grandma’s of bloggers

OH, wait, not grandma’s, mom’s of bloggers.  My grandmas long before the internet was  ready for prime time.   As I was poking around you tube for a video I was hunting I came across this archival gem.  It features my mom!  As well as the moms of my favorite blogger friends, Jessica Gottlieb, Heather Armstrong, and Rebecca Woolf.  I’ve met Rebecca’s mom and she is just as darling in person.  It doesn’t look like it has had many views so I thought I would give it another showing.

Best of all my mom is holding Rex when he was a baby.


Angry room parent: c’mon help me out!


Here is a Momversation that I started. One of my pet peeves: parents who don’t help in their public schools.  Do you judge the non involved like I do?  Loved getting the input of Janice from 5 Minutes for mom ( who I met at BlogHer, Hi Janice! Let’s do “5 minutes for room parents”) and “Mr. Lady” ( love that moniker) of Whisky in my sippy cup (also met at Blogher, sassy, fun gal).

Since I can’t respond to the videos since I went first I will put them here:  I don’t find a difference between single or married parents.  In fact, my co room parent is a widower and he is very involved ( bless his heart).  Also, there are parents who don’t communicate with me, but go to the teacher.  That’s fine.  I check in with her so I know who to lay the heat on and who to leave alone.  Yes, the amount of communication you can get from a kids school is daunting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be the room parent to help streamline it and make it more clear.  I hate the amorphous “come help” email. People need specifics and they need to know why?  Example: This past weekend we kept hearing “come to a rally to support charter schools” on a Saturday morning when I –as a blogger– was given free passes for my family to go to Knott’s berry Farm.  My husband was all for ditching the social action and hitting the rides.  Since I grew up going to everything from Libertarian “victory” parties to marches for the the ERA this was causing me some pang.  But, frankly the whole event seemed to vague.  So I delved deeper into it and then I composed this email:

So, do any of us want to get up early and hustle somewhere Saturday

morning?  I know I don’t.  But, I’m going to suck it up tomorrow and

do just that.  We need to have a good showing to show the LAUSD and

the State they can’t pick the pockets of the Charter schools.  They’ve

done it and they will do it again if we don’t rise up against them.

It’s like when the ants face down the grasshoppers in A Bug’s life,

our collective numbers can send those who would underfund ( even more

than we are) into the mouth of a bird.

Okay, not a perfect analogy.  Look, drive downtown, wear a green

shirt, yelp and clap for an hour and go home.

Guess what?  It worked.  Our class had showed up in better numbers than most others ( along with the 15 parents who do most everything).

My family didn’t get on the bus with the crowd.  We put on our green shirts, found a meter, stayed for an hour clapping and yelping, then hoped on the freeway and a great time at Knott’s ( short lines, Camp Snoopy, good for little ones).  Btw, all having matching color shirts not a bad idea at an amusement park.  I could find them easily.

But, don’t tell me your busy.  We all have a lot going on.  I’m watching…

what is the right age to start kindergarten? (Momversation)

Those sassy momvers were at my house again! This time, Jessica Gottlieb and Rebecca Wolf and I are talking about the controversy surrounding the appropriate age to send your kids to Kindergarten. The trend has been to hold them back so they can be sports stars like Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Outliers. Though, this article disputes that. Each state has different cut-offs. In California, public schools will take your heirs as long as they are 5-years-old by Decemeber 1st — which means a lot of lost looking little 4-year-old girls have wondered into a room with 4-year-old boys who can’t sit still. To be fair, my daughter is a Sept baby and I spent some time thinking about what was right and spoke to her pre-school teachers and family members before I did send her to kindergarten at 4 (for a couple of weeks).  California, like other states, has now changed the law. They are rolling it back a month till they get to a September 1st cut-off.  So, Vivien will be like the old timer when she tells her friends a tad her junior, “When I was 4, I was out of pre-school.  Sure, you got to paint. I had to rush to school with a mom screaming, ‘we can’t be tardy!'”

It didn’t come out in the vid, but Rebecca’s daughter’s birthday is October 2nd. This year the cut off will be October 1st. She was born early in the morning. So, she will be THREE HOURS from being sent to Kindergarten. Instead her family is going to have to spend 12 to 15 thousand dollars. That’s a bum rap.

The other thing the vid didn’t get to is many people wouldn’t send their 4-year-olds to kindergarten if pre-school was subsidized.

I appreciated Jessica’s take on the problems of holding kids back.

Where do you fall on this? What should the cut off age be? Though they couldn’t make it different by gender, I do think the boys struggle more at that young age.

Do You Judge Big Families? (Momversation…Sort Of)

This was a Momversation experiment I had long wanted to do — get to talk to the moms in PERSON. Blogging and vlogging can be a lonely business so I had asked Rebecca Woolf, my blogging friend, who lives nearby, to come over and do a Cool Mom with me. Alas, the day she was supposed to come over was also the last few months of her carrying twins, so she was understandably not feeling top dog. Cut to Kelly, the producer of Momversation, writing me to ask if I would be up for a shoot with Jessica and Rebecca in the flesh. Would I!? Jessica is on the other side of the hill from me, but another mom blogger I enjoy conversing with. Not only does she have a great dry wit, but my husband knows her dad from the Spago days and LOVES him.

Anyway, the gals came over to my home, renamed “the Momversation studio” for the day. Great to see Rebecca — first time since she gave birth to the twins. The thought was this might be a new way to tape Momversation, but after watching it, the senior producer nixed the idea. Was it me or my home styled hair?  I don’t know, but the three of us said, “The people must see this!”  Because use kvetching at my kitchen table is pretty important. It’s not on the main landing page of Momversation, but it is up there somewhere.  So, think of this as the Vault.

Let me know what you think. I liked it, but I would have killed the non-stop momver music bed that runs through it.

Oh, and do you judge big families?

Making Out With Your Kid (Momversation)

This Momversation is personal. I picked the topic, I picked the angle of it and I drove a few miles with my son in tow to make it happen. Yes, I left my house to vlog. Doesn’t happen much.

This all started when I ran across an essay on Babble (See, I mentioned you; can you move me up from mom blogger #31?  Thanks.) written by Joel Stein. It had the provocative title, “Making Out with My Son“.  But I wasn’t grossed out. I knew exactly where he was going with this. Sadly, many people were dialing 911 as they read it.

Now, not only did I relate to the essay I also felt like, for years, I got Joel.  He used to write op ed pieces in the LA Times during the very moment when they had interesting writers.  Now, with the exception of Ronald Brownstein, it’s pretty neutered. He writes for Time as well, but unless I’m in an airport I don’t read that. I know he is a very funny writer. In fact, his piece about a man crush on Obama in ’08 was the only writing I had saved in my “inspiration” file. (The file wasn’t my idea. Back when I had money, I hired an organizer and that was one of her ideas to haul all of the crap off my desk). Joel also has his own theme song.

Then I didn’t just feel I knew Joel I did know him. I met he and his wife Cassandra Barry, who also writes for Babble, at a fundraising dinner for my daughter’s school that my husband did. The Barry Stein’s are hoping to get into our little gem of a charter school and eat well while they do it. We also ran into them at the trash fiesta we went to. Clearly, they were our food group. I didn’t tell them about the file least I appear stalkery.

So, a tad bored as I am with the same Momversation format and working alone, I wrote Joel an email asking if I could come with my tripod and include him on this. So, it’s a parentversation. Let me know what you think.

(Production note:  Rex was upstairs watching cartoons and eating crackers while this was made.)

So do you make out with your kid?

Momversation: Which Role Is Harder…Wife or Mom?

This question was ripped from the Momversation Facebook page. Apparently women wanted to discuss which role was harder: wife or mother? There were some requests for me to address this. I hope I didn’t disappoint.

It kind of dovetails with “Advice to a Bride.” I would love to hear your opinion.

Momversation: Forbidden Tween Shows

I’m featured this week on Momversation ranting and raving about one of my nemesis: shows that amp little kids before their time. The tween Disney — or Disney-like shows. Showing navels, talking back, fame seeking, laugh-tracking adolescents.

The germ of this rant was this article here. I wasn’t crazy. There is a real reason to despise these shows.

Momversation: Are We Raising a Nation of Dumbasses?

I can say it because I’m not that bright myself but bright enough to know that the lack of emphasis on funding education is going to drive this country in the ground. The global economy, the recession, these aren’t going to make it easier for Americans to get ahead.

So, here is a good idea, how about every year we spend less on education? How about we leave super large school systems like LAUSD as big honking behemoths. Yes, those are great ideas.

For this Momversation, I climbed on my soap box.

Let’s start the million mom march!!!

Woo-hoo!  Book the hotel room. DC, here we come!

Momversation: What’s Bugging You?!

What is bugging you these days? That’s the question du jour on Momversation. Since they asked me to lead it off, does this mean I’m no Susie Sunshine?

The many bugs were given pretty equal weight in the editing room for myself, Trisha Haas and Jessica Gottlieb, but truly my longest and most earnest diatribe is reserved for our bipolar country that heavily funds multiple wars and our schools go begging.

How does this serve us as a country to underfund public education? Who wants to live in a community of dumb shits? How will we compete in the world? It’s a prescription to being a second tier power.

Bush put in No Child Left Behind, which I didn’t like to begin with, but then it wasn’t funded. So, it raised standards while not giving schools extra dough to make it work. Meanwhile, he got us into two wars.

Obama was supposed to CHANGE things, but we are still in these wars, upped one and throw in a little Libyan action because the military industrial complex needs to sell more toys. Politicians give mouth service to education, but when the rubber hits the road it’s not there.

I can’t even talk about it because I will never stop. Here is the piece.

Momversation: Were You Scared to Become a Mom?

Teresa Strasser is the guest mom on Momversation this week (Catherine Connors is one of the trio as well). Teresa and I have crossed professional paths for 10 years now. In the early zeros, we were both doing shows that were produced by BBC America. Hers was “While You Were Out,” mine was “Perfect Partner.”  Then, we were both participants in a Christmas Special for the Country Music channel.  I remember it as glorious.  I had just given birth to Vivien two weeks previous and hadn’t worked for many months beforehand.  I was HUGE, tired and housebound.  Mark and Oliver watched baby Viv while I got into a Mrs. Claus outfit, made jokes and collected $500.  Yippee, I’m making money and leaving the house.  I was practically kissing the make-up woman for making me look human, even though I was wearing a red muffin hat and wire framed glasses.

Teresa recalls it as a low point.  Forced to degrade herself as a Christmas tree on Yom Kippur for $500.  I do remember telling them, “She is not going to want to put green on her face; no woman would.”

Then we were both hosts at TV Guide channel for awhile.  Her show was “Watercooler” (with the super funny and clever John Fugelsang) and I was doing the FT.

Now, we cross once again.  She has written a book about pregnancy and new motherhood.  She talks about her fears about becoming a mother.

Can’t wait to see where we cross again! Oh, and yeah, she does have white wires coming out of her ears.