Back to Political Commentary? Sure, Why Not?

Months and months ago, when I was going through the emotional throes of holy crap I think my marriage is over and what the eff am I supposed to do about that, a friend said to me, “Can you please make a decision so you can get back to snarky political commentary? In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s quite a bit going on.”

Whatever. The president said they were all phony scandals, so he must be right or I’m a racist. Pfffttt.

Last fall when I was on the Romney campaign, we weren’t really allowed to tweet. Well, we could but we couldn’t. Sometimes except certain times. Only if it was a good tweet, but not too good. Never on Tuesdays or after dark. Unless there was a debate. In other words, the tweeting policy was clear as mud.

Because nothing says Voter Engagement like reclusiveness.

I finally gave up trying after I was chastised for tweeting, “Lady smarts > lady parts.” Yes, I cried, because I’m a TOTAL PROFESSIONAL. Seriously though, if I couldn’t win with that tweet, then the whole thing just seemed hopeless. I should’ve known right then that we were going to lose.

Anyway, I was talking to Justin, one of my favorite friends in the Boston trenches with me about it, and said that once the campaign was over I wanted to go back to commentary. “I think my first tweet after the campaign shall be, ‘I’m back, bitches.’”

Then he blushed because he’s LDS and doesn’t say the B-word.

Er, um … neither do I. Except sometimes.

Obviously, my cussing policy is very similar to the Romney tweeting policy, which can basically be summed up as: Don’t get caught by the wrong people. Sorry if you’re reading this, Dad.

Of course, it’s been nine months since the campaign ended (nine months!!!), which is not only the correct amount of time to grow a human, but also apparently just about right for getting over a spectacular political loss. Not to mention a bunch of personal crap.

Since then I’ve been plodding along, keeping up with some news, doing some behind-the-scenes freelance writing for some candidates, and doing other very important things like learning how to curl my hair. Yes, I was 30 before I learned how to properly work a curling iron. Stop judging me. Judgey people are only allowed to visit between 2-4 pm on the sixth of never.

Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from the lovely Christine, who knew me from being on with Chip and LaDonna once upon a time for the whole Victoria’s Secret hullabaloo. She’s now producing for Rick Amato’s new Internet TV show, and would I like to come on?

Rick and I go way back, like three years or longer! I’ve been on his radio show a handful of times, and we’ve spoken at some of the same Tea Party events.

Would I like to do a media appearance to comment on some current events from a conservative mommy blogger’s perspective? Um, yes.

All that to say … I’m back, bitches.

(Sorry Dad.)

So I was on a panel yesterday, Token Female Style, to discuss expatriates and gender-bender issues. I’ll post a clip when they get it archived.

Thoughts on Record Expatriatism

There’s this new law that’s killing Swiss bank accounts, because the U.S. is now demanding that all financial institutions report on American citizens’ bank activity — anywhere in the world. You know, so they can be sure to squeeze every last drop of blood out of people’s wallets in the name of taxes.

So people living and working abroad are denouncing their American citizenship in record numbers. The tax rate is capped in Hong Kong at 15 percent.

And liberals scratch their heads at this phenomenon, because paying taxes is supposed to be patriotic.

Meanwhile in California

Jerry Brown signed a law that says all students in public school grade K-12 get to pick their own gender. No really. It’s supposed to combat bullying, because if a little boy wears pigtails and a skirt, the bullying will supposedly stop if he’s allowed to use the girls’ bathroom.

*Insert eye roll here*

Actually, I don’t really care. I don’t have an opinion on raising little Johnny as little Joannie. You don’t tell me how to raise my kids, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours. Just keep ‘em healthy, happy, and reasonably under control in public please.

I think the real issue is going to come into play when Johnny/Joannie is 17 and wants to play basketball on the girls’ team. Boys are naturally better athletes than us women-folk, stuffed bra and close shave aside.

We were also going to talk about Bob Filner, but ran out of time. So I’ll just say he’s an ass. And I voted for Carl DeMaio.

Also I think it’s funny Hooters won’t serve him because he’s too big a boob even for them.

Sometimes the headlines write themselves.

Blueberry Farming

blueberry group shotRemember I had that list of things to do before I turned 30? Well late is better than never, right?

Besides, if ever there was an excuse for putting something off temporarily, the total implosion of a marriage might be it. That or death. Or just plain laziness. But it was definitely the marriage thing in this case.

So here I am, a day late, but not a dollar short (metaphorically at least — this chica is on a budget), and I’m back to trying to do some of the things on my list because gosh darn it — life is for living.

C running through blueberriesVisit a ‘You Pick’ orchard and pick too much fruit

Last week, one of my BFF’s Nancy and I packed up all six of our kids and visited a blueberry farm. That’s two car seats, two boosters, half a bottle of sunblock, 12 shoes that are bugging at least seven feet, and that’s only because the other five have been kicked off at some point. Oh, and two mamas with cameras. And cameras I mean iPhones. Because it’s 2013.

So we got the place and sauntered shambled in to find out how the process worked. Each kid was given a small bucket. Each bucket had a capacity of two pints. Each pint cost $5. Six kids, six buckets, sixty dollars.

YOU MAY ONLY FILL YOUR BUCKETS LESS THAN HALFWAY!

We screamed that at them as they tore off down the rows of blueberry bushes.

We needn’t have worried.

blueberry spoilsI’m going to go ahead and guess that blueberries are friggin expensive because they’re so dang hard to collect. After 10 minutes or so, the kids all had at least three blueberries each.

Eventually we ended up with four pints of blueberries altogether, which may or may not have been too many, but when you think about it … who can have too many blueberries?

And if you do, you put them in the freezer and make pie out of them in December.

P.S. The kids pretended they were ninja power ranger super spy blueberry farmers. They had a blast.

P.P.S. The majority of them declared afterward that they hate blueberries and how dare we suggest they eat them.

Top 7 for the Week of June 22

This week, please excuse our technology fail intro, Furbaby barking her opinion, and a mishap or two as Ashley and I talk about:

  1. Dear Liberal Gays: Something About More Flies With Honey
  2. Fast and Furious and Executive Privilege
  3. Vacation Do Over! European Edition
  4. Why’d you kill this man? We wanted free Chinese food.  Duh.
  5. Michelle Wants Barack to Be Our Husband, But She Wanted to Divorce Him
  6. Some People Just Need To Freakin’ Get A Life
  7. The Hawt List

Plus we have a rant, a dirty joke, and Dude of the Week Chris Loesch.

Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Confession: I Couldn’t Hack It as a Stay-at-Home-Mom

I love my girls. I also love my career. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

The following was written in response to Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s asinine comment toward Ann Romney that as a stay-at-home-mother of five sons, she hadn’t worked a day in her life.

I tried the fulltime at-home-parent thing. I really did. I stayed home fulltime with Thing 1 for 16 months before going to work in an office. A couple years later, I got pregnant with Thing 2, and I took a couple years off again before tiptoeing back into the workforce, this time as a work-from-home freelance writer. Since then, I’ve added social media promotion, consulting, and speaking to my resume.

I love my job. I love it.

I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home-mom. Being a full time mommy is the most sacrificial choice any woman could make for her children. It is messy and gross. It is demanding, while also somehow managing to be tedious, and a lot of the time — boring. It is constant, and it is thankless.

No one says, “Wow! Great job shining that stove, I could really relate to it!” They say, “I’m hungry, when’s dinner?” followed quickly by, “Ewwwww, I don’t like that!”

You don’t get raises, credit, or promotions. You get teenagers.

I hold in awe moms who make the decision to work fulltime – for free – as homemakers. I tried and I couldn’t do it. It is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the fact that some women do it, and do it with grace and patience and kindness, blows my mind. It is a level of self-sacrifice that made me miserable. I couldn’t hack it. It was too hard to do the thankless work, day in and day out. I am just not that good a person inside.

Now that that confession of selfishness is out of the way, let’s get rid of this ridiculous notion that domestic engineers can’t know what it’s like to live in the ‘real world.’ Nothing is more real than managing a home and raising a family.

Moms are Politicians: Have you ever settled 17 squabbles among your subordinates without being able to fire any of them? You can’t list your kids on Craig’s List, you know. Also? Holidays. In-laws. Parent-teacher conferences. The end.

Moms are Accountants: The payer of the bills, the keeper of the allowances, the supreme budgeter and coupon-clipper. She balances the checkbook and makes the hard decision not to deal in subprime loans, no matter how much her tweeny-bopper daughter pouts with her sad little lips.

Moms are Crisis Managers: Oh, you have to be to school early today for a math tutoring session I forgot about and you’re still sitting at the table eating breakfast in your pajamas? GET IN THE CAR NOW, HERE ARE YOUR CLOTHES, GET DRESSED ON THE WAY! Done.

Moms are Counselors: We help our kids figure out how to make good decisions. We cheer them on. We help them learn from their mistakes.

Moms are teachers, nurses, chauffeurs, chefs, maids, receptionists, stylists, negotiators, travel agents, and let’s face it: magicians. They are on 24/7/365. The thanks they get for this is women that couldn’t make the professional, personal, and financial sacrifices necessary to be fulltime stay-at-home-moms going on CNN and telling them they don’t know what it’s like to work.

Stay-at-home-moms know more about what it means to work than a lot of CEOs. They deserve respect, not derision. Every mom has to make her own decision about what profession to pursue, but no one should assume that she that chooses her children over a salary or personal professional gain is worth less than anyone else.

Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Most moms I know would lay down their physical life for their children in a heartbeat. Moms that give up personal ambitions in the workforce to care for their children fulltime deserve a special kind of accolade.

Kids Need to Learn to Tie Their Shoes Before They Take On the World

I was clicking through links the other day at The Stir when a headline grabbed my attention: My Kid Has More Important Things to Do Than Learn to Tie His Shoes. The author makes the case excuse that it’s totally fine that her eight-year-old can’t tie his own shoes because, like, Velcro and lace locks.

That’s just about as nonsensical as saying kids don’t need to learn basic arithmetic anymore because everyone has a calculator in their cell phones, or that teaching penmanship is unnecessary because most documents, letters, and other forms of communication are typed these days.

There is an entire generation of children that are not being raised to be self-sufficient, independent individuals. The mom of the second grader that can’t tie his shoes says, “I’d rather lace him up with double knots myself then send him out to work on his skills at shortstop than sit on the sidelines trying to get him to perfect the perfect knot.”

Come on, people, you’ve got to walk before you can run. How does a kid with the dexterity necessary to play shortstop not know how to tie his own shoes? Of course he has the ability, but has never been encouraged to master a routine, boring task with efficiency and grace so that he can move onto bigger, better things. Tying shoes, making your bed, clearing your dinner plate … these are all mundane things that keeps the wheels of our lives turning.

No wonder we have the Occupy Wall Street children, who instead of hitting the books at the library, volunteering to help others, or apprenticing themselves to learn new skills, just whine and moan that life isn’t fair. Who said life was fair?

Parenting is hard. Teaching life skills to little ingrates wears on my patience. Yes, it is easier to tie my kids’ shoes for them, clean up after them, bathe them, or even do their homework for them than to tell them 18 million times to do it themselves. Yes, I inwardly cringe when the job isn’t done as well as I would’ve done it. That’s not the point. The point is to teach my children to be self-reliant, to help them understand the feeling of accomplishment over something so small as learning to tie their own shoes or floss their own teeth or put away their own toys.

It isn’t about shoe tying. It’s about teaching the values of discipline, practice, patience, overcoming frustration, determination, and eventually affirmation.

God has entrusted me with these little people to raise and send off into the world, and I want them to go into it and make it a more beautiful and wonderful place. And before they step out that door, they’re going to have to tie their own shoes.

Elsewhere on the Internet…

It’s Friday again, so maybe I’ll just officially move my weekly round-ups to Friday. Except then I probably wouldn’t get around to doing them until Saturday, and that just won’t suit.

So we’ll just call this Thursday and change, kind of like how I’m going to be 29 and change in a year instead of 30. Kapish? Excellent.

This Week at The Stir:

While I was at CPAC, the silly kids from the Occupy crowd tried to cause a ruckus. Jerks. Smelly, smelly jerks. How the media praises them and vilifies the Tea Party makes me ill.

I wrote about Media Matters and their leftest agenda. Which I totally don’t have a problem with, by the way. I do have a huge problem with their bias when they claim 501(c)(3) status as a nonprofit organization. By the way, Instapundit picked this one up. I’m just bragging. That’s all.

Did you hear about the little girl that had her unhealthy turkey sandwich confiscated by a government official? The school replaced her sack lunch with a hot meal from the cafeteria, of which the four-year-old ate three chicken nuggets. Yeah, so that happened.

President Obama wants to cut back our nukes by 80%. Now that’s just plain stupid.

This Week at Moms Matter:

I did a bad, bad thing in the eyes of the feminists. I failed to see how the legal right to end the life of my unborn child is more important than the economy, national security, education, job creation, energy exploration … should I go on?

This Week on Twitter:

Keith Olbermann blocked me, so that was exciting. I feel like I’m part of an exclusive club now. If someone tells me where the meetings are, I’ll bring the wine.

Witnessing in the World: A Lesson from a Birthday Party

The most ridiculous attempt at a family photo in the history of photography. And families.

My sweet precious firstborn baby girl turned eight years old last week. Holy crap I’m getting old. One of the disadvantages to having kids so young is that I don’t get to lie about my age. Um, yeah, I was 12 when I had her, that’s it…

But this post is not about me, or the wrinkle between my eyebrows that I’m pretty sure Thing 1 is responsible for. Nope, this post is about my newly minted eight-year-old, her fantastic party, and her wonderful friends.

All summer long, Thing 1 proclaimed her desire for a) a Pump It Up party and/or b) a surprise party. Pump It Up is this awesome party place filled with those giant bounce house and obstacle course inflatables, then they give the kids pizza, and when it’s time to go, you gladly hand them a small fortune and one of your kidneys because you get to leave and they clean up the mess.

In order to accomplish both of these tasks, I told my 7-and-three-quarters-year-old that she could not in any way, shape, or form have a Pump It Up Party unless she got a job and paid for it herself, and that she probably wouldn’t be having a fancy a party this year, since I had a trip planned and wouldn’t be home until the day before her birthday.

A few weeks before the Big Day, I booked the Pump It Up party for the day OF her birthday. Then I sent out an evite to the parents of her entire 3rd grade class, telling them to ohmygosh please keep it a secret because Thing 1 was dying for a surprise party. Altogether we had eighteen third graders and one little sister.

On Monday morning, I reassured the birthday girl that I’d be coming to her class at snack time with cupcakes, and that Daddy would be home early from work, and she could pick where to go for dinner. She seemed ok about not having a party. My kid is awesome, y’all.

After round one of Operation Sugar Kids Up, the kids all headed out to recess, and the teacher quietly and excitedly asked me, “Is she really having a surprise party after school? The kids keep coming up and whispering to me not to tell her about her party!”

I did a mental head-desk … I wouldn’t even have told my kid about it, worried she wouldn’t be able to keep the secret. Oh well, nothing I could do about it.

Thing 1 and Friends

A few hours later, I was back at school, picking up the sweetie pie. I had gone to the store with Thing 2 to pick up cake and ice cream, which I stowed under some beach towels in the front seat. Thing 2 (age 3) happily proclaimed to her sister, “We got you birf-day cake!” And then she looked at me like I was insane when I said that we had not, but we could maybe later. “But we got dah cake,” she insisted. I ignored her and turned up the Kids’ Bop.

When we got to the party place, Leif and my mom were already there waiting for us. Thing 1 took it all in slowly… “Wait, why are we at Pump It Up? Is that Gramma? And Daddy? What are they doing here? Mommy…?”

I parked and looked at her and said, “Happy birthday, baby.”

“YOU MEAN I GET TO GO TO PUMP IT UP FOR MY BIRTHDAY???”

“Yup. AND all of your friends will be here in a few minutes for your birthday party.”

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!” I’m still a little deaf in my left ear from that scream. And will forever be amazed that her friends all kept the secret. Chickadee had no clue what was up my sleeve.

No way was I going to miss out on the fun!

So basically, I’m like the coolest mom evah, and Thing 1 died from happiness, came back to life, and then died again. But again, this post is not about me, and it’s not even necessarily about a birthday party.

It’s about how our everyday interactions affect those around us, and how living a Christ-centered life is a witness to the world.

When the kids were playing on one of the climbing inflatables, they started to get a little bit rowdy. The referee/party supervisor looked on with what looked like a worried expression. “You can totally blow your whistle at them if they’re being too rough,” I reassured him. I’m not exactly what you’d call a helicopter parent.

“No, they’re fine,” he said, “It’s just strange… I’ve never seen anything like it before… they’re helping each other climb to the top.”

“Well what do kids normally do?” Inquiring minds wanted to know.

“Pull each other down!” He said with good humor. He asked, “These kids are classmates?”

“Yup. The go to the private Christian school over the hill. They’re a pretty tight group.”

I’ve mentioned before that Thing 1 goes to a school that we like very much and sacrifice quite a bit for in order to send her there. It uses a classical approach to learning that you can learn all about by reading Dorothy Sayers’ The Lost Tools of Learning.

Anyway, there was that exchange, and one later in the ‘party room’ after the pizza had been handed out. Someone asked if they could eat, and the party supervisor said yes. “Wait!” I shouted to the kids, “what do we do before we eat?”

Time for Pizza and Prayer

“PRAY!” said every single one of those eighteen children. So we bowed our heads and blessed our food while the employees of Pump It Up looked on in amazement. I heard more than once that afternoon that this group of kids was one of the greatest they’d ever had in. I was glad they got to see the fruit of parents raisings kids in a Christ-centered life.

Parenting is rough, and some days I hold on by tenuous threads, but days like Thing 1’s birthday give me fuel to keep on trucking. They remind me of why I do this thing called motherhood – because God trusted me with these kids (for some strange reason), and it’s my job to teach them to love and honor Him in all that they do.

How we treat others and how we raise our children are our constant testimonies to the world. Show people that faith in Christ isn’t weird or backwards or inhibiting, but a way to live so that our children build each other up instead of tearing one another down.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” –JC

Children’s Book Giveaway!

My friend Amelia Hamilton wrote a super cool children’s book called One Nation Under God: A Book For Little Patriots. It teaches some basic facts about the founding of our awesome and amazing country in clever verse along with some great artwork. It is endorsed by myself, and more importantly, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Even Leif likes it!

To get a good feel for what this book is about, read Amelia’s Behind-the-Scenes story on Big Hollywood.

In my possession, I have two signed copies of One Nation Under God. One is staying right here, because it’s become a favorite bedtime story. The other one will go to one of my eight lucky readers! To enter, leave a comment telling me which little patriot in your life will love this book. If you’re just entering to get Amelia’s signature so you can forge checks, don’t tell me. I don’t want to be liable.

No entries after midnight Friday PST. Winner will be chosen at random. As always, don’t blame me if you lose. Blame the machines.

The Finish Line

Thing 2 & Jenny Xmas 2009

My favorite picture of Thing 2 and me, taken Christmas 2009 by Kristen Bons

Thing 2 starts preschool on Monday. After 3 ½ years of her glued to my hip on an almost daily basis, I’ve been asked a lot how I feel about this.

Right now I feel like I feel when I’m running, and just trying to make it to a certain predetermined goal before I stop or slow down. I can see my finish line. I usually feel like I’m going to throw up, because I usually push myself too far. I mute my ipod because the music becomes a distraction rather than a motivation. All efforts are put toward moving forward, each step, not stopping, knowing that once I make it, I will be better for it. Stronger. Able to go further or faster the next time.

That’s what I feel like right now. All I can see is the finish line. This race that I have been running for the last three years of trying to be a decent wife, mommy, and homemaker while simultaneously trying to launch a career in online political punditry, with no nanny or daycare.

I wouldn’t trade it, but most days there just aren’t enough hours. It is completely frustrating in one moment, and ultimately joyful in the next. Thank God for a cute husband that doesn’t mind if the laundry doesn’t all get put away, or stopping to pick up dinner on his way home.

Also thank God for Coke Zero, Advil, Clear Eyes, and sauvignon blanc.

And of course, these amazing little girls, who can drive me up the wall but also knock me over with laughter. This morning, I asked Thing 2 where Jesus lived, and she happily told me, “Um, in da Bible!” How cute and sweet is that?

A year or two ago, I took the girls dress shopping with me, and in the fitting room, Thing 1 told me I looked ready for the ball in a blue taffeta dress I was trying on. I bought it and every time I wear it, I feel ready for the ball.

I have a thousand memories like these; they are the moments that have made this achy tiredness worth it. Because right now? Right now I’m tired. I am ready to have some time to do my work with a small amount of peace.

My finish line is 16 whole hours a week to work without my eye twitching from being interrupted 27 times a minute with requests for snacks, announcements of bodily functions, demands for TV and/or junk food and the subsequent tantrums that occur when the answer is no.

I bet you I’ll be able to pack the majority of the 30 or so hours a week I work now into that time.

So on Monday, I will cross the line with a goodbye wave and a kiss to my baby, and I will clutch my side and catch my breath and feel the rush of accomplishment wash over me. I will thank God for my health and (relative) sanity, and I will sit and ponder what goal I shall set for myself next.

Because as hard as that last stretch always is … I do love to cross the finish line.

Top 7 for the Week of September 2, 2011

This week, Ashley and I talk about:

  1. College Football & American Craft Beer
  2. Obama’s Jobs Speech vs. GOP Debate
  3. Jobs vs. Bugs
  4. The Taxpayer Funded Strip Club
  5. Policing the Chicago Police
  6. Rapists Getting Paid by Taxpayers to Babysit
  7. The Texas Sonogram Law

Plus we have a rant, a dirty joke from Eli, and an awesome Dude of the Week!

Happy Listening!