Do you ever wonder what your job evaluation as a parent would look like? My wonderful hubby has to go through the job evaluation process once a year as part of his job. He has to fill out an evaluation and his boss reviews him and assesses his performance on an evaluation as well. Most jobs and careers have similar forays into the world of analyzing how well or not so well you are doing your job. Parenthood comes with no such procedure. We don’t get evaluated at the end of every fiscal year, but after days like today, I wonder what mine would look like.
Each parent has certain days that make him or her wonder whether he or she would have been better off getting a cocker spaniel instead of having a child. As a parent of four, I have had several such days. When Kath was enrolled in her first Vacation Bible School (I’m not going into a religious theme here-just telling a story that will definitely have a context for this blog), her father and I looked forward to the wrap up night in which the children would sing sweet little songs and we would eat either badly burned or undercooked hot dogs. Her group went to the altar to sing the song they learned that week. All these angelic faces smiled out to the audience showing perfectly even white baby teeth as they sang their little song, all except one face. Kath was running around the altar continually. Wonderful hubby and I slunk into our seats as we wondered how many people knew that was our daughter. When she was too old for the nursery, Kath had to attend service with us. When the organ’s first notes filled the sanctuary, Kath jumped up to the center of the aisle and yelled out her music request.
One of MJ’s finest moments came at a craft store. He was three and ran away from me and Kath. He was out of my eyesight and at the other end of the store as people were pointing the way to his location before I could catch up to him. I was scared and angry at the same time. Scared because if he had headed the other way and run into the parking lot (the store had automatic doors) before I could have caught him, he could have been seriously hurt. Angry because he had run away from me and not responded when I called him back to me. Fortunately he has never done that again, but six and a half years later, I still remember the gamut of emotions that flowed through me at the moment he bolted.
Cupcake and Chunk bring about a whole new set of complications. Fraternal twins do not run in our family and we were not expecting twins at all when I became pregnant. Nevertheless, they normally brighten our day, but today I took them to story time at our local library. They ran around the room, they played tag, they wrestled each other, and they fought over who would sit in my lap. What is supposed to be a calm and fun introduction to story time as this is a toddler lap sit story time session designed for 1 to 3 year olds turned into a travesty for me as Cupcake and Chunk ran around while every other child sat angelically in a parent’s lap.
There are just those days in which you know that if people around you evaluated your skills as a parent, you would fall way short of the Carol Brady standard. Of course, Carol Brady had a full time, live in maid, but her three children had to share a bathroom with their three tween and teen stepbrothers. I have to remind myself sometimes that a parent evaluation isn’t judged on the moments in which you want to pull out all of your hair, but it is also judged on the moments you want to savor. When I got the phone call that my beloved grandmother had died, Kath went to her room, found a beanie baby teddy bear and brought it to me as I was crying my eyes out in the formal living room. I think about MJ helping his younger twin siblings so I can make dinner. I think about Chunk dancing at his grandfather’s wedding and making everyone around him laugh with his little dancing steps. I think about Cupcake taking Chunk his cookie and not eating it before it ends up in his hand. I know I have a lot of room for improvement, but they are happy and healthy. It’s tough knowing that time will have the final evaluation, but judging on right now as Kath plays her flute, MJ pets the dog, and the twins play together, I think there is hope that all of us are happy that wonderful hubby and I decided to have them rather than adopt a cocker spaniel puppy.

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While the real saying or cliche is “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” I have discovered that it should actually be “the more things change, the more expensive they are.”
Technology is a part of our everyday life. Whereas my grandparents were excited to have a television set and my parents a video cassette recorder, my generation (I’m a Gen Xer) has witnessed the rise of cable TV, satellite TV, and now the internet. I remember the first time we had cable TV and what a stir HBO caused in our household. Now the internet with You Tube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other outlets provide us with access to more television shows than we have time to watch.
As a parent, I see the differences in the wallet with all the new technological fads as well. I remember shopping with my parents for the new Atari 400. What my parents discovered was that it wasn’t necessarily the price of the unit that was overwhelming, it was the price of each cartridge that added up quickly. We had PacMan, Basic Programming, Asteroids, States and Capitals and Centipede. Those five cartridges cost a lot of money back then, but I think my parents got off rather cheaply as compared to now.
Our house has three cell phones, one iPad, one computer, one working laptop and one working not so well laptop that is on its last legs and so on. (I don’t want to make our house super attractive to any burglars who may be reading this; may I add that our super aggressive dog is known throughout our neighborhood as the barking dog and she is feisty.) My two year old daughter, Cupcake, can already navigate my iPad. She knows what to touch to make PBS Kids appear and how to make it turn on Sesame Street and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. She knows how to get the pictures to show a slideshow. She is especially fond of the song “Better Days” as the background song. Cupcake can also operate a VCR; yes, our household still has that somewhat outdated technological device. Her pronunciation of Netflix is getting better as it now sounds more like Net-flicks rather than Neck-lace. She also knows about websites. One of her favorites is koko.org which features the detailed life of Koko the Gorilla. She loves to get whoever is at the computer to stop what they are doing and type in koko.org so she can see the video footage of Koko’s birthday. All of this before her third birthday.
Cupcake’s twin, Chunk, is more into food so he wants to increase his understanding of how to cook food. He is starting to figure out the microwave. He keeps bringing me popcorn bags so I can pop them in the microwave. Even so, he still likes looking at my iPad. He likes the slideshow also, but he is not a fan of “Better Days” and constantly asks me to turn off the music when Cupcake has the iPad in her lap watching 1000 pictures of her and her family over the past three years.
MJ also has grasped the media technology that rules our household. He is especially fond of Wii and the internet. The good news is that he is enamored of several math educational sites right now and is trying to outscore other members of his class. The bad news is that the Wii cartridges he tends to want for his birthday or Christmas tend to cost around $50.00 a piece. We carefully budget and save for whatever technological item we bring into our house. As much as I would love certain new devices, I don’t want to owe money on them and my wonderful hubby would like to retire someday. As a result, we have plain everyday cell phones that are mainly used for emergencies rather than the SmartPhones that supposedly organize your life but do not vacuum or dust.
Kath did receive a laptop as a middle school graduation present, but that was solely because she needs one for high school and I use the word need there on purpose rather than want. Yes, she likes Facebook and “wants” her Facebook account, but many of her teachers require homework to be done on the computer. Her lit teacher has assignments that are handed in via one website rather than on paper. She has a school e-mail address. So as much as I would have loved to use the money for something else, she really did need this in order to write compositions, send photo files to her teacher (her lit teacher had people send her pictures of each student reading a book to her e-mail), and use online textbooks. Technology isn’t cheap, but sometimes it is necessary for today’s society.
From my Atari 400 to our family’s technological devices, I’ve seen quite an evolution in the cost of these items, but as a family, we are drawing some lines. We don’t need fancy phones when we have laptops and a computer. I also draw the line at paying for Sirius Radio (although I lament the loss of my favorite radio station which is changing format to an all sports radio station) and I draw the line at contractual fees for cell phone service. I also draw the line at new Wii games except if a child earns the money himself or herself or receives a game as a gift for Christmas or birthday and even then it is one new game. Same thing goes for the handheld game devices. Not in my house and the only exception is if you earn all the money yourself and it is not to be a gift. MJ knows he can’t get a Nintendo DS as a gift, but he knows he can earn the money by doing chores or asking grandparents for chores (and I would check to make sure they paid a fair rate and not extra and did not give him extra).
And so the technology bugs have hit our house and bite even the youngest of occupants. We try to manage to keep the expenses of the different gadgets to a minimum, but it is hard. That’s when I pull out Zooreka or Star Wars Monopoly or even a puzzle. Our Thanksgivings are always marked with a puzzle that we try to shield from the twins’ destructive forces. So hopefully I will learn to balance fun activities that do not require electricity just as my parents had to remind me there was more to life than scoring the high score on PacMan and just as my grandparents had to remind my mother there was more to life than listening to the same Beatle record over and over and just as my great grandparents had to remind my grandmother that there was more to life than going to see the new Roy Rogers movie over and over and over. I say maybe as I am sitting here trying to figure out how to blog. Now if I could just figure out how to upload pictures, maybe I just need to get Cupcake to do that for me.

In the movie series Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover’s character, Roger Murtaugh always delivers the line “I’m too old for this (insert what you know he said here)…” with great aplomb whenever certain situations arise which only exist in Hollywood action flicks. Sometimes those situations revolve around one of his onscreen children who inevitable cause another uttering of that line. There have been a couple of times in the past couple of years when I find myself uttering a cleaned up version of that line and I think about my age in relation to my children’s ages.
Being the mom to twin toddlers requires energy that I do not always seem to possess yet which they always assume I have in spades. They love piggyback rides and the “upside down” game. That is the process by which I swing them upside down for a couple of seconds and then gently toss them on the couch. They always yell “My turn” or “More” if I do not do this fast enough. Another invented physical fun activity is “Firm Embrace.” If you were (or still are) a fan of the TV show “Mad About You,” you will remember Mel Brooks’ hilarious performance as Uncle Phil who always demanded a firm embrace from Paul and Jamie. This vignette was in my mind one day when Kath was little and we started the firm embrace game which has continued through all four children during toddlerhood. They lay on me and I roll them from side to side while chanting “Firm embrace, firm embrace, I need me a firm embrace.” As I am doing this to toddlers, they love it and do not mind the grammatical incorrectness. All of these physical fun times, however, seem to be causing me to feel my age a little more now than when Kath was little. The day following an intensive session of “upside down,” I feel the muscles in my shoulders and neck more prominently than the morning before. Still Cupckae and Chunk love this and I try to give it my best effort. When I’m a little too stiff, I take them to a neighborhood park to run around and get rid of some of that excess energy.
Nevertheless, I far prefer feeling a little stiff in the joints to another new feeling that I have started to experience lately: the feeling that I am way too young for certain life changes. No, I’m not talking about the M word; I’m writing about being the mother of a teenager and all that entails. Kath turned fourteen this year. Up to this point, boys had been “icky” and “gross.” That was absolutely fine with me. I could handle that; in fact, I loved it because it meant my daughter who is two inches taller than me was still my little girl. Then came a phone call a couple of weeks ago. My wonderful hubby had called me to ask to see if I had found his wallet in his car which I had borrowed to go to the library to write. I instantly run out to the car to search frantically for his wallet. I look under the seats, in the console, in nooks and crannies to no avail. I call home to ask him whether we need to start cancelling credit cards when Kath answers the phone and yells the immortal words, “I have a boyfriend.” Wait a minute. What happened to boys are “gross” and “yucky?” All of a sudden, she has a boyfriend? So goodbye to boys being disgusting and hello to the dating world. For the first two and a half weeks, I especially loved this new dating world. There was no going out on what I perceive as an actual date; instead, there were phone calls and an occasional Facebook message, but no coming to the door and taking to a restaurant or movie. All was going well until Labor Day when Kath asked if we wanted to meet her boyfriend. While I would have preferred to do my income taxes or run a marathon, I smiled and nodded. Ben (not his real name) came over to watch Back to the Future. Instead, MJ had strict orders not to leave their sides. MJ ingratiated himself well and taught him how to play a computer game. Instead of learning the value of 1.21 jigawatts, Ben had to endure MJ’s explanation of how to play Heroes of Might and Magic. Then came dinner. Spencer Tracy was not more surprised to have Sidney Poitier as a dinner guest than I was when Ben stayed to dinner that night. I am definitely too young for my daughter to be dating.
Sometimes I ask myself what is the happy medium. I feel old when I play roughhouse with Cupcake and Chunk but feel too young to have a daughter that is actually dating. Then I come to MJ who has discovered he likes watching movies with me. He loved Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, but he didn’t like The Pink Panther with David Niven and Peter Sellers as MJ has a definite sense of right and wrong and (spoiler alert) for Inspector Closeau to get framed for Sir Charles’ crimes is a little too hard for him to accept. As the Oreo cream filling between the cookies that are his twin siblings and his older sister, MJ bridges the gap for me between the three different age groups I have running around my house. Although there are days when I feel old and days when I feel too young for some parental activity, I smile knowing I’m in the right spot for right now. Then I reach for the ThermaCare patch and know I can make it another day.

My life as a member of the Pack Rats started long before I had children. I would gladly keep a school term paper rather than throw it away. A souvenir T-shirt? No problem. I’ll take it. If I like it, I will wear it out in public. If I don’t, I can use it as a night shirt until I wear it out for rags. I often kept small items knowing one day I would need that garlic roaster or souvenir deck of cards. Then I had children. My stuff nultiplied faster than two rabbits. My house had more stuffed animals than Noah had animals in his ark. Toys? Half of my subdivision could come to my house, pick out a toy, and I would still have more toys than the toy department at Target. School papers and photographs take up much closet space as I keep promising myself I would go through them and sort them out into what to keep and what to trash.
Life as a Pack Ratter has a way with catching up with you, especially if you live in a house with five other people. One day you look around you and you realize you either need to get rid of some stuff or move to the Biltmore Estate. Since my last name is not Vanderbilt, there is no possibility for my moving to the Biltmore, so downsizing my stuff while increasing our living space became a major ongoing project. My wonderful hubby and I decided to finish our basement in order to use the space in it. The first problem, however, was navigating our way through our basement in order to let people come give us estimates on how much it would cost to finish it. Once we decided on a company to finish the basement, we had to clean the basement. This was much easier said than done. Not only did we have a lot of stuff in the basement, but the previous owners of the house left a lot of stuff: a humongous metal workdesk, not to code drywall, hardwood floor remnants, and unusable insulation. We filled a huge dumpster sitting in our driveway all the way full with all the stuff we discarded. I thought we had done pretty well. While we rented a storage unit for our Christmas decorations and family mementos, we had an empty basement. After the workers finished the job, we emptied out the storage unit and I’ve begun to realize I still have a long way to go. The one room we left as a storage room in the basement is filled with boxes and storage bins. Along with my grandmother’s cedar chest which I cannot even bear to think of not keeping is a school desk belonging to my great grandmother-in-law which is sort of becoming an albatross although a sweet one reminding us of the selfless hours my great grandmother-in-law devoted to her students. I keep thinking of the full dumpster and wonder how we ever lived with all the stuff that ended up in it before it ended up in it.
We are beginning to get the clutter under control, however. My checking out two books about decluttering your clutter have not really helped because I haven’t taken more than a cursory glance at them. I’ve been busy shredding medical receipts from the 1990s. I’ve also been reorganizing Cupcake’s new room and Chunk’s room that he now has all to himself. The fact that we rented that dumpster and filled it gives me hope that we are making a start in the right direction. When we brought the boxes back from the storage unit in a U-Haul, we filled up the U-Haul with furniture to donate to Goodwill. All of this has made me think about which possessions I truly cherish and which I can eliminate from my life. Sure there are books and photos I cannot think of not having, including my grandparent’s wedding album, but it made me realize I can live just fine without the Monopoly game with half the pieces missing. This step in the right direction is making me believe that we will eventually be organized and not focus so much on old stuff but instead will focus on making new memories.

What was the last song to which you listened in your car? Music and cars seem to go hand in hand. I remember very well growing up excited at the thought of driving a car not to get from point A to point B but because the driver controlled the airwaves or cassette choice. I’ve watched cars’ stereo systems transition over the years from radio to cassette players to CD players to the present array of systems including satellite radio and iPod links. I’ve listened to all sorts of music in the car over the years. I started out listening to the music of whomever was driving the car. Thanks to this, I heard a variety of music. When my grandfather took me for long drives, I listened to big band music. When my dad controlled the wheel, Hotel California or a Clapton tune would inevitably hit the airwaves. My mother was fond of cassette compilations featuring Barbra Streisand and Roberta Flack. Inevitably my music tastes are rather eclectic. U2’s “A Beautiful Day” will follow Doris Day’s “Pillow Talk.” Muse will follow Louis Armstrong which, to me, is great.
I’ve been more lenient, however, about sharing the radio system in the car with my offspring. Before I had children, I daydreamed that I would expose them to all sorts of music, but I especially daydreamed that they would listen to sonatas and symphonies, Beethoven and Bach. I was excited at the thought of little minds being exposed to masters such as Mozart and Haydn. Just because I don’t listen to operas (with the exception of Carmina Burana) isn’t a reason for my children to not listen to Carmen and other classic operas. That daydream flew out the window faster than a drag car at a track. When Kath was little, my wonderful hubby and I listened to the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack over and over and over again. We also sang the lyrics to the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack over and over and over again. My daydream turned into a nightmare that Kath would be in high school and still only listening to the same cassette over and over and over.
Kath is now a teenager. The 14 year old Kath is quite a contrast to little 2 year old Kath. She actually has Vivaldi on her iPod touch and has listened to The Four Seasons. Alternative rock is her love and passion, however. She has confounded teachers who expect teenagers to only know the likes of One Direction and Justin Bieber. Her favorite artists are Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie. She was devastated last week when it was announced that Ben Gibbard was going to release a solo album. She likes to plug her iPod touch into the car’s system when I drive her places and it is just the two of us. My rule is I get to veto when it plays “I Will Follow You” by Death Cab for Cutie as that is one of the most depressing songs ever.
More often than not, it is not just the two of us as I am the mother of four. When MJ came along, I braced myself for another round of kid’s music on our car’s radio system. Children always do their best to surprise you. MJ has never really cared for kid’s music. With MJ, we were fortunate. When he was two, he heard Louis Armstrong. We now own a variety of wonderful Louis Armstrong CDs as he loved to listen to “It’s a Wonderful World” and “Hello Dolly.” Now he likes to listen to U2 and The Script.
So my musical tastes were appeased for a while and sanity ruled inside the car. I like alternative rock so I would happily turn on the alternative station and listen to U2, Train and Mumford and Sons in the car. Then came the twins, Cupcake and Chunk. Each child is different from one another and my little fraternal twins are no exception to that cliche. Cupcake presently loves a cassette of Bear in the Big Blue House music. Chunk likes a Veggie Tales CD. For a while, they would acquiesce and agree to listen to one and then the other. Then each would scream to listen to his or her favorite. Now one will scream for Bear and the other will scream to listen to “Mommy music.” Now it is Chunk who will let me listen to my radio station while Cupcake insists on Bear and Bear alone. Thanks to Kath, I know Cupcake will not be listening to Bear when she is in high school, but I do wonder what type of music they will both like. When we aren’t in the car, Cupcake dances to music coming out of my radio. She especially liked the Pretenders. This gives me a great deal of hope for her musical future and mine.

For all of you expecting a cute and cuddly blog about puppies, this is not that blog. This instead is a cute and cuddly blog about ways parents find to tease their kids long after the kids leave toddlerhood behind. You see, in my household, rather than inflict the “mother” curse on them right away (you know, the curse, the one that says that one day we hope you have a child just like you, the one that I held out with Kath until she was about twelve, MJ until he was about eight, Chunk hasn’t received it yet, and Cupcake received it at about eight days old), we have gathered ammunition with which to tease them. What better way to revisit old memories than to gently tease about the first crush, either celebrity or real (and hence the title, puppy love)?
To be fair to my children, I will admit that my father has his fair supply of ammunition. I am reminded at various times about a variety of childhood crushes including but not limited to Cary Grant, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, John Travolta, and a variety of elementary school boys. I thought a little boy in my third grade class named Dusty was destined to be my husband because I am deaf in my left ear and he was deaf in his right. My wonderful hubby is still reminded about a little girl in his neighborhood named Sandy. Apparently when he was four or five, he and Sandy were quite an item. He was going to clear half of his room for her to live there. So these type of memories live long for parents in order to torture us offspring for any slights we may or may not have caused.
MJ, who is nine, now thinks girls have cooties (hopefully this phase will last until eighth or ninth grade). When he was in preschool, however, there was a little girl named Savannah who had blonde ringlets. MJ has always been partial to blondes. We have pictures of him at his preschool field trip with him in his cool black sunglasses holding onto Savannah’s hand. We intend to lord this over him often when he is a teenager and we will know when a girl is serious about him when she wants to see pictures of him when he was young (I think that was a dead giveaway for my in-laws when I loved looking at photo albums of my wonderful hubby as a child; still love it).
Our little Chunk is developing quite an affinity for redheads. His 14 year old sister Kath has friends over and he always tries to get the attention of one of her friends who is sometimes a redhead. He also loves watching Mythbusters. At least he loves watching Mythbusters whenever Kari Byron is on the show. If you don’t watch Mythbusters, Kari Byron holds her own on the show as a talented artist and explosives queen. She also happens to have red hair. Oh, the mileage we will get out of this when he is older.
Our little Cupcake just has a thing for anyone with an XY chromosome combination. She constantly wants to look on Facebook at pictures of her playgroup buddies. She loves to flirt. Right now she is becoming enamored with a show my wonderful hubby (whom I hope is still talking to me after revealing the previous insights about Sandy-I Love You, Wonderful Hubby) watches called Doc Martin. We don’t know if she likes the actor who plays Doc Martin or the dog. Our vote is the dog, but we could be wrong.
This leads me to Kath, our fourteen year old. She is the inspiration for today’s blog actually. Her first celebrity crush was on Richard Dawson who passed away this week at age 79. When she was a toddler, we watched Match Game (she was too young to understand all the things that were said about Dumb Dora) and Family Feud (sorry Richard Karn, Ray Combs and Steve Harvey, there is only one true Family Feud emcee in my opinion and that was Richard Dawson). When we tried to change the channel, it was “turn back Richard Dawson.” One night my wonderful hubby was changing channels and she made him turn on a movie because she spotted Richard Dawson in it. So goodbye Richard Dawson. Thank you for the wonderful memories you created for our family. I know Kath is a little embarrassed by this memory, but I for one cherish the thought of my sweet little girl asking for Richard Dawson.
Whether they are on a celebrity or a real person, our first crushes are cute examples of innocent puppy love and endless supplies of torture for parents who get to remind us of those days as they stifle a laugh. Who am I kidding-as they laugh hysterically reminding us of our first puppy love.

My wonderful hubby works as a pharmacist for a major retail chain. He is a floater pharmacist, which means he works at different stores at different weeks depending on which stores need a pharmacist to fill in for a vacation, jury duty, illness, maternity leave, etc. Part of being a floater means that he works with a different group of people each week and even each day. He has been a floater long enough that most of the pharmacists and technicians know him. This is not always the case as new pharmacy techs are sometimes at the stores to which he is posted. By the end of a twelve hour day, you get to know the other people with whom you are working. He usually finds out if the fellow employee is married or single, has children or not, and more things like that. He always responds that he is married and has four children, ages 14, 9, 2 and 2. Here is where the fun comments start. He is inevitably asked if we have four children for religious reasons and are we religious fanatics? He is asked whether he is divorced from his first wife or if she died because one woman would not possibly be able to have four children spaced apart like that. One of my favorite comments came the other day. His fellow workers are usually appalled that I am a stay at home mom. They usually ask why I don’t work. My favorite question came the other day when a new pharmacy tech asked, “Well, what does she do all day?”
All sorts of comments always run through my mind when he tells me what people say about me at work. This blog is primarily a humorous look at our lives as well as a clean look at our lives (i.e., I am trying not to use profanity while trying to keep it fairly light and sometimes funny) so I will try to keep my responses as family friendly as I can.
In response to the first question about whether we are religious fanatics, my wonderful hubby would like to wear his Flying Spaghetti Monster shirt to work, but the retail chain does have a dressy work attire code. As yet, his Flying Spaghetti Monster t-shirt has only come in basic white t-shirt mode and not in a dress shirt format. At our church, we are actually an anomaly because we play zone to zone and not man to man. I was talking to a mom and fellow church member and she said she doesn’t understand why we deviated from a man to man defense (meaning two children) to go to a zone to zone defense.
But I especially love the what does she do all day remark. I have tremendous respect for mothers who work full time or part time and get a paycheck for their work. Just because I don’t work at a job where I get paid money, let me assure the person who asked that question that I do work. I sort laundry, do laundry, fold laundry, put away laundry. I make three meals a day on the days my wonderful hubby works either four hours, eight hours or twelve hours a day plus travel time. I’m watching my two year old daughter go potty because she is insisting that I sit down and watch while she reads her magazine while trying to go potty (let me assure DFACS and social workers who are reading this that I am not a pervert; most parents do have to supervise their potty training toddlers). I answer my nine year old’s son’s endless supply of questions. I make sure my fourteen year old practices her flute and does other things besides play Heroes of Might and Magic or IMs on Facebook. I play puzzles with my two year old son. So basically, I’m the chauffeur, cook, maid, court jester, and other occupations all rolled into one during the day. I know that mothers who earn a paycheck also do all of these things as well, but I don’t sit around in curlers watching soap operas. I do things with my children, just like all mothers do. They just see me more hours a day. That doesn’t make either choice right or wrong. Let me emphasize that. If a mother stays at home when she has the financial freedom to do so, it doesn’t make her a lazy person. If a mother works when her partner makes enough for them to live comfortably, that doesn’t make her a bad mother. I respect the right for a woman to do what is right for her and her family. I wish other people would start respecting that as well.