Happy New Year!

Written by Aviva on January 15th, 2013

Devra and I would like to wish everyone a wonderful start to 2013!

I don’t know about all of you, but this year seems to be starting out even busier than usual. In fact, I didn’t have a chance to think about making any resolutions (whew)!

The school year seems to be racing by at record speed for everyone. I am taking my own graduate classes while my oldest daughter finishes her undergrad, my middle daughter prepares for college, and my youngest son tackles the challenges of middle school. We have plenty of exciting changes happening and everyday seems to bring on new adventures. I’ll admit, some days are rough but we always remember that we are doing our best and any mistakes made along the way are great learning experiences. For example, when my son is stuck with a sleepy and sometimes grumpy mother who pulled an all-nighter to finish a paper, he learns not to procrastinate his homework and I learn to better tolerate my sleepy and sometimes grumpy son when he doesn’t get a good night of sleep!

On the up side of busy, Devra and I were featured in the Alumni Spotlight for JCC Ranch Camp. You can read about how we first met and what held us together all these years (and see some pictures). We had fun talking about our childhood memories. Of course, Devra remembered them in far greater detail than I! You can also read about the many exciting things Devra and I have in store for the early part of the year!

We hope the new year finds all of you reminiscing about fun times past and looking forward to everything the future holds!

 

It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp

Written by Devra and Aviva on August 16th, 2012

We hope you enjoy this guest post by our new friend, William Lucas Walker.

We met Bill and his husband, Kelly, on our recent Club Med Sandpiper Bay adventure. It was the first night and all the attendees were gathered at dinner, introducing ourselves. Bill asked if we were a couple. We laughed and told him, “No, but we could be if it would make you more comfortable.” He said that wasn’t necessary, he and Kelly were just curious (and admittedly a bit excited) when they saw our names together on the attendance list.

Once the disappointment of that curiosity had passed, we quickly discovered how alike our children were and how much we all had in common as parents. Being more experienced (Bill and Kelly’s oldest is the same age as our (not “our” – we just each happen to have boys the same age) youngest-s) parents, we shared lots of stories and gave them a little taste of what’s yet to come! No, we didn’t give it all away – that wouldn’t be any fun.

But we digress. This post is supposed to be Bill’s very clever recollection of the trip, not ours.

Anyway, Bill is a humor blogger columnist at Huffington Post, as well as being a very talented television writer and all around fabulous guy. To be perfectly honest, we think getting to know Bill and Kelly was the best thing we took home from our trip. Once you read this, you’ll see why.

Aviva and Devra – or Deviva, if you’re more comfortable with us being together.

**************************************************************************

Recently, The Huffington Post ran one of my “Spilled Milk” columns called “Tea and Coco,” about my daughter finally getting to meet her fairy godmother. In it I happened to mention the Club Med where I first met that fairy godmother, in Mexico, years ago.

To my horror, shortly after “Tea and Coco” was published, I got a message from Club Med’s PR company, a tweet actually, advising that they needed to get in touch with me. Though I’d said mostly nice things about my time at the resort, I had mentioned the fact that I suspected its cheese platters might be repurposed from earlier cheese platters.

I knew in my gut that their real intention was to patch me through to the Club Med legal department. They probably wanted video proof of my reckless cheese accusation. Which of course I didn’t have; I’d recorded over it. Meaning they’d be forcing me to sign a Cease and Desist Notice, or some other document promising never to mention Club Med or any of their cheeses in any of my future columns. (Which, oops, I just did.)

But it turned out to be exactly the opposite. When I finally worked up the nerve to call their number, a buoyant PR rep did answer the phone and told me they had LOVED “Tea and Coco.” They thought it was delightful. So much so that they would be further delighted if Kelly and I would accept an invitation to be their guests on a four-day vacation at Club Med Sandpiper Bay, a newly remodeled resort in Florida. All expenses paid.

WTF?!

I knew from my work in the entertainment industry that famous people are always getting free stuff. Tons of it. Cars, clothes, trips, iPhones that can clean and also nanny. All this makes sense: famous people are usually rich, and everyone knows rich people need free stuff.

I had witnessed this famous people/freebie thing firsthand. Once, while developing a television show for a singer whose name you can figure out if you look up my credits, I mentioned that I liked a leather jacket he was wearing and asked where he bought it.

“I don’t buy stuff,” he said. “The designer gave it to me. I think it’s Hugo Boss.”

“They gave it to you? That was nice.”

And that’s when he let me in on a secret. Famous people don’t pay for anything. Everything he was wearing had been given to him by one designer or another. Shirt, shoes, pants, watch. All of it. For free. (Except for his socks. It was a thing with him. He wanted me to know he paid for his socks.)

“So wait a minute. You’re telling me that — skipping the socks, which you pay for, and I admire that — everything you’re wearing some big-shot designer gave you free?”

“Even my hair goop.”

I ignored this. “But not… stuff like your underwear.”

Especially stuff like my underwear! I’ve got a few cartons left out in the garage. You need some?”

Jesus.

And now it was happening to me. Only wait a minute. I wasn’t famous. Or rich. And it wasn’t free.

The Club Med PR lady went on. “We’re calling it our Club Med Bloggers’ Weekend. We’ve invited bloggers from all over the country to sample our newly renovated Sandpiper Bay resort and let their readers know about it. We’ll need you to write at least one blog post about it, preferably with photos. Oh, and it would be great if you could tweet about your excitement and share what’s going on with your friends and fans on Facebook, starting the week before, and then up through your departure. Sound good?”

No, it did not sound good.  It sounded like prostitution.

I could not believe it. Club Med wanted me to pimp out my fingers so they could spread the word about a new resort. I could feel the moral outrage swell, but I contained it.

“I’m really sorry. I don’t think I can do that kind of thing.”

“What kind of thing?”

“That kind of thing.”

“It’s not a thing.”

“And by the way, I’m not a blogger. I’m a columnist.”

There was a pause. I may have heard a snicker. I’m not sure; it was muffled.

“Of course you are. And we love your column.”

“Which, technically, means that even if I wanted to I couldn’t attend your ‘blogger’ weekend. Because, as I said, I’m not a blogger. I’m a serious humor columnist. I don’t do puff pieces, which I think it’s pretty clear is what you’re looking for.”

“We don’t want a puff piece.” She had a tinkling laugh. “We want you to relax and enjoy yourself at our new resort. You and Kelly. That’s what Club Med’s all about. Do the two of you sail?

Now I knew. This is what Satan sounds like.

“No. We do not sail. Nor do I pimp out the fingers I type with for free vacations. That’s what travel writers do. You want a puff piece? Find a travel writer. I’m sure their fingers are very limber.”

“But we want you.”

“I’m trying to tell you: I’m not comfortable with it.”

“What would make you more comfortable?”

“If you stopped asking questions like that.”

“C’mon, Bill, what would it take?”

“What would it take? Desperation. That’s what it would take.  You could only have my fingers if I were desperate. Mind you, I’m only talking in hypotheticals. Just say my husband disappeared into the Texas dust without paying the mortgage and my kids really needed to sail. Maybe then. Only this isn’t that. Nothing like it. This isn’t Jennifer Love Hewitt having to sacrifice her hand every single day for the good of her family. J-Love’s circumstances are dire. Which is the opposite of comfortable. But she has no choice. That’s what it would take.”

“Jennifer Love Hewitt?”

“I need to hang up. You’re seriously telling me you’ve never seen The Client List?”

And that’s when the screaming started. For the sixth time in the last hour. My two kids.

They used to get along. Once they behaved like normal children who saved their fights for appropriate settings, like church or wherever they saw their parents on a phone. But in the past few months, they’d begun spreading the joy all through the day, like napalm.

By this point, the occasional battle had escalated into a ninety-day war. Now all it took was one of them seeing the other walk into a room and within five seconds they were on each other like Godzilla and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, poking, slapping and fire-breathing, nonstop, all day. Turning innocent ditties like, “She copied me” “No, he copied me!” into screeching, smack-down arias. And no matter how much Kelly and I tried to repair and rebuild, by the end of the next day the creatures had demolished Japan again, until once again it was nothing but a pile of steaming, stinking rubble.

Concerned, I did what any parent would. I Googled the situation. And being Google, there it was: a piece from a prestigious medical journal titled “Clashing Phases of Development.” It included a highly technical explanation of my 11-year-old daughter’s phase, mostly to do with (surprise) hormones. I don’t want to mangle the technical jargon, so I’ll quote directly. “Pubescent female hormones,” the doctor stated, “after years of stealth planning, mass together, tie up the normal cells, and begin pinwheeling into the countryside by the millions, bent on mass destruction. Only to find their 6-year-old brother lying in wait, taunting through a gap-toothed smile: ‘Bring it on, Death Farts. I’ve been waiting for this take-down all my life!’” (Email me. I’ll send you the link.)

Which brings us back to my phone call with Club Med. Parents adapt quickly under siege, so with my children’s cries obliterating my ability to hear, I followed a plan I’d developed a couple of weeks earlier. I explained the noise by telling the Club Med lady that I’d accidentally sat on the TV remote, unmuting a favorite episode of When Animals Attack! Then, I did hit MUTE on the phone, giving her a moment to feel superior for never having watched such a sick, ghastly show, much less choosing a favorite episode. After which, with my voice muted, she kept chattering, according to plan, unable to hear me barreling down two flights of steps, chasing Godzilla and the Three-Headed Monster to the back yard in a stampede of loud, ugly threats.

Only when I’d slammed the door shut did I unmute the phone and put it back to my ear, just in time to hear the Club Med lady say:

“… concluding with your complimentary aromatherapy massage. Think about it, Bill, and if you change your mind, let me know if you’d like me to book your airfare.”

* * * * *

CLUB MED BLOGGERS’ WEEKEND!

At Club Med Sandpiper Bay all accommodations, sports activities, meals, bar and tips are conveniently paid for upfront [unless you're getting the trip for free]. All you’ll need to think about are fun ways to relax with your family [minus Ghidorah and Godzilla, who'll be 3,000 miles away, destroying Japan. And their babysitter Rachelle, who will probably die trying to figure out just how much she was underpaid].

If you’re feeling social, you and yours can enjoy your time here getting to know other families from around the world. [Avoid these people like lepers with rabies; they have children with them. Instead, sip cocktails by the bay with your amazing, handsome spouse, and try to figure out how you've only managed to string nine days alone together since you became parents. Then, as the sun sets, make a tiny slice in each of your left palms, co-mingle your blood, and swear a binding, voodoo oath that you will never, ever allow that to happen again.]

If you’re feeling active, try a sunrise golf lesson with Club Med’s resident pro [stick to the bar; it's open in the morning] or learn to sail with a trained professional [his name's Howdy; way cool]. Meet your new friends on professional-grade tennis courts for a game of doubles [go back to the bar] or work out in our air-conditioned, fully-equipped gym [nap in your room]. If swimming’s your thing, you can either enjoy the kid-friendly exuberance of the family pool [it'll only give you flashbacks; don't do it] or take a relaxing dip on the river’s edge in the “quiet” pool. [Swim here. No one under 18 is allowed in the gate. But beware of married men who ignore their wives for minutes at a time while staring at your husband. You may have to wait until he's adjusted his Speedo and started swimming laps (both to impress your husband, who still hasn't noticed) before discreetly approaching his wife with a list of divorce attorneys.]

If you’re feeling spiritual, join the early morning yoga class, where no matter your level of expertise, trained instructors will guide you to a state of peaceful Zen rapture. [Be sure to peek if they ask you to close your eyes for a 3-minute meditation. At our class, once everyone's eyes were shut, the instructor turned around, whipped out his iPhone and started texting like a crazy person. Or tweeting. Or answering mail. I couldn't tell and didn't care. I finally stopped resenting him for making my body hurt and felt more at one with his energy than I had during any of the stretches.]

Club Med’s goal is to give you the vacation of your dreams so you and your kids will come back again and again for years to come. [It was the vacation of our dreams. It was pretty much perfect, which is why we'd never sully the memory by coming back with our kids. Until there's a vaccine for hormones or being six. Or they're in their thirties and offer to pay for the trip. Because from here on out we're only doing freebies. Though not on Club Med. I'm pretty sure they won't be inviting us back.]

____________________________

William Lucas Walker is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer whose television credits include Frasier, Will & Grace and Roseanne. He co-created the critically-acclaimed Showtime comedy The Chris Isaak Show. Bill and his husband Kelly are the parents of Elizabeth and James, born in 2001 and 2005. The children were gratified by the legal marriage of their parents in 2008, an event that rescued them from a life of ruinous bastardry.

Spilled Milk chronicles Bill’s adventures in Daddyland. The first recurring humor column by a gay parent to appear in a mainstream American publication, Spilled Milk has regularly landed on the front page of The Huffington Post. Since its debut, the column’s crossover appeal has also earned it Featured Blog status in a number of HuffPo sections, including Politics, Comedy and Parenting.

Follow William Lucas Walker on Twitter: @WmLucasWalker or Facebook: “Spilled Milk” by William Lucas Walker.

 

My faith in humanity… restored!

Written by Aviva on August 9th, 2012

At the moment, I am enjoying a lovely vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado. I wasn’t planning on writing while I was here but something so amazing happened yesterday. I can’t just let it go!

As my husband, son, and I left the game room (after 2 hours of playing pool – OK, trying to play pool) we saw a girl talking to one of the resort staff. The girl looked to be about 13 years old and was obviously upset – the tears were streaming down her face. The resort staff member was talking into her radio, “She was wearing a purple shirt and purple shorts.”

In those very few seconds of observation we knew what had happened. A little girl was missing!

Without any conversation among the 3 of us or with any others, my family spread out and began to look. We came across other resort guests doing the same and we all pieced together the bits of information we had: She was 3 years old. She had been napping. When her sister went to her room for her, she was gone. She had blond hair. She was dressed in purple.

Within less than 5 minutes it looked as though the entire resort had been mobilized in the search. No announcement was made. No help was requested. People just stepped in to do the right thing. All sorts of people. Older couples. A group of teenage boys (they walked several blocks into town). Families walking together, calling out the girl’s name.

As all of this was going on I couldn’t help but think of all the terrible things in the news recently. The Aurora shooting, The Sikh Temple shooting, the stupid political advertisements, the hate displayed by people on both sides of a Chick-Fil-A controversy. It all seemed so ridiculous in the midst of what was going on.

I know how the little girl’s family members were feeling. My own daughter had mysteriously disappeared from our very own driveway when she was just 2-1/2 years old. I know the terror going through them while they felt completely helpless.

But, at the same time, I saw so much support, help, and giving of others. It made me feel better about the world. I knew this little girl had to be safe if all these people were willing to stop their vacations to help find her.

Before long, the police were there and they did a very careful search of the condo room again. There she was, hiding under a couch. Word of her safety spread quickly and everyone returned to their vacations. No one complained that the family should have done a better job of looking in the unit or keeping an eye on her to begin with. No one was angry or even mildly disturbed by the interruption in their fun. Everyone was just happy to hear she was safe. (As was my daughter – playing at a neighbor’s house.)

I know this story won’t make the news – between political ads, equality wars, and shootings – so I figured I would tell it here. I hope it restores your faith in humanity.

I know it restored mine!

 

Talking with your children about tragedy

Written by Aviva on July 20th, 2012

When something so horrific happens, we worry. Do we know someone who was there? Do we know someone who knows someone? If we are fortunate enough to answer both of those with a no, the next question is what to do about our own children when this is being shown on every television station and discussed on what seems to be every radio and computer.

Sadly, we have had to  address this issue before. Our approach to handling this very sad and delicate situation has not changed:

We offer our condolences and support to all of those whom have lost their loved ones and/or are keeping watch over the injured and walking wounded associated with this terrible tragedy at the Aurora theatre.

We are here for anyone who needs some support, bereavement assistance or would like to know about ways to explain this tragedy to their children, if necessary. Please, please keep your kids away from the media coverage. It will be difficult for kids, especially very young ones, to understand what has happened. The repetition of the broadcasts can be really confusing and scary, especially to young children who are unable to put the events in context and may be frightened that the shootings are happening “over and over” again. Children also may not realize how far away (or how close) Aurora may be from their own homes and this can bring on anxiety too.

For some of us this tragedy may trigger our own emotions and we may be caught off guard as we are reminded about other past losses we have experienced, this is normal too. So if you find yourself feeling out of sorts and may not be able to put a finger on it as to the reason, you too may be experiencing an unexpected grief reaction.

Let us all take a collective deep breath. And if you find you can’t catch your breath, we’re here and we’re offering you an oxygen mask.

And a hug. A big one.

Devra and Aviva

 

The Aurora Theatre Shooting

Written by Aviva on July 20th, 2012

It’s 10:00 AM and my son is still sleeping. He’s pretty worn out. The last 3 weeks have been action packed. Eighteen days at sleep away camp followed by 2 days of hosting a couple of kids between camp sessions. Then we spent the day in downtown Denver where we did some walking and visited The Cell: Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab. He was fascinated with the things we saw and learned while we were there. Parts of it were pretty scary. All of it was very interesting.

Now, about today. My daughter texted me from New York at about 6:45 AM and asked if I had heard about the shooting in Aurora. I told her I was just getting up and had no idea what she was talking about. She briefed me and I turned on the news. Given what my son and I had seen at the The Cell, I had to wonder. Was this an act of terrorism? Had this guy showed the 8 warning signs we had just learned about? Could it have been prevented? The answers to these questions don’t matter much right now. What matters is the lives of thousands have people have been forever changed by this tragic event. People were killed and injured. Those people have family members who will never forget this. People witnessed something in a movie theater they thought only happened on screens. And those of us observing from the outside can’t help but think it could have been one of us.

Until a year ago, my daughter worked in a movie theater. This exact situation could have easily happened there. She could have been a part of it all. My family is very lucky.

I don’t feel a need to wake up my son and tell him the news. He’s only 11 years old. I’ll let him enjoy his peaceful slumber while I continue to listen, learn more, and try to process all of this. When he does wake up, I’ll talk with him about it all. I’m sure he’ll wonder, as I did, if this is part of what we learned about just days before. I don’t have an answer to that, yet. We may never know.

All we know for now is that horrible things can and do happen. We need to cherish what we have and do all we can to make the world a safer, kinder, more caring place to live in.

 

A Vacation by Any Other Name…

Written by Aviva on July 7th, 2012

Devra and I had the pleasure of spending 4 days and 3 nights at Club Med Sandpiper Bay the end of June. As you may recall, Club Med was kind enough to send us to Cancun a few years ago when they first asked us to contribute articles to their site, and they sent each of our families on trips too. I went to Ixtapa, Dev to Punta Cana. Each resort had its charms and areas of improvement but, overall, Club Med and vacation are synonymous!

Much like Devra and I, you may wonder why Club Med would want to lavish us with another trip when we have already had the pleasure of the Club Med experience. Well, the answer is in each unique adventure.

Club Med Sandpiper Bay recently spent several million dollars in renovations. The result, a vacation environment with health and fitness taking front and center stage co-starring a golf academy and a tennis academy. Now, you’re probably really wondering why in the world I would even consider this place for a vacation. To be perfectly honest, so was I! But, I was up for a little time away so here’s what happened.

We received a general itinerary via email about a week before the trip. It included tennis and golf lessons. I laughed as I informed our lovely hostess that I had no depth perception and would probably be a danger to other guests. She assured me all would be well so, I pressed on.

When I arrived at the resort, I was pleased to see ample swimming pools to relax next to where absolutely no balls were being used in any sort of sport. I also enjoyed a nice snack on the deck of the Soleil restaurant as I watched the sail boats go by. So far, so good.

View from Soleil

On our first morning, we took advantage of the yoga class where the  instructor would insist, “Now, we want to raise our leg like this and the opposite arm goes here.” We did not want… but we tried. After that, we rewarded ourselves with the always delicious white chocolate bread (the real reason I was there) and it was off to tennis.

I took tennis lessons growing up but all I remember is using my racket to defend myself against the birds who attacked me every day as I walked the path to my lesson. My hopes for this lesson were, well… hopeful. As long as the nice tennis pro stood next to me and gently bounced the ball for me to hit, I did great. As soon as he moved to the other side of the net, though, it was all over. My goal became to simply make contact with the ball and not hurt anyone else around me… Success.

After tennis, it was time for relaxation at the spa. This I can do! Everything was fabulous but the woman who worked on my shoulders did say I seemed unusually tight. Hmm, wonder why Mr. Tennis Pro? Thankfully, the evening included a quick lesson in bartending which seemed to help my relaxation process along.

Watermelon Mojito, shaken, not stirred!

The next day consisted of more yoga that the instructor was sure I wanted to do, I still had my doubts. Then more white chocolate bread (totally worth all those downward facing dogs)! Next, the funniest (or most humiliating if I cared) thing of all, golf lessons. Now, I arrived a few minutes late so the golf pro took a moment to make sure I knew how to hold a club and taught me how to swing. He then put the golf T in the ground and said, “You just keep swinging at this until you can knock it out of the ground.” I looked around at everyone else in the lesson. They all got golf balls to practice with! This golf pro clearly was a pro – three minutes with me was all he needed to expertly deduce I would not be safe out there with a small, round, very hard object.

The rest of our time at Sandpiper Bay included all the things Club Med is famous for: circus, white chocolate bread, trapeze, dark chocolate bread, crazy dancing, white chocolate bread, a chance to try something new on the water, more white chocolate bread…

Dining at The Marketplace

Our circus team!

Daring young men on the flying trapeze.

For those of you who don’t know it, you and your kids can learn how to fly on the trapeze and the ropes, and the silks, and anything else you dare to fly on. You can even be a part of the circus!

Yes, I am standing on a paddle board. No, I will not zoom in.

I think the Club Med experience is fantastic for a lot of reasons. Even though the golf and tennis were not draws for me, I had a blast. I tried paddle boarding for the first time and even managed to get my legs to stop shaking. I had tons of fun with a great group of people I probably would not have met anywhere else! Would this be the perfect vacation destination for my family? No, not really. We’re not the sporting type. We prefer our lazy ocean side time at Ixtapa. I would recommend it for those who have an avid golfer or tennis player in the family, though, because they could do what they love while other family members enjoy other options. And come on, isn’t that what vacations are about? Everyone having the chance to do what they want to do without having to worry about everyone else.

 

Club Med Sandpiper Bay, here we come!

Written by Aviva on June 17th, 2012

Let the official countdown begin. In just 4 days I will board a flight to Florida (No, Kurt, I still haven’t looked at which airport I’m flying into. I just have to get to DIA and do what the paper says!) where I will meet up with Devra, Kristen, and several other bloggers I am looking forward to meeting to spend 4 fabulous days and 3 amazing nights at the newly renovated Club Med Sandpiper Bay Resort. OK, I probably should have started the countdown sooner but I’ve been busy! I started back to school for my Master’s in Educational Psychology and I had to take 4 tests and write a paper before I could get to this. All the more reason I am looking forward to lots of fun in the sun (completely covered in Eucerin Daily Protection lotion – no, not a sponsor, just swear by the stuff!) and plenty of relaxation.

A quick look at the home page for this resort tells me health and fitness are at the top of the list of reasons to go there. I’ve never been a sports fan – in fact, anyone who knows me can tell you the closest I come to ball sports is using a fitness ball to work out, and I don’t even like to use them for that! I am, however, a big fan of Zumba, massages, and lounging pool or surf side. Fortunately, it looks like these forms of recreation will be plentiful during our stay!

If you are looking for a good laugh while we’re there, I’m sure Devra and the others will gladly let everyone know how I’m doing on the tennis court with our lessons. Just look for their tweets using #BlogClubMed or @ClubMedOfficial. You know Dev and Kristen, they won’t hold anything back!

OK, time to see if my daughter finished editing my paper so I can turn it in and start packing!

 

If 250,000 people say it’s true, well then it must be bullshit

Written by Devra on May 8th, 2012

Oh fabulous! Two more studies barking out who must be happier based upon parenthood.  And wow! The two studies are based upon “worldwide”  samples of 130,000 and 120,000 people.  I’ll be the first to admit I suck at math, I mean not just bad, I mean royally suck. Like getting a 250- on- the- Math- portion- of- the -SAT- the- first- time-I- took- the- stupid- standardized- test-that- meant- really- nothing-except- to- Brandeis- and- NYU-who- both- rejected- me- kind of suck.  Despite this mathematical disability, even I can put the numbers together and determine there are billions of people in the world and two studies with a combined research sample of 250,000 should not be held up to bash people over the head!

Someone has to raise the bullshit flag, and it’s gonna be me.

First of all, before anyone accuses me of not appreciating academia, I am the progeny of not one, but TWO former Ivy League Sociology professors.  So I think I do know a little bit about that world otherwise known as Publish Or Perish.  In addition to my Violet Wiffenpoof geniology, I have a couple of degrees myself (one of which from the University of Arizona, so I can admit to the potential of a bias when it comes to anything published by ASU.)

Second of all, the first of all doesn’t even matter because bullshit is bullshit.

Sharon Jayson’s USA Today Article shares:

Chris Herbst, an assistant professor of public affairs at the school’s downtown Phoenix campus, says his research identifies “serious problems with previous work that ought to make people skeptical about the earlier conclusions.”

Um. Okay. That makes sense. Everybody gonna get right on that skepticism train traveling back to earlier conclusions? All aboard for more bullshit…

The USA Today article also offers up this quote from  the other study:

“The first child increases happiness quite a lot. The second child a little. The third not at all,” says Myrskylä.

Dude. You should have stopped at the first one. Now you have three children? What the hell are you gonna do now? Your happiness is in serious jeopardy and you have to do something. Right?  I suppose if we are to pay attention to the first study, potentially unhappy families with three children should offer their two extra children to their unhappy childless friends. Winner! Winner! Family Dinner!

All I can say is before you leap to believe the latest rounds of press released studies from our institutions of higher learning, look first. Channel a little Janet Jackson and ask “What has this study done for me lately?” if you think it applies to you, then by all means take it seriously.  Just know that there is going to be, in all likelihood, another study that will come along and rebut the first one.  Because just as sand goes through the hour glass, so goes the days of whether someone is going get tenure in their department based upon whether they’ve been recently published.  Academic research is interesting, I don’t deny that for a minute.  However, let’s keep in mind that just because a study concludes, “It is so.” Doesn’t mean another study won’t come along and claim, “It ain’t so.”

Studies that proclaim one group of people to be “happier” than another are entirely subjective.  I haven’t come across a universal definition of happiness which is accepted globally, across all cultures, across all socioeconomic classes.  Have you?  Make sure you check out the definition of terms in a study, they all have em.  Let’s say  you don’t agree with the definition being used for “Happiness” then the study may not be valid for you. Thus  you may be more or less happy than the research concludes. Happy?

Bottom line is this, does it really matter “Who is happier” if that person isn’t you?  I suspect there are all sorts of happy people in the world.  And I further suspect the happiness these people experience has nothing to do with whether or not they have children. I know! Sounds crazy!  And maybe it is crazy because we know that 250,000 people have been studied across the globe (You know, out of billions of people on the planet) so those 250,000 must be telling us the truth about happiness. Right?

That is such crazy bullshit. And calling it bullshit makes me happy.

 

Well, Hello There. And…Listen To Your Mother DC!

Written by Devra on May 2nd, 2012

We took a bit of an unplanned hiatus. So shall we have some “catch up?” Here is what is going on in the world of Parentopia.  I took a full time position as a School Social Worker in Northern Virginia. Aviva has a part time gig as an Intervention Specialist with a school system in Denver Colorado.  Our offline lives have been going at a crazy pace. I’m going to start with what is going on this weekend, and in another post I’ll hit on what has been happening prior to that. Which is a lot. But first things first.

This weekend is going to be bananas! On Sunday afternoon I will be one of fourteen local writers participating in a live onstage reading in celebration of Mother’s Day called “Listen To Your Mother.” The DC show is part of  national initiative to spotlight women all across this country who write online.  It is the brainchild of Ann Imig and I feel so humbled to have made the cut. Forty amazing writers auditioned for 14 spots on the DC cast. We have some incredible writers in this area of the country and selecting the pieces was no easy feat. In fact DC’s Director, Stephanie Stearns Dulli wrote about the process and how challenging it had been for her. Kate Coveny Hood has worked tirelessly as our Producer and we had an incredible run-through a couple of weeks ago which Kate wrote about too.

So if you are in the DC area, I hope you will join me this weekend as we celebrate mothering; However you do it or however it’s been done to you. As for what I’ll be reading for the show? The picture is your hint.

 

Guilt No More

Written by Aviva on November 30th, 2011

Kudos to Redbook for declaring November 30, 2011 as No-Judgment Day!

Ever since our book was published in 2005, we have had the pleasure of hearing sighs of relief from people all over the world when we remind them none of us became parents to be tormented and miserable our entire lives. Parenting is a learning process and, thank goodness, our children are very forgiving of our goofs along the way. Now, it is time once again to follow the lead of the children and say, “It’s OK. We’re doing the very best we can and we’d love to all support each other.”

It’s great to see stories like the one from Charlotte Hilton Andersen of moms helping each other out instead of criticizing or competing. What have you done to support a parent in the past and what can you do today, and everyday, to keep the love paying forward?

As Devra likes to say, “The grass is always greener on the other side so let’s take down the fence and practice beautiful lawn maintenance for everyone!”