Category Archives: Motherhood

Jillian Michaels Is A Big Loser

The biggest loser, in my mind, is Jillian Michaels.  Why?  Because she is so immersed in the superficiality of LOOKING fabulous that she says in Women’s Health magazine that she doesn’t want to become a biological mother, because “I can’t handle doing that to my body.”

Yikes!  She can’t handle real life?  What happens as she ages, and the skin is no longer taut over her muscles?  What happens when her metabolism changes with age?  Where will her self esteem be then?

I’m aggravated that an individual who purports to teach people about body image and self esteem would be so negative about the challenge of getting back in shape after childbearing.  I’ve done it.  Millions of women have done it. This is lousy role modeling.  She shouldn’t be coaching others when she is so profoundly fearful of the challenge to her body with motherhood.

Furthermore, she says she’s going to adopt.  Really?  What happens when that kid’s body isn’t perfect?  How is she going to actually mother with her schedule of television shows, DVD shoots, plans for “Losing It With Jillian,” and her own television talk show….AND keeping her body perfect?

We all put our priorities in different places.  Hers is superficial.  I am shocked that this doesn’t topple her media house.  In fact, I think this would be a career killer for someone who is supposed to be an inspiration, primarily to women.  Go figure.

The Most Important Job in the World

From a listener after hearing another caller on my radio program:

Dr. Laura:

I grew up listening to you as my own stay-at-home mother bussed [sic] my three siblings and me home after school.  Listening to you teach the moms that would call in, I remember thinking that if I ever had kids, I would be “my kid’s mom.”  I saw Mom spend over 10 years at home with us, and the investment and dedication [she] modeled stuck with me.  Now I am a 24 year-old stay-at-home mom to a bright 13-month-old son.

I just finished listening to a caller who was wondering about taking some yoga classes to get her certification.  I knew exactly where she was coming from, because recently, I also was debating starting grad classes or taking up a part-time job.

The past week, I have been feeling like a hamster in a wheel –  no goals, [no] direction, not really getting anywhere. I’ve been comparing myself to my “friends” who are in grad school, building their careers, globe-trotting, but also “family – less.”  I felt like maybe I needed to keep up.  I thought you were being too hard on [the caller] until you said something that led me to tears.

You told her she had the most important job in the world right now, [and] that there will be time to take the yoga classes later.  I’ve heard you say things like that before, but this time, you were speaking directly to me.

Thank you for that encouragement and truth.  All these years, you were telling everyone else, but I’ve finally made it my own.  I do have the most important job in the world.  It’s challenging, character-building, but full of blessings.  This little boy is growing up very fast. 

The rat race can wait…I am MY kid’s mom!

Baby Talking

Busy, busy mothers tuned in to their cellphones, BlackBerrys, iPods, iPhones, and chatty girlfriends, just don’t have the time to tune in to their children – that’s just reality!  And you can’t expect nannies (equipped with the same electronics) or day care workers with scads of kids to supervise or babysitters with other things to do to spend time tuning into your children either.  That’s just reality.

Why is this an issue?  Well, children just don’t develop their language, communication skills, sensitivity to eye contact and facial expressions without input, stimulation and attention.  This fact will surely dismay parents and liberal educators who say kids just need a few minutes of quality time a day, and they’ll be just fine.

According to Randi Jacoby, a speech and language specialist in New York, who was quoted in the New York Times:  “Parents have stopped having good communications with their young children, causing them to lose out on the eye contact, facial expression and overall feedback that is essential for early communication development.”

That means that, instead of you parents going off to work when you have babies or small children, and then handing them over to institutionalized care or the care of someone hired to watch them all day and report back to you about “food in and waste out,” you need to be home with your children, doing things like:

  • Recognizing that communication begins as soon as the baby is born.  The way you touch, hold, look at and talk to your baby helps him or her learn language.  Even though your child doesn’t necessarily understand what you’re saying, your calm, reassuring voice is what he or she needs to feel safe.  You cannot spoil babies with attention and responsiveness to their cries.
  • Talking all the time while you are doing things.  Talk about where you are going, what you will do when you get there, and who/what you’ll see.  Talk about cleaning up the dishes, preparing meals, putting on makeup – everything – all of this is attention.
  • Putting down the cellphone or other electronic device to look your child in the eyes as he or she tries to communicate or when you are engaging him.  Responding to a child’s communicative attempts with complete attention is a sign of interest and love, and it teaches communication.  It might even help you with your spouse!
  • Engaging your child in conversation, once he or she starts talking.  Expand what they are saying to help them learn to do the same.  For example, when your child says “Doggie,” respond with “Yes, that is a big black dog.”  Ask questions, play games, sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, and read books.

 Parenting is not about making sure your child lives through the day.  It’s about an investment of time, and loving energy to help them develop the skills they will need to function well in life.  Nannies, day care workers and babysitters just don’t fill the bill.  Nobody trumps a loving mom and dad.

Unintentional Surrogate Motherhood

A short time into her pregnancy, a married woman in Ohio was told by her husband that he had just received a call from the fertility clinic which helped them attain this pregnancy.  The clinic “goofed,” and the baby in her belly was the product of the embryo of some other couple, who now expected her to go through childbirth and hand over the baby.

This couple is quite religious and they don’t believe in abortion, so in spite of their immense personal pain, they planned to hand over the baby after it was born (they did so at the end of September, when the woman delivered a healthy baby boy).Their only request was to see and hold the baby first, as they had already formed a bond.

Shame on the clinic for making that phone call!  You may be shocked at that response, but since strangers meet, fall in love, marry and spend their lives together, it’s obvious that genetics is not the prime criterion for love, or no one would be able to adopt a child.

Having been pregnant, I’ll tell you that at the absolute instant of fertilization, an intense relationship starts (and continues, in spite of morning sickness, and inevitable heartburn and constipation).  This actual “birth mother” is traumatized, as is her whole family.  And for what?  Ownership of an embryo?

I remember a Law and Order episode where the “punch line” was that the father who raised the now-teenage boy was revealed NOT to be the biological father, and he lost custody.  Shameful and cruel, I thought.

Some people think that because something is “the truth,” that it should be revealed.  Not necessarily, and especially not when terrible human suffering ensues.

The “embryo” family simply could have kept trying, and there is no proof that this particular embryo would have thrived until birth in the genetic mother. 

I think everyone was better off with this truth not being spoken.

Staying Home for Older Kids

Not long ago, I posted a video on my YouTube Channel addressing whether it was ever too late to be a stay-at-home mom. I got the following response to that video from a listener, and she’s my “guest blogger” for today, especially because this is the week a lot of parents send their kids back to school:

Dear Dr. Laura:
I have always been at home with my kids, who are now 11, 14, and 16. I am so thankful that I am still home with them, and feel it’s just as important now as it was when they were little.

Since I am home, all the kids come over here. I have the benefit of knowing my kids’ friends and their parents well, and knowing where my kids are and who they are with. This has been especially important during the summer, when many kids spend long hours unsupervised. I knew my 16 year old was not out drinking or getting in trouble, because he was right here. We went swimming together one day, and talked about his plans for college and how he felt about the upcoming school year-another one of those precious and important conversations I would have missed if I wasn’t here.

During the school year, it’s during the first 15 minutes after they get home that I hear all about their day, their troubles and their triumphs. I would miss that if I were at work. I am the mom who can pick up friends, work in the classroom, bake last minute cookies, and make a costume for drama, because I am home.

The older they get, the more I realize how short our time is with them, and the more thankful I am for every minute. I enjoy my teens much more now than I did when they were little, and I am grateful every day that I will not miss their last year as children. And yes, you better believe that both I and the kids thank my wonderful husband that Mom is able to be at home during this critical time.

Thanks for standing up for those of us who are at home doing “nothing” all day with our older kids.