“For us, the problem has been adults asking our children to call them by their first names rather than Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones. I have a problem with that. My mid-ground is using the tradition of the South (even though I grew up outside NYC) and have them call the Miss Julie or Mr. Tom. My children should not be addressing adults by their first names.
On occasion, I will use my mother's first name, but she's 91 and her hearing is going. Usually, it's when we are out in a crowd and I'm afraid she's going to get lost -- I do it for the shock factor to get her attention. It works.”
“The discussion of my pregnancy at my law firm was: You need to use all your vacation and sick time and then you'll be on unpaid leave for the rest of your 8 week maternity leave. And we expect you to be available by phone to support those handling your cases while you're out. And we're not going to pay your for the time you spend on the phone with us because its a privilege to work for us.
In the meantime, a male associate with far less experience took over my case load and demanded a raise to more than I was making (with significantly more experience) and was given it. When I happened to find out (careless leaving a salary chart on the copier) I raised hell and demanded a proportional raise above his salary or there would be a suit against the firm. I got the money, stayed for about another year and then left. I'd love to know what mind-altering substance Sheryl Sandberg is taking.”
“The best thing I can teach my children is that they will fail. And, that success is about getting up when you fail and trying again. I have let both my children fail. It was hard to watch, which may be what motivates these parents to "help."”
“Mikey09 - if I follow your other earlier comment, your children are now adults, which means its been a good 10 years since they were near the ages of my 10 and 13 year olds. The hyper-competitive sports landscape has changed in that 10 years.
You are lucky you live somewhere there are both kinds of leagues. Living in Philadelphia, we're lucky if we can find one league for a kid to play sports in. I'm in the city, not the burbs. School sports were very nearly cut out of the budget for Philly schools this year. To be honest, we're lucky schools opened this year.”
mikey09 on Sep 9, 2013 at 13:52:54
“Yes, my kids are adults but I have grandson's...big family and 9 grandson's from high school on down. My oldest son is also a high school football and baseball coach. My 5 boys all went to college because of sports, I guess you could say, sports is a big deal in my house. My one and only daughter also played girls basketball all through school. I live VERY rural, no cuts in sports programs or PE in my area.”
“Should that be at the same time some parents learn that their kids just suck at school? Should we push the star athlete out of high school because he is a less than stellar student and bringing down overall test scores? Sorry, Jarrod38, it's not about being the best at any sport. There was a time, in the not too distant past, where no one played any one sport year round. You played a different sport every season. You learned how to play them in phys. ed. at school. Then, if you wanted to concentrate on one - you could, but in the 60s and 70s there were no year round soccer, baseball or other programs. Gymnastics and skating were the exception at the time, because they had their own facilities.
So when your kid sucks at school, should we just throw him or her out? It sounds like that's what you want to do with the kids who are not "travel team" athletes.”
mikey09 on Sep 6, 2013 at 17:41:32
“Today athletes are not allowed to be poor students. Your right we didn't play the same sport year round but we practiced year round, we trained, conditioned, etc. Also this article was not abt school, most kids under age 10 do NOT play for a school team but some sort of community league. And there is room for both a rec and competitive league. ”
“It's the parents and coaches. My girls never swam competitively. We joined a summer swim club this summer and thought it would be a good idea for the girls (10 and 13) to join the swim team. Coach said: "it is lots of fun." WRONG! There was no effort made to teach the children all the different strokes. (You learned them via private lessons with coach.) Parents were hyper competitive about the meets scheduled with other swim clubs. Nightmare!
Now, I have work to do with my girls so they can enjoy a sport they could have used all their lives. We all hated it. I knew we were off to a bad start when the 10 year old came out of the pool crying the first day after 10 minutes because she was being yelled at by the coach. I was honest with both coaches about the girls skills and told the team was "open to every level of swimmer."
I applaud USTA for what it's doing. Both girls have participated in the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning program at the Legacy Youth Tennis Center here in Philly. Last year, my older daughter was lucky enough to attend Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the Open (the site Lisa describes) as one of the winners of the annual Arthur Ashe Essay contest. Guess what, while she has negative feelings about swimming now, she is still positive about tennis.
Coincidence? I don't think so.”
mikey09 on Sep 6, 2013 at 17:45:34
“Swim TEAM means its a competition. Mine learned to swim through Red Cross classes then a couple of them were asked to join the swim team at our local pool. It was all abt competition, but I knew that and my boys wanted to win races, so they joined the team. ”
“We used a combination. Our daughter was 6 when she was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. She had a verbal IQ above 150, but could not learn to read. The medication (first, a patch with a time-released transdermal version of Adderall) worked well and helped her get through first grade and able to read. We also worked on behavior modification at the same time. Now, entering HS this fall, she takes Concerta at a low dose for the school day to help stay on task, but does not use the drug when not at school. She is an honors student at a magnet science and technology high school.
I think it is too easy to say parents do one versus the other. Each parent tries to find the combination that works best for that child. Until you have walked in that parents shoes, with that particular child, you have no right to judge or criticize.”
ninas8 on Sep 2, 2013 at 18:24:39
“Congrats!!! What a great job you have you done focusing on all that can be done to enhance your daughters life. You have to be so proud of your daughter and she of you....May her college days be fantastic!!”
“No real labor due to a scheduled C-Section at 36 weeks 3 days for number 1 (9 lbs. 2 oz., just fine thank you), but 2.5 weeks of contractions (real ones) 5 minutes apart every day all day. Number 2 - no contractions - just the scheduled C. 36 weeks 4 days, 8 lbs 12 oz. Just fine. They are now almost 14 and 10.”
“These stories all moved me. I moved to Philly with my then husband in 1986. I met the woman who would be my best friend through him -- she was the sister of his college roommates wife -- we socialized as couples, but the "girls" developed a special relationship. It continued for 9 years. Until my divorce, which was fairly pleasant as divorces go. Turns out, my ex was dating my bff's younger sister. Younger sister made it clear that bff could no longer have contact with me. I found this all out years later. The loss of my marriage and my best friend at the same time was devastating. Since then, I find I have been very guarded with new friends. That was more than 20 years ago.”
“Brava! Amen! As a Sandwich Mom (children 13 and 10, mother 90 and ailing) who practiced in litigation for 20+ years in the office for 12 and 14 hour days, I stepped back. (My kids needed me more approaching and in middle school than in their toddler and pre-school years.) I am blessed that I work from home two days a week with a tremendous amount of flexibility on the two days I'm in the office doing litigation support work for a women-owned law firm. The managing partner understands because she has been in my shoes.
Her mantra to me -- just get it done. Don't care when or how. You know which projects you must complete and in what order. So when I couldn't come in because my mom was in the hospital, I made full use of the hospital's wifi to get the job done between tests, talking with docs and the inevitable waiting that a week-long hospital stay produces.
So today, while changing loads of laundry, fielding phone calls from my mom's doctors and juggling the kids' schedules, I was able to get the most pressing project complete and transferred to the office.
There are so many women like me -- with years of experience who can solve the problems, but are being overlooked because we cannot be in an office from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. ROWE is the way to go and I'm blessed to work for someone who "gets" it.”
“This is not a surprise to me, as the mother of a gifted ADD (inattentive) child. My daughter is socially awkward. We have worked with her on it, but she will always be a little bit different than the other kids. It is the fact that she is different that causes the bullying -- kids, particularly in middle school, crave to be just like their friends. Someone who is different has a huge target metaphorically painted on their back.
However, bullying is a public health problem -- but for all students. The lack of respect being shown by students to each other is in part indicative of the society we have become and the lack of parents teaching their children how to be respectful and kind to other people. Bullying prevention starts with parents who need to be given some lessons in how to be civilized human beings so they can teach the same skills to their children.”
Saxton on Sep 8, 2012 at 16:57:47
“I totally agree. Middle school kids aim to not stand out and a child with autism cannot help but stand out. It is even more of a problem for kids who are considered high functioning, as often they go undiagnosed and suffer from not being able to have access to the help they need.”
“No quantity of diamonds can prove a marriage works - the love, companionship, compassion and friendship that is necessary to last the years. First marriage at 25 had the engagement ring. Hypenated the last name with ex-husband. Divorced. Not saying they are related. When my current husband proposed, it was very casual. I was 36, he was 40. No ring. We married. I kept my name. Our girls have his last name. Professionally, I had an identity. My mother still writes checks to me with my husband's last name. I answer to Mrs. Husband for those who don't know. Engagements and weddings are "things." The important thing is the marriage and making that work. We will be married 17 years in January.”
“Thank you for being so brave to discuss the ravages of emotional abuse. May you have peace in your future. You control whether you ever see her again. Do not feel you have to -- only those who have walked in our shoes with understand. Reading your piece made me cry and repeat the prayer I have uttered every day since my first daughter was born - Please God, don't let me be like her. Help me to be the mother I wanted to have, not the one I endured.”
annie4439 on Jun 3, 2014 at 16:11:35
“This is a good attitude. I bet you are a wonderful Mother! Bless you.”
“And where will the money to "make improvements" come from? In Philadelphia, we have been chronically underfunded and are looking at the possibility of 41 students per classroom in high school next year. How do you expect any teacher to teach that many students what they need to learn to work in the world and to pass some test which has no relevance to the real world? The GOP controlled state legislature refuses to adequately fund Pennsylvania districts and localities are limited to a 2% property tax cap for school funding. If you want to impose a test, that's fine. Give us the money to make sure our children are ready to learn and have the resources. Each Philadelphia public school got one ream of copy paper for the year as their allotment from the district because that was all that was in the budget. With hundreds and sometimes thousands of students just how far do you think that went? Our teachers spend thousands of their own money to provide materials to their students and classrooms. If you had to operate your business in these conditions, how would you "buck up"?”
LafAtChristianFairyTales on May 31, 2014 at 13:49:44
“I'm all for big spending increases on schools. Preferably after schools set clear goal posts, and then test and measure progress so that we can toss bad methods out and toss bad teachers out. I always vote for property levies for schools, and I always vote Dems and for tax increases, I just wish goals and metrics were better defined”
“My oldest daughter is 14. Younger one is 11. I tell them both, often, that they are smart and beautiful. Part of it is a reaction to my being raised -- told multiple times per day by my mom that I was fat, ugly and stupid. I am none of those things, but it took me years of therapy to overcome the verbal beating I took. I want my girls to love the brains and their bodies. Nothing wrong with telling your daughter she's beautiful. BTW - older daughter goes to a STEM based high school and is at the top of her class. Younger daughter is sailing through 5th grade. I'm so dang proud of both of them and the women they are becoming.”
Feb 10, 2014 at 10:21:21
“While our veterans are not receiving the care they should be and their families are not receiving the support they should be, this is a much wider issue. We need to address the issues of the Sandwich Generation. My mother is 91 and in failing health. I have two children - 14 and 11. Right now, I am fortunate enough to be working part time because my employer is gracious, kind and has cared for her own children and parents at the same time and understands my problem. Most other law firms would have told me to meet my billable hours or take a hike.
Today, I am at work for a few hours before I go to the hospital to be with mom because she is not an accurate medical historian and does not understand what the doctors are doing. Someone needs to be there to be her advocate. That's my job. I don't get paid for it. In the meantime, my husband and my children get that much less of me.
Something must be done to help those of us in the middle of the Sandwich. At the rate at which the boomers are aging, there are only going to be more and more of us as time goes forward.”
“What a wonderful tribute. I can still smell both my grandmothers' cooking -- even though they have been gone 20 and 40 years, respectively. My daughter's never got to know either of them, but I hope they will live in on my children through those treasured family recipes. May Grandma Ruthy rest in peace in the company of angels.”
“Had my first at 37. Second at 41. I'm 52 with a 14 year old and a 10 year old. Yes, I'm still tired. Mostly, its because I'm a sandwich. I also provide care for my 91 year old mother. At this point, she is far more work than my two wonderful daughters. Is it possible I will not see them graduate college or get married -- sure. Given my mother is 90+ and my father 85 when he passed, am I really worried, no.
Those first few years -- til kindergarten are tough. Yes, parenting is a sacrifice and a challenge. You will look back on this piece in a few years and realize you were just consumed by a toddler. You will have a life again. Just be patient -- like you were for your child.”
“My oldest daughter is 14. I find the best way to discuss tricky subjects is in the car. She is not required to make eye contact with me because I'm driving. Works like a charm. We ride together twice a week on days when I'm in my office -- her high school is down the block. Never underestimate the power of a car ride.
I also learned a long time ago never to speak to anyone about anything important on Friday night. I'm too fried from work and everything else that's been going on all week.”
“Why not teach her to be part of the solution? Shelters are always looking for volunteers at the holidays to help feed the hungry. If you are afraid that may be too "disturbing" at 5 1/2 she's old enough to help sort canned goods at a food pantry or collect staples for a food pantry.
How about teaching her about buying gifts for children in shelters or other situations where they would not have Christmas but for the kindness of others? Maybe foregoing the "mountain" of gifts. Christmas is about love. It is about loving our neighbor -- our homeless neighbor, our hungry neighbor, our oppressed neighbor. Teach her what the holiday is really about, then when she does hear and understand those words, she will know that she has made a difference.”
hp blogger Karri-Leigh P. Mastrangelo on Dec 7, 2013 at 18:54:35
“She and my youngest (who is 3.5) helped me pack up boxes of Christmas gifts for a big donation to Operation Shoebox. I haven't yet tackled the idea of famine with them, but these are wonderful suggestions. I agree with you whole-heartedly!”
“My ex-mother-in-law referred to me in the third person when I was in the same room and refused to speak with me because I wasn't good enough for her son. (I guess she wanted something better than professional graduate degree who would support him during his Ph.D.). The woman needed a personality transplant. Hence, the "ex".
However, my husband's late mother was a force of nature, but never criticized. I'm sorry her grandchildren did not get to know her better before she had a debilitating stroke that took the world traveler who had perfect manners and always wore matching gloves, hat, bag and shoes from us.”
Sally Kuzemchak on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:32:59
“Ugh, that ex-MIL sounds like a tough cookie! Glad you had a better experience with your husband's mom and sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was a pretty interesting person!”
Nov 27, 2013 at 10:36:25
“Obviously, the writer does not know my mother. She will ask all the questions and even worse ones on Thanksgiving. We have a game we play where we all wager when the worst remark will come out. Winner gets a bottle of wine.”