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Disney Starlets Getting Thinner?

By Gabby Vachon For the last decade, The Disney Channel has successfully launched the careers of the most popular teen superstars. But are these young

via Disney Starlets Getting Thinner?.

This blogger sums up perfectly why young girls are obsessed with weight. When I was younger I wanted to look like Hilary Duff, a much more achievable goal than it would be to look like some of the Disney stars of today. Along with the Merida controversy, maybe it’s time to realise that Disney and their creations are not good role models for our daughters?

Role Models

Earlier this week we went to look around some secondary schools in preparation for applying for places for Rebecca. It was very interesting as each school had both good and bad points in terms of academic and social factors. Debating about the schools with Rebecca led on to a very interesting conversation about what Rebecca wanted to be when she grew up. As a very normal ten year old girl, the list was very eclectic. She either wants to be an actress, a singer, a judge, a scientist or a baker! I, of course would prefer if she was a judge or a scientist, but it would be her choice. All I can do is give her the tools so that she can make informed choices and keep her options open. I did suggest that she become a singing judge but she didn’t seem too keen on that one. At least she didn’t put WAG as one of her career choices!

As someone who believes that men and women are completely equal, I have tried to instil in Rebecca the belief that she shouldn’t rely on someone else to support her, but she can stand on her own two feet and be anything she wants to be.

Thinking of Rebecca growing up and making choices which will affect her future made me think about all the other influences in her life. As she has become older, school, television and friends have also played a large part in shaping who she is. Many times she has come home sad that she doesn’t seem to fit in with her peers. She is not a “girly” girl and can’t stand anything pink or fluffy, she would much rather watch “Mythbusters” than Hannah Montana and she can beat most of the boys at hockey or tag rugby. Unfortunately, society dictates that as a girl, everything she has must be pink, fluffy or sparkly and she must be a delicate princess who waits for a handsome prince to come and rescue her. From a very early age, it seems boys and girls are conditioned by society into roles set out for them without taking into account who they are. All the magazines for her age offer free lip gloss and tips on meeting Mr Right! This is not who she is. She is more likely to think of a cunning plan to save herself and “do a MacGyver” as she puts it! It makes me sad that she is worried about showing her talents and gifts because it’s not “cool” to be clever. I point her in the direction of Kari from “Mythbusters” who is cool and clever! No one on the show looks down on her “because she’s a girl” and she gets to do everything the boys do. I also point to Merida from Brave who doesn’t sit around and wait for help, she saves her mum by herself by using her skills and talents. I was very happy when Disney released Brave as Merida was not the usual princess who looked as if she needed a good meal. Merida was a normal body size, with untameable hair and she preferred riding and shooting to sitting around looking pretty. When Disney released the revamped Merida looking more like a Disney princess used to, I was disappointed. When I saw the online petition,I signed immediately. I do not want Rebecca to grow up thinking the only way you succeed in life is to be thin, pretty and marry someone.

This week someone asked me the question, who would you like as Rebecca’s role model, Malala or Miley? What a hard decision! Someone who fights for what she believes in at whatever cost and tries to make the world better, or someone who is so desperate for publicity she will do anything to promote herself. I do feel sorry for Miley as she is so young and someone who cares for her should be trying to help her rather than exploiting her for everything they can get before she burns out. I would hope that if that was my daughter I would be doing everything in my power to protect her and help her to make the right decisions. Unfortunately it seems the people around her are more interested in how much money she can make for them than in her.

Anyway rant over. I’m off for a run. See you in the funny papers 😉

New projects

Although they say spring is the time for new beginnings, it seems this year October is the month for new projects. My lovely mum has just started running The Grocer’s Cafe in Shevington, serving fab homemade food and drinks. (shameless plug there mum! Not looking for a free slice of cake honest!) I am so proud of her and I’m sure it will be a great success. I strongly advise you to pop in if you’re in the area. Her cakes are amazing!
I will be helping to decorate the cafe by producing some crochet fruit and vegetables from patterns I found on ravelry.com. They look really effective but are quite simple to make.

I am also involved in another exciting new project in October. Our local church, St Oswalds will be running a Youth Cafe one evening a month for young people to gather, chat and just generally relax. At the moment there is nothing in the immediate area for young teenagers to do, so they usually hang around outside the premier store or in the park. It will be staffed completely by volunteers and we are very lucky that so many have come forward to give their time and energy.

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Parenting in public

I was reading an article in a newspaper a couple of days ago in which the writer was explaining why she had sent her daughter to school even though she was technically too young and was struggling. Although I don’t agree with her choice, and personally would not do that, the main problem I had was when I read the author’s previous articles. This person has no objection to writing about every detail of her children’s lives, and does not seem to understand that once her children are at school, there are any number of people who will be only too glad to tell her children exactly what their mother has been saying about them. I realise this is her job, but there are ways of writing about family life which will not upset your children. I have seen many instances of parenting blogs where the tone is always positive and loving, even when describing behaviour issues.

I do mention my daughter in this blog, and on my other, but have the policy that I only write things that I would be happy for her to see at any time. I want her to be able to look back on this blog as a record of her childhood and our lives together. I wouldn’t like it if any of my family and friends wrote negative things about me online and don’t see why children should be any different. It is easier than ever to search online for people and therefore even more important to be careful about what appears on the Internet about you. For that reason she made me promise to show her any pictures I wanted to upload first so she can check the embarrassment factor!

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I still can’t believe she agreed to that one!

Independence

Last week I mentioned to someone that I had let my 10 year old daughter bake some cakes and you would have thought from the reaction that I had let her go to a night club! “you mean she used the oven without you?” had to be my favourite comment. Turns out her cakes were just as good as mine. You should have seen their faces when I said I got her to make me a cup of coffee as well!

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Rebecca is a very sensible girl and very mature for her age but the reaction got me thinking. Maybe I was wrong. As she has grown up, we have always brought her up to help in the house by doing age appropriate jobs to earn her pocket money. She can now, dust, clean make beds, cook a simple meal, vacuum, clean the bathroom, or put a load of washing on and she has no problem running or biking to the shops for something we have forgotten if she is asked. We don’t treat her as a servant but our parenting style is we all made the mess so we all clean it. I have never believed that children should be treated like pampered lords while their parents run themselves ragged after them.
When I was 10, I was in the brownies, and in those days, the badges included homemaker.
Part of the badge was to make a cup of tea, iron your own uniform, bake, and do various jobs around the house. Even now, brownies can work towards cooking and home skills badges, so maybe I am on the right track and not being an evil mother.
My ultimate goal as a parent is to prepare Rebecca for when she doesn’t live with us. This may seem horrible, and I hate the thought of her moving out, but I want her to be able to go to university or to her own home and not struggle with simple jobs or get into debt because she can’t manage money. When we go shopping I often ask her to compare two items to see which one offers the best value, or to work out if something is a “want” or a “need”. Any “wants” such as sweets or a small toy come out of her pocket money, but “needs” such as things for packed lunches or toiletries I buy.
I am always complimented on the fact that Rebecca is so confident and willing to help others and when that happens I start to believe I am on the right track after all.
In case you were wondering, these are the controversial cakes –

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