel completely myself and happy. How many adults can say that about what they do? I don’t know about the seltzer, but the song and dance I am down for.

Tamra Writes: Okay, numero uno, no kids or teens EVER say “act your age, not your shoe size,” unless they’re singing a Prince song. Let’s just make that clear. I love to act silly, although I get not wanting to embarrass yourself. I end up embarrassing myself without doing it on purpose, and for other people who are like that, I could understand them not wanting to do it on purpose. That being said, it can be fun to act completely out of control and crazy like you don’t care what anyone thinks. We dance in my classroom too and often the kids are really shy at first. As soon as they see me embarrassing myself (hardly, I am an awesome dancer), they are more willing to bust a move or two.

Shira and I often end up having an impromptu dance party in the house and it’s so fun, we like to video tape it so we can watch it later and laugh. It’s good clean fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. No, I’m not going to put seltzer down my pants, although I will eat a gross combination of food just for kicks. I think adults need to stop worrying so much about what people think of them, so kids can learn to do the same.

The last time I indulged in ridiculous behavior? Probably yesterday, definitely at least once this week. Although I think at first people feel uncomfortable even just watching others let loose, eventually they loosen up and are at least smiling, or even laughing. Being silly is fun for everyone. Now, I’m a 5 1/2/ 6 shoe size, and I’d like to be either of those ages. I’m already lying and saying I’m only 21, what’s a few more years to lie about?? I love to play!

Shira writes: I totally agree that no one under the age of 50 has ever used the expression “Act your age, not your shoe size.” That’s something easily-annoyed librarians say when you’re being too loud in the fiction section. Somewhere along the line, I think I was in college, I decided I could have a lot more fun if I stopped worrying about being embarrassed. Now I’m known as the teacher who writes songs, hosts math karaoke, and always wears a pumpkin hat on Halloween. We have a lot of fun in my classroom, and sometimes I forget that I am not one of the kids. In addition to the spur-of-the-moment living room dance parties with Tamra, my grade partner and I have instituted a before school Friday morning classroom dance party for the teachers on our floor.

When I have a bad day, one of my favorite things to do is go to the bookstore, sit on the floor in the kids’ section, and read children’s books to myself. It seems weird, but the silly stories make me feel better. I am also “that girl” that you pass on the highway who has her music turned up all the way and is singing at the top of her lungs and car dancing as if no one can see her. It’s even more fun when I make eye contact with the people next to me and smile, just to let them know that I’m not embarrassed to be caught in the act of being silly.

My shoe size if somewhere between 7 and 7 1/2, and I think it would be a lot of fun to go back there. I also have some really great shoes.

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | February 14, 2011

Did You Talk to Your Kids About Egypt?

As I watched the news from Egypt last week I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time — hope that the world will be a better place for my children. I was caught up in the power of the people — especially young people —  to effect change. I was caught up in the exuberance of the will of the people to overthrow a tyrant in order to have more freedom. I was enthralled by the role of social media in this revolution. It was… in a word… transformative.

And so, I think that parents should talk to their kids about this news event, regardless of their age (okay, maybe not the infants). I think this is a time when parents can and should talk to their children about what’s going on in the world. It’s not hard to explain this news to kids. Put simply, the people of Egypt, after being led for 30 years by a leader who didn’t care as much for them as himself, said “Enough.” They spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. And, they gathered and stayed in the streets for weeks, for the most part in a non-violent manner, demonstrating their demands for a better life. They demanded that President Mubarak step down and In the end, that’s what happened. And now, it will take some time, but maybe Egypt will become a true democracy. Maybe not, but at least now there is a chance. And if that happens, the region of the Middle East changes and takes steps toward peace, which, if it can happen in that area of the world, it can spread worldwide.

This matters a great deal to me and to millions of parents around the world, but it’s not about us. It’s about our children and the world we will leave them. This was no ordinary week in world events. What’s happened recently in Tunisia, in Yemen, and now in Egypt may mean that the way is paved for peace. Now is the time to talk to your kids about the world around them. I hope my daughters will each talk to the young people they teach in their classrooms, too. If each parent and each classroom teacher explains to kids that the way to peace can be non-violent and that the road to peace is open, maybe they’ll hope along with me that the world is going to be a better place. And, if we all believe that…. maybe it will transform our future.

What did you feel as you watched the news from Egypt this week? Do you agree that it’s news worth sharing with kids? Why?

Alexis writes: Watching the news since the protests began was a little scary. I don’t think a lot of people (including myself) were really well-informed about the reasons why the Egyptian people wanted change. I went online and read an article about what the people were asking for. I realized that what the people were asking for was very reasonable. They wanted to be able to have fair and free elections and they wanted to elect a leader that had sympathy for their plight. Several days later the subject of Egypt came up in conversation at work and one of my colleagues suggested that the reason the protests in Egypt were happening was because Al Qaeda had an interest in taking over the country. I was absolutely horrified that a person who should be educated would suggest something so unfounded.

I think a lot of times parents don’t want to discuss this stuff with their kids because they want to protect them from the fact that sometimes the world is a scary place. Be careful with this folks. There’s a difference between innocence and ignorance. You have a responsibility to your child to let them know being informed is important. Knowledge truly is power, give it to your children. Discussing things will give your kids intellectual curiosity and tolerance, both important life skills. What’s really great about this experience is that in school we talk about Martin Luther King but it’s hard for the kids to really relate to what it was like to be alive in his time. Now we have a real-life example of people taking control of their destiny and banding together to make change. It’s a great opportunity to be a real witness to history. What could be bad about that for your children?

Tamra Writes: I’m not gonna lie, I really didn’t have too much of a clue what was going on, besides what I had seen on Facebook. I haven’t turned on the news since I can’t remember when, so I had to do a quick catch up to find out the details of what was really going on. Now that I’m all caught up, I think I can respond to the blog (we’ll see about that).

I think what’s happening over there is actually pretty cool. I can’t imagine going through what those people have been going through, but I guess it wasn’t too long ago that this country was going through similar kinds of things – trying to change the laws so things are fair. I agree with Alexis about this one. I teach a unit on Black History during the month of February, and the kids really have a hard time understanding what was going on and realizing that it wasn’t that long ago that our country was experiencing these kinds of things. This would be a great opportunity to give the kids a real life example that is happening when they are alive. I hear it all the time in school, “can’t talk about that with the kids.” I agree that there are some things I censor, because I don’t know that it is my job to explain certain sensitive issues to 8 year olds, but parents can teach their kids about this kind of stuff and I agree that they have a responsibility to share this kind of news with their children. Besides, if parents don’t talk about it, their children could grow up thinking that it’s not important to be informed because they never heard their parents discussing news. Do we really need a generation of people who don’t care/know about what’s going on in the world? Could be pretty scary…


Ned Writes: Yes, this is important news as we may be seeing a remaking of the Middle East. Egypt, the largest country in the middle East with 80 million people, seems to be moving toward democracy and they did it peacefully. Of course when the military is on the side of the revolutionaries, then there was no force to stop the people. Egyptians want freedom, but they also want jobs and the ability to feed their families. I remember Tiananmen Square which started as a peaceful protest and ended in a massacre. We are a long way from peace and this new instability may bring more problems in an already complex situation. I think over time we are getting closer to a more civilized world, but we are a long way from peace on earth. So although this movement is inspiring and hopeful I am reminded of a favorite quote from Martin Luther King “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”


Shira writes: I admit that I limit my news intake to the 15 minutes of fluffy early morning news show that plays in the background while I put my make-up on, so my knowledge of the situation in Egypt was also limited. Sometimes even I think the news is too much to take, so I can imagine why people might think they are protecting their children from what is going on in the world. That being said, I do think it is absolutely necessary to be aware when something major is taking place, even if it’s not in our own backyards. I just had a discussion with my students on Friday about making changes in the world. We watched a movie about the role of youth in the Civil Rights Movement, and I think it was the first time they saw a large group of people close to their age making a difference.

When I taught in England, I was surprised how much my fifth graders knew about the rest of the world. They could actually locate Kenya on a map, and I worry that some American kids wouldn’t be able to tell me where Texas is. And I don’t think that is necessarily their fault. We adults are so worried about “protecting” kids that we forget to keep them informed. If we don’t give them a little information, we are going to end up with a world full of really ignorant adults.

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | February 3, 2011

Is Being Judgmental Making You Sick? Yikes!

Everyone in our family is pretty positive overall. That’s good news, apparently, because according to the column I just read, positive people live longer and get sick less often. (The column went into some graphic detail about how they injected people with a cold virus and then measured their mucus production by gathering and weighing the tissues they used. In case you were wondering, positive people produce less mucus and were sick for a shorter duration. I think we’re in that low mucus group, thankfully. If nothing else, we save on buying tissues.)

Got me to thinking, though. What makes you positive or negative? And, what can you do to shift the balance to P from N? Turns out, much of it is determined by the things you say and the way you say them. For example, the column said, if you are critical or judgmental, you send out negative vibes and get those in return. If you meet people for the first time and they hear you judging others harshly, they get a negative vibe from you and that, in turn, sends negativity your way.

My girls and I may be guilty here. Does that make us less positive? We do, sometimes for sport, judge others harshly. We keep it quiet and among ourselves, though, so we don’t actually hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve always thought that examining how others lived their lives and talking about it helped us to figure out how we could do better. When a friend’s kid exhibits a selfish behavior, for example, I’ll tell my girls about it and we’ll talk about how that kid is doing the wrong thing, hurting her parent, etc. and we process how we (who are totally perfect) would never behave that way. I thought this was productive. Now I see that maybe it just made us seem judgmental and negative.

Have I set a bad example here? Have I made my daughters seem negative to others with a judgmental leaning? Is it time for us to develop a new attitude and a more embracing-of-others philosophy?

Shira writes:

I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person, but honestly, I use a lot of tissues (allergies, you know). When I think of being positive, I think more about how I let the things around me affect me, rather than my own opinions of others. Despite numerous rejections from jobs, I’ve tried as hard as I could to keep a positive attitude about my job search, and it hasn’t always been easy. It seems that it paid off, because despite being 20 minutes late to the interview, I did actually get the latest job I interviewed for.

As for judging others, yeah, we do it a lot. I don’t think it’s necessarily a negative thing. Being critical about the decisions others are making can help you make decisions for yourself. It might be a good idea to keep our opinions to ourselves more, but, let’s face it, that’s never going to happen.

Tamra Writes:

Just like Shira, when I read this, I immediately thought to myself, “I do use a lot of tissues.” Once I even had a discussion with someone about how some people are “tissue people” and some people are not. Somewhere along the line I changed from a “non-tissue person” to a “tissue person”, with my allergies and everything. Even with the abundance of tissues I do feel like I am a positive person. I don’t think there is anything wrong with poking fun at people you don’t know. They will never find out and it’s always good for a laugh. I’m not gonna lie, I love to judge. I’m not doing anything with my judgments, but I like having them around, and I think by looking at other people’s choices, whether it’s an unfortunate decision to wear tapered jeans, or the even more unfortunate choice to marry a guy you met online 2 weeks before, I think it helps me make the best decisions for myself. Is there any reason to not use other people’s mistakes so we don’t make the same ones ourselves? I don’t think so.  I feel that I am very positive. I always try to look on the bright side and work hard to do well. When other people at work complain, I try to make them laugh or show them the silver lining to their problems, which are usually ridiculous anyway. I think if you’re not letting your judgments make you become a negative Nancy, there is nothing wrong with keeping them around for another year. Besides, anyone who says they aren’t judgmental is probably lying.

Alexis Writes:

I’m confused about the tissues, but I don’t have allergies so maybe that’s why. I don’t think I’m a tissue person (that actually sounds kind of gross). I consider myself a work-in-progress person. I try to be positive but I am constantly frustrated by other people’s choices. I don’t really want to be influenced by what other people do but unfortunately the choices people make often affect me. If one of my co-workers tries lies about what they’re doing, they make my job harder. If someone says something that I find morally upsetting I don’t like to stand by and just absorb their ignorance. In this way the world can be a difficult place for me because I get very upset when I feel that I am being harmed, or see other people being mistreated. I understand that most people don’t let this stuff drown them so I try to ignore it when I am frustrated by other people’s choices. However, eventually what happens is I just get upset and explode later when it gets to the point that I can’t control it.

Because I know this about myself I am on a quest for inner peace. Most of the time this means exercising and lately it’s hot yoga. And, truth be told I’m even judging people during hot yoga. I look at who is wearing a cute outfit, who shouldn’t be wearing a crop top and most importantly who is better and who is worse than I am in my yoga class. This completely goes against the whole point of taking yoga but I have to tell you after about 10 minutes into the class I am so hot and sweaty and basically want to die that I am completely focused on myself. So that’s a victory because for a few moments I only worry about myself and I make no judgments about anyone (except whoever is teaching the class, because I basically want to kill them). The world is full of judgments. We are evaluated in our profession, we are evaluated in dating, and we are evaluated by other people judging if we are successful and happy. Judgment and judging is a part of life. The secret is not doing away with judgment, it’s how you deal with it that determines if you are a positive person.

Mom Writes: Okay, it sounds like a consensus. Judge on! Our optimism is safe within us and can co-exist alongside our judgments. If my goal was to raise positive people, I hope I succeeded. I do wonder, though, what other parents do to try to raise optimists. Or is it just inborn?

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | January 20, 2011

We Made The New York Times!

Recently, Dr. Amy Chua‘s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” has become the center of a debate about parenting. Chua contends that raising her daughters by a strict set of rules (no sleepovers, no computer games, etc.) is rooted in her Chinese heritage and produces a more successful person. She tells of not accepting anything less than an “A” grade, of making her kids practice their instrument (violin or piano only) instead of “wasting time” playing imaginatively, of having them complete thousands of math problems in their free time whenever anyone else in math class got a higher grade, etc. She berated them, denied them bathroom privileges, threatened to burn their stuffed animals, and much more, all while contending it was action borne out of her love for them.

New York Times columnist David Brooks, a man with whom I never agree, responded in a column that Dr. Chua totally misses the point that kids learn a great deal, maybe their most important lessons, from the very thing that Dr. Chua eschews, that is social interaction. He says that negotiating the delicate balance of a sleepover, for example, teaches kids a great deal about how to find their way in the world. I concur. And, I wrote a letter to the NYT which is being published today (1/20) about how these parenting methods and debates come and go tirelessly. We’ll continue to debate them ad nauseam until the next “expert” comes along.

If I had to pick the animal mother that most described me, it wouldn’t be tiger mom. I wasn’t fierce, and I don’t think moms should be. I’d say I was more like Koala Bear Mom. Much more pouch mom than punch mom, anyway. I believe that good parents nurture first and then support our kids to success. We do shine a light on what we think matters and we should hold up our standards for them to achieve. But, all the while, accepting who they are and allowing their natural abilities and desires to mesh with our desires for them.

Baby koala, captured at Currumbin Wildlife San...

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe I was too easy on the girls academically, but I believe that while education is important, there’s more to life than straight As in school. A study out just this week shows that kids don’t actually learn all that much in college as they spend 4 hours a day on academics and 14 hours doing social things. Yet, many of them, my kids included, go out into the world successfully. My girls chose people professions, helping professions, (they all teach) and it’s likely they did so because they learned that those connections are what matter most in life.

Was I too lenient? I still don’t think so, but maybe I was just lucky that my girls turned out so well.

Alexis Writes:

I think this book shows how desperate people are for answers on the right way to raise their kids, but the thing is, parenting is an art, not a science. What ever happened to simply teaching kids to treat others the way you want to be treated? I am sure this mother loves her children, but if she was so confident in her upbringing abilities why did she have to write a book defending her methods and insisting it was all out of love? She sounds completely psycho. I’m curious to know exactly what she’s a doctor of but whatever it is, I don’t think I’d go to her for any consultation.

From my experience in the classroom, kids really learn the most from playing with each other. They establish rules for games and decide what’s fair. They learn to work through and anticipate differences and how to handle them. Problem solving and social interaction are skills involved in every job and life experience. If we don’t give children the gift of teaching them how to handle those social situations now, we are putting them at a major disadvantage. We all know that regardless of your stats on paper, if you can relate to people it always gives you the edge in life.

By the way Koala Bear Mom…I’m not saying you were the strictest with academics, but are you forgetting when you insisted on tutoring me for the verbal SAT section? Or what about when you made me write every single paper for my English classes with you? I wouldn’t exactly say those were nurturing experiences, but I will admit you never told me I couldn’t go to the bathroom and you never set fire to Monk.

Tamra Writes:

“Tiger Mom” sounds more like “Asylum Mom”. I think Alexis is right. I do believe that parents are either looking for the “right” way to parent or aren’t looking for any way at all. Just like in teaching where all kids should be taught differently, different kids should be parented accordingly. Some children need a lot of structure or they will take advantage, and others will be much more successful when left to their own devices. I think it’s all about knowing your kids, and making mistakes, and then learning from those mistakes. And, like Alexis, I’m certainly not booking my next appointment with this Dr. Mom. God forbid you don’t follow her strict regimen and she’ll put a burning stake in your eyeball. Also, any doctor would know it is certainly not good for any of your systems to deny the use of the bathroom…

Kids need to interact socially. A lot of the problems we have now are due to the fact that kids and young adults don’t know how to communicate with people appropriately and they think they are entitled to things just because they exist. Socializing teaches children how to compromise, share, listen, imagine, and create things. There are too many kids that are focused on earning that A, but they could care less what they are actually learning. If that’s what this mother wants, that’s her problem.

I’d say Mom was definitely not Tiger Mom, but Koala Bear is a little too docile a description. I’ve definitely heard you speak with customer service people after being on hold for over an hour, and you did make that salesgirl at Neiman Marcus cry that one time…I don’t know any koalas that would make someone cry over a 99 dollar Nicole Miller dress…

I don’t really want to read her book, but I’m dying to read the book her children write: “How I Ended Up In Therapy,” or “Don’t Look in the Eye of the Tiger-she might burn you,” or even “Living With a Tiger Mom: Memoirs of Life in the Wild.”

Shira writes:

I agree with all of the above, mostly. This mother does sound a little bit psycho and I truly believe that putting this kind of pressure on children has a high risk of having the opposite effect. Forcing children to do something they don’t want to do, or telling them that perfection is the only way to succeed, can lead to some pretty messed up adults, and some really angry (though often fantastic) rock music.

I think everyone is right, that there is no one way to raise every child. Even within the same family, you can’t always use the same methods with one child that work with another. I deal with so many parents that expect their younger children to live up their genius older siblings’ successes and it just might not be possible. I’m all about high expectations, but they have to be reasonable. Yes, it would be nice to get As all the time, but in the grand scheme of life, who really cares what grade you got on your report card in Reading in fourth grade? No one.

As for the koala, first of all, koalas are actually really nasty animals. But since I think you were going for the warm fuzziness of a koala, I’m not sure I’m in total agreement there. It’s true that there was not a lot of pressure on us academically, but it doesn’t mean there was (or still is) no pressure about anything. For the sake of keeping the peace, I won’t go into more detail about that (cough online dating cough).

Ned writes:

I can’t believe Debby actually is getting her letter to the NYT published. You should be really proud of yourself! Nobody hit Debby with a big stick. And thanks to my good friend and neighbor, Shimon, who emailed the David Brooks article to me and said we should blog about it. That Amy Chua is making me look like the Prince of Parents. And my kids say they’re a little scared of me.

Yeah, I was all about the trophies for every kid who participated in the soccer league but really thrilled when my kids got a solo in the school play or scored a goal in lacrosse. I want the girls to have lots of success (who wouldn’t?) but I trust that with some common-sense guidance they will find their way. There are some really good life lessons to learn from losing and not being the best. I spared the rod but yelled sometimes and punished even less. Our girls were encouraged to do their best and the rest would take care of itself. I’m really happy with my work. Read our book “A Koala and a Labrador Retriever Raise Three Ducklings.”

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | January 18, 2011

Just Wrong!

Yesterday I was driving along, minding my own business, listening to the radio when a Jake Shimabukuro recording of “Mrs. Robinson” came on. Let me start by saying that he is talented and can do fantastic things with a ukulele so nothing I’m about to say is a judgment of his considerable musical skills. But, folks, some things shouldn’t be, and this is one of them. I once heard Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkle, the duo famous for “Mrs. Robinson”) say that his idea of hell was hearing any of his music turned in Muzak and then being trapped on an elevator listening to it. Or maybe it was a Saturday Night Live routine with him. Either way, I agree.

My friend Michele and I have an expression we use often — “Some things are just wrong.” We reserve it for the things that are truly wrong with the world. Or, in other words, the things that annoy us. So, yesterday’s musical misadventure led me to today’s list of things that are “just wrong.” These are in no particular order. Nor do they fit into any one category other than, “just wrong.”

1. Any recording of Simon and Garfunkle music that doesn’t include the lyrics. The poetry is the reason for the music, after all. And, lest you think I only savor the music recorded before 1970, I feel the same about any recording of Pearl Jam music that doesn’t include the hypnotic voice of Eddie Vedder. I may be old, but not too old to love Vedder.

2. The wearing of socks with sandals. This can be compounded by the unholy “S” trio — socks, sandals and shorts. If you must wear socks with shorts, do us all a favor and put on some shoes. There’s only so much we should be forced to look at.

3. The use of the word “it’s” to mean anything other than “it is.” Really, how hard is that concept to remember? On this same “just wrong” note, I could include the misuse of apostrophes in signs such as in, “Many coffee’s on sale now.” Why not just add the “s”? Why do you even think an apostrophe goes there?

4. Charging for bread in a restaurant. Raise each price of a meal 25 cents if you must, but extend me the courtesy of not charging for bread. It makes me feel unwelcome in your establishment.

5. Sixteen-year-old kids who drive (and own) nicer cars than… well… than I do. And, it’s not that I care about cars very much. It’s just… well, it should be obvious what’s wrong with that.

What’s “just wrong” in your world?

Tamra Writes: How many are we allowed to do???

1. Bringing little kids to movies after 9 PM. They don’t belong there. It’s too late and they can’t sit still. I don’t need to watch 40-Year-Old VIrgin with a 6-year-old.

2. Posting really personal, private, and intimate things on Facebook. Does everybody need to know that you lost your job, your mom died, and you just sat on the toilet for 3 hours after eating bad Chinese food? I don’t think so. If I die, please don’t put me on your Facebook status, it’s just wrong.

3. 12-year-olds wearing nicer clothes, shoes, or bags than I. If you’re 12, do you really need a Prada bag and a Juicy sweatshirt? You’re 12, you’re going to look awkward with or without a 500 dollar accessory.

4. When people say “supposively.” It’s not a word. It never will be.

5. Bad tippers. Unless your waiter or waitress is completely rude and horrible, there is no reason to not leave 20%. What is the difference to you between leaving 10 dollars or leaving 8 dollars? I can’t stand it. If you aren’t willing to leave an acceptable tip, don’t go out to eat and get your own napkins and refills.

I could go on, but I probably shouldn’t.

Shira writes:

1. Pronouncing espresso, “expresso.” Umm, there’s no X and I actually think it’s harder to say it that way.

2. Bridalplasty.

3. Text message chain letters. You’re the one that is going to have 10 years of bad luck if you send me any more of those.

4. When a 10-year-old said to me last week “Miss C, did you see the new Jersey Shore last night?” Not only is that show entirely inappropriate for pretty much anyone to be watching, but it’s on past my bedtime, which means, no 10-year-old should be up watching it either.

5. Posting sonograms and ultrasound pictures on Facebook. Do I have to see the inside of your uterus?


Ned writes:

1. People who call and don’t leave a message. I probably don’t want to talk to you anyway.

2. Drivers who don’t move forward when making a left (I don’t mean the other left). I’d like to make the turn too.

3. People who want to be Facebook friends. If you want to be friends, invite me over for dinner. Sorry, I’m busy that night.

4. People at the gym who don’t wipe off the equipment. That’s gross.

5. Reality TV. It’s not reality. It’s just TV.

Enough! Now I’m starting to get annoyed!


Alexis Writes:

1. People who bring in anyone under the age of 18 to a nail salon. That’s lady time– not Gymboree time.

2. The use of the word “yuz.” It’s also not a word and no matter who it is they always sound creepy when they say it.

3. Being rude in any way. No matter who you are, you still have no right to be rude to anyone.

4. Putting someone down. Get over yourself.

5. Asking for money so you can go on a trip for your own “self discovery.” Just because I want to go to Italy doesn’t mean I have the right to ask you to pay for it.

6. Getting completely naked in the gym changing area. I realize it’s a locker room, but really?

7. Saying Reality TV is wrong. Don’t judge me because I like it. It makes me feel better about my reality.


But, maybe it’s wrong to say what’s wrong. Who are we to judge?

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | January 12, 2011

Cookies Are Good. Sometimes They’re Great.

I just baked the most amazing chocolate chip cookies. They are cookie heaven. They are thick and crisp on the outside yet chewy on the inside. I used an App on Ned’s iPad called Cookulus. It comes with a basic cookie recipe. Then, you slide the bars to pinpoint the exact cookie type you want, thick or thin, crispy or chewy, crumbly or soft and as you slide the bars, the recipe changes right before your eyes. Amounts and/or ingredients are adjusted, baking temperature and time may change, etc. I can’t do the math or even understand the math behind its clever little algorithms. But, I know a good cookie when I taste one and these are fantastic.

I’ve long believed that cooking and baking with kids is one of the all-time best parent/child activities. I even cooked with kids when I was a classroom teacher because I think there’s so much kids learn from that. It’s language arts, it’s math, it’s even chemistry. As a parent there’s a bonus, too. Not only can you help your kids learn (they read the recipe, they measure the amounts, they witness chemical reactions, etc.) but you can impact their eating habits, too. Lately, with 67% of Americans overweight, I’ve been thinking a lot about a parent’s responsibility to teach kids how and what to eat.

Which brings me to my Cookulus-perfect confection. (I downloaded the app from iTunes, by the way). Yes, it’s a cookie. No, it’s not a health food, and yes, I think it’s okay for kids to eat them.Full disclosure, I did use whole wheat flour instead of just white so that there is some whole grain/fiber in the cookie. But, I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach kids that treats are forbidden. I think it makes more sense to make treats together that kids are allowed to eat, that way at least you know what’s in them and then you can teach kids that the key is moderation.

When I used to pack my kids’ lunches, there would be a sandwich (whole grain bread), a fruit and vegetable pack (which I packed each night as I made dinner and was cutting fruits and vegetables for dinner, I’d put extras in ziplock bags for lunch) and a home-made cookie. Just one. They might have another small treat after dinner but that was about it for snack foods. I didn’t encourage gorging on sweets but I didn’t think it made sense to label them as “bad” foods. Of course, it wasn’t all as lovely as it sounds. My girls did ask often why our cookies were home-made while other kids had store-bought ones. And, no, they didn’t mean that as a compliment to the chef, either!

My daughters (the teachers) tell me that some of the snack and lunch foods that their students bring to school are really quite horrifying. Cupcakes galore, tons of candy and empty-calorie chips, sodas and all kinds of nutrient-free food. We’ve also talked about how some kids who could use a healthier diet (lower sugar and/or gluten-free foods for those kids whose parents see a connection between food and behavior and/or focus) have a hard time when they compare their foods to the foods of the kids around them.

That made me wonder whether my daughters ate those healthy lunches I spent years packing. And, do they think those years of balanced lunches impacted the way they eat today? So, girls, what do you think? And, moms, what are you packing in your kids’ lunches? Or, if they buy lunch at school, do you talk to them about what they eat? I think it’s true that you are what you eat. And, sometimes, it’s okay if it’s a cookie, but only in the scope of a whole balanced life. (And, if I’m going to eat a cookie, it’s great if it’s exactly the way I like it!)

Ned Writes: I just tasted the cookies Debby made using our Cookulus App. I think Debby chose to make them soft, chewy, and thick using the sliders. They were delicious. I had two, but the night is young.

Alexis Writes: The way Mom packed my lunch definitely influences what I pack now. I usually include a sandwich, veggies and fruit but I have to have dessert. I need something to look forward to. Treats are a part of life, and it’s important to teach your kids to eat balanced meals. I think when you completely deprive your children you’re doing them a disservice by not teaching them a way to handle foods that aren’t as nutritious. I’ve asked the parents of my students to specifically label their child’s snack in a bag because I can’t act as the food police for their child. There are many times where I raise an eyebrow about what someone is eating, but if a parent deems it okay for their child who am I to judge?

I know there are times when the kids try to trade snacks, which I discourage (too many problems and someone always confuses a “trade” with “taking” something). But I know there were times as a kid that I tried to trade one of my friends for her Jello pudding (at the time it seemed like nectar of the gods). I think it’s part of life that kids are curious about food.

So if I want to use Cookulus do I need an iPad? Because I definitely think I could talk John into buying one.

Mom Writes: I just checked the Cookulus


website ( and it says that right now it’s an iPad app but other operating systems (and other tweakable recipes — brownies, chili, other cookies) are coming soon. I like this because even though I make a lot of substitutions in my cooking (as my family knows well  from the now-famous spinach brownie debacle which has become family lore), I don’t know the exact ways to change the recipe so that the flavor is still good. This is the first program I’ve seen which lets me choose the final product and then tells me how to get there. As to talking John into buying an iPad, I think you could. Now whether you should… .that’s a whole other question. And, a newly married couple learning how to manage money, that’s a whole other blog post.

Tamra Writes: I love cookies. And I definitely love them if someone else is baking them exactly how I like them. I do like my cookies in a specific way, I like them chewy and chocolatey, and again, I like them when someone else is making them for me. There is nothing wrong with having a cookie for a snack. I don’t give the parents any instructions about snacks to bring in, because it is opening up a can of worms about me telling them how to parent, and really, it isn’t my business. Do I think an 8-year-old needs to eat a bag of Doritos at 9 in the morning?  Not really, but that’s not for me to say. I think the more we deprive ourselves, we end up teaching ourselves, and kids, that treats are NEVER okay, which is totally not true. It is important to incorporate treats into your eating plan to show yourself, and children if you have them, that it is okay as long as you are not overdoing it. I’ve been known to house many a cookie, and don’t get me started on my candy addiction (I can’t buy Halloween candy early or it won’t make it for the trick or treaters).

I am not a great cook. I don’t like spending the time doing it when I have worked a long day, but occasionally I have to eat something. I often struggle with knowing what I like to eat and taste, but not being sure how to create those tastes. If someone wanted to buy me an iPad, I probably still wouldn’t cook, but it would be a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | January 4, 2011

Should You Teach Your Daughter That Clothes Matter?

On New Year’s Eve, one of my friends complimented my outfit and said, “Velvet and feathers really says New Year’s Eve like nothing else.” I totally agree and even more, I thought about how what you wear can not only reflect your mood but maybe even create it. They say that people who feel good actually do all sorts of good things like stay healthier, lose weight more easily, sleep better etc. I say that sometimes your clothes can make you feel better than you otherwise would. When you’re wearing velvet and feathers you are essentially making a statement that you are out for fun. Serious or depressing need not apply to a velvet and feathers evening. It doesn’t matter if you’re going out somewhere fabulous. In fact. we stayed home for New Year’s Eve and had just 7 friends join us. So, even a small and intimate event can be the background for an over the top outfit for no other reason than it just feels uplifting.

And, it doesn’t have to be new or expensive. My frolic-inducing outfit is many years old (and was a present from my lovely husband, who, while often is not a dapper dresser himself, has amazing taste in clothes for me) and if you know me, you’ve seen me sporting it before. None of that matters. What matters is how I feel when I wear it.

In terms of New Year’s resolutions, I’m not making any this year. But, I will try to consider how what I put on may determine my mood and, hopefully, that will mean more days of fun, fewer days of… well… not enough fun.

Do you think that what you wear matters and may even determine how you feel? I think this is an interesting topic to talk about with your kids. If they pick out their own clothes (and they should), are there outfits that just make them feel better? Food, or rather, fashion for thought, anyway.

Alexis Writes: Your fashion always makes a statement. I love clothes. Getting excited to wear an outfit you’ve just picked out can make your whole day. I know everyone always feels good wearing something they like. I’ve had a person comment to me that with my outfits “There’s always something a little bit different.” I try to do something stylish but not exactly what everyone else is wearing. I remember when I was in 6th grade my boyfriend (of all of 4 days) broke up with me and I was pretty devastated. My Mom’s advice– Get dressed in your cutest outfit and don’t show him how hurt you are. I never forgot that and sometimes when I need a little motivation I try to muster up the same courage and choose something that makes me feel confident. It doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money (although if you love it and don’t spend yourself into debt, it’s ok) but teaching kids that finding clothes that make them feel good is a great idea. It’s a good way to work on self-esteem and having fun. While you’re at it, make sure you take the opportunity to let your kids know that making negative judgements about people based on their clothes is way against the code of fashion. As long as someone isn’t hurting anyone, everyone should be able to wear what they want.

Mom Writes: While I don’t remember that 6th grade idiot boy (cause only an idiot would dump you), I’m sure he’d kick himself if he saw you or knew you now.

Shira Writes: I definitely think clothes can make the woman. When I have an event coming up, even something small, I always plan my outfit first. Something as simple as a fabulous pair of shoes can change my mood from blue to hot pink with polka dots. I always try to throw together something a little out of the ordinary. I know that not everyone would always agree with my sense of style. Tamra once spent half an hour in store convincing me not to buy a mini hat that perched on the side of my head. (I didn’t buy it, but I wish I had). I love that I can use my clothes to express who I am. I can show off that I am not concerned about what other people think and I just like to do what makes me happy. Even if that means wearing a mini-hat perched on my head.

A "Prom"inent Hat! Fabulous!


Mom Writes: No one wears a hat like you do. Remember your senior prom? Who else could have carried off that huge chapeau and look so fabulous in it?



Tamra Writes: I love clothes. I love shoes. I love buying them and I love wearing them. Everyone knows that I will make any excuse to buy something online. Going out for the weekend? Obviously I have to buy a new outfit for the occasion, even if it isn’t really an occasion. I have always loved fun clothes. From party dresses and way too many necklaces when I was little, to feathers and fur (faux), and even now, I never hesitate to treat myself to something I will enjoy wearing. I work hard and I deserve to spend the money on things that I will enjoy. Wearing a cute outfit that I know I look good in gives me something to look forward to and lets me have a good time when I’m out and about. Sure, I may have a small online shopping addiction, (I have 2 windows open right now with full shopping carts), but I could be addicted to worse, and I never buy anything I don’t actually have the money for. Once I had a whole 3-month relationship where I bought a new outfit every weekend. I am not exaggerating, literally every time I saw this person, I was wearing something new. We had to break up, because I would have had to declare bankruptcy, well that, and I got dumped. And guess what, getting dumped is just another reason to buy a new outfit!!! So it all works out in the end. Anyhoo…I say, wear what you like if it makes you smile and kick up your heels and say to yourself, “I’m ready to have a good time.” There is nothing worse than seeing someone out in an adorable outfit, with the biggest sour face in the world on. They don’t deserve that kind of fashion!!

And Shira, that hat was offensive. It didn’t look good on Sarah Jessica in Sex and the City, and it didn’t look good on you. You were hurting society by purchasing that. Believe me, I saved you 10 dollars.

Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | December 6, 2010

We’re the featured Bloggers today!

Please look at under “What’s Hot” and you’ll see us as today’s featured writers. Leave a comment so we’ll know you were there! Thanks!

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »