May 21, 2015

If you’re trying to raise a D1 athlete, you may be going about it all wrong...

...Did you read the article about the 8th grader, who is 6 feet tall, weights 200 pounds, and has scholarship offers from Florida State, Miami, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Kentucky – in 2 different sports? I can understand the colleges wanting to put a claim on Lebron James’ kid, but this is nuts.  I’m not going to be na├»ve and ask when a kid can just be a kid – but 8th grade, really?  It feels like this is all anyone ever talks about anymore – whose kid got offers from which school, blah blah blah.  I get it.  It’s practically impossible not to get sucked into the “elite, competitive, travel and club” sports mania with our kids.  And let’s face it; everyone with kids in competitive sports is acutely focused on keeping up with what all the other kids are doing to stay on top.  I’m just as guilty as the next guy.  If I hear about someone who has his or her son at a speed and agility training facility, I ask my husband if we need to look into that. So I decided to call my good friend and go-to sports confidante whom I have great respect for.  She is raising three very talented, and humble boys with strong values. 

I asked her, “What is your mantra with regard to club sports, and how do you keep your boys from burning out”?  The amazing part of her answer, which took me about 30 minutes to comprehend, is that she never answered my question directly, because she doesn’t have a specific mantra with regard to sports.  In other words, her family doesn’t focus on what school they should be targeting for their boys and how to go about making that dream happen; they want to raise three good young men.  She and her husband simply want to be proud when their kids walk out the door.  Keeping the goal in mind, that drives all of their decisions. I can attest to this because every time I’ve called her for sports advice, her answers reflect core values more than they relate to my specific issue.  Sometimes it drives me crazy, but she’s always right.

As for a list of values they teach their boys, here a just a few: always be humble and don’t showboat, be respectful to your coaches and to your teammates, be a good teammate and grow into a leader, show your talent with skills not your flash (cleats and clothes), earn respect, put in the work, and be unselfish on the field or court.  This is how they were both raised and how they are raising their boys.  I think that so many of us miss the big picture because we want to make sports perfect for our kids.  She calls that the “entitled bubble” and that’s scary because that’s not the real world, especially for our kids growing up here in Southern California.  The weather is always perfect and we don’t have to worry about seasonal sports because kids can be outside all year long.  My husband visited his sister in Connecticut recently and her daughter’s were practicing in a full on down pour.

While I used sports because that’s my world, this conversation can be related to whatever your child is focused on.  This could include school, art, drama, music, or whatever they are passionate about.  If you have God given talent, and you want to do well, you need to put in the effort to be on top.  Personal trainers, and tutors, can only take you so far.  And the last thing she emphasized to me is that you want your child to have other interests.  Hopefully they will connect with a certain teacher, or subject, because you never want to put all your eggs into one basket, in case life doesn’t turn out the way you had planned.

Let kids be kids.  If you want them to condition, have them run around outside, play with a sibling, jump on a trampoline, or climb a tree.  With all the pressure and responsibilities they have, at least let the conditioning be natural! 

This is one of the best conversations I’ve had in a long time because sports consumes my life and sometimes I do question my sanity.  Especially when I read about 8th graders getting offers from more than one college.  I hope this helps you as much as it helped me! 

Email me at


April 27, 2015

Bad manners at mass

It all started Easter morning.  This year was a bit strange. For the first time in my “mom” life, our daughter was out of town, and not with us, which was just plain weird.  Plus, our kids are teens and don’t want to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap anymore, (Boo). So there was no Easter egg hunt or family brunch.  But one thing that has remained constant on Easter, is that our family goes to mass. And it’s always very special, springy, and happy.  So I couldn’t wait to attend mass this morning, in keeping with one Easter, family tradition.

It was a beautiful morning and the three of us headed to church.  Usually, it’s impossible to find parking because it’s such a popular day to attend mass, so we have to walk a few blocks, but not today.  We scored a key parking spot right up front which felt like a sign that today was already shaping up to be good.  I especially love watching all the little girls in their Easter dresses and their moms walking into church.  And the little boys are adorable walking in with their hair gel and blue blazers matching their dad and acting grown up. It’s so festive and Springy.  Easter Mass always puts me in a good mood. 

But today, as soon as I walked into the church, I experienced something that immediately put me into a bad mood.  When we walked in, the last pew was virtually empty.  So you can imagine my surprise when I went to sit down, and a man pointed to an orange scarf (I’m so mad that I didn’t bring my cell phone so I could have taken a picture), and he very abruptly told me that he was saving the entire pew. I thought to myself, that’s pretty rude behavior, but I decided to let it go.  Once we took our seats by friends, it became clear to me that someone was saving the entire pew directly in front of us.  Oh no, not again.  I was horrified.  Shortly after we sat down, a high school aged, special needs boy walked over and tried to take a seat. But a woman in the row in front of him, looked him in the eye, and told him that he couldn’t sit there because it was saved for her whole family. How dare she.  I watched as about 4 more “groups” of people walked over to sit down and were turned away.  Sure, send the special needs kid and the elders to stand in the back?  The irony of this situation is that the actual people, whom they were saving the seats for, showed up late and barely even took up half the pew.  I’m sorry but this is so rude and wrong and shouldn’t be allowed.

It’s Easter Sunday mass.  Here’s what I’d like to know from the people saving entire pews: Why are you even there?  What prompted you to get up, put on your nice spring clothes, and go to church, if you are going to behave like that?  I truly don’t want to be judgmental, but isn’t the whole idea of Easter Sunday and the overall message of the Catholic Church to treat others as you would have them treat you?  The people saving seats don’t seem to be following this Golden rule.  Why on the “holiest” day of the year in the Catholic Church, are people behaving in such and elitist and rude fashion? I don’t think if Jesus showed up at church that morning, he would be happy with this behavior.

When and where along the line, have people learned that their needs are greater and more important than society as a whole?  What is making everyone so self-important today?  John Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.   Today, that quote might sound like this, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what else should your country be doing for you”. 

The behavior that I witnessed at Easter mass is turning into our everyday way of life.   I think it’s very sad to watch the evolution of community to self.  What say you?  Email me at

April 13, 2015

The golden rule of parenting

I have a friend who is a phenomenal parent. When it comes to parenting, she knocks it out of the park. Here’s just a short list of why I admire her skills:  As a mom, she’s fun, smart, demands a lot from her kids, expects them to work hard and then she rewards them hard.  But mostly, she has a “Golden Rule” of parenting.  She says what she means and she means what she says, period.  She is consistent, which is something that I aspire to adhere to on a daily basis.

Earlier this year, we ended up at the same party.  She arrived with no less than 8 kids trailing behind her (her own kids as well as her nieces), and we hung out and celebrated the holiday.  But when she said it was time to go, she grabbed her bag, told the kids it was time to leave, and everyone listened.  Literally, every kid she brought, stopped what they were doing, with zero hesitation, and fell in line.  Her son had been running around playing with a big group of boys, but he didn’t hesitate when she said it was time to leave.  Now I don’t know about you, but in my house, it doesn’t work that way.  I say it’s time to leave, and 20 minutes later we’re still negotiating.  Nobody stops what he or she is doing without putting up a fight.  I wouldn’t know what to do if I made a statement and the whole house actually listened.  We’d probably buy ourselves about one to two hours a day! Don’t get me wrong, I have good kids, but this was an entirely different level of parenting. It felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

So the next day, I decided to call her to find out how she does it.  I mean seriously, who has a group of that many kids, and every single one of them listens to her without putting up a fight? 

Apparently it all started when her kids were young.  I think her advice can help so many parents, especially those with young children (Trust me, there’s still time).  She drove her 3 kids to Disneyland and they were behaving poorly on the ride up.  She kept telling them that if their behavior didn’t change, she would turn the car around.  But what kid thinks their parent will actually turn the car around once they get all the way to Disneyland.  I’m sure you can guess what happened next.  She pulled into the parking lot, stopped the car, the kids were still arguing, so she drove all the way back to San Diego.  Her kids cried the entire way home, but she sent a pretty strong message that day.  She also had a policy that when her kids were young, they always took 2 cars when they went out to eat.  They didn’t actually set the kids up to fail, but they always had an “out” in case one of the kids misbehaved.  They would order food, wait for it to arrive, and then ask for a “to go box” because “X child” was not behaving and needed to go home.  Can you imagine?  Who thinks of that?  I’ll tell you ninja parenting buddy who has raised 3 incredibly humble, gracious, smart, and happy kids. 

Why is this important if we don’t have toddlers?  Because as our kids get older, all of the decisions we make get much tougher.  You go from relatively small decisions, to decisions that could actually have a long term impact on your child. (see previous article regarding the Poway Party Parents).

I couldn’t resist the urge to write this rant, because I can’t begin to count how many empty threats we (my husband and I) have made to our kids over the years.  Sometimes we let big threats slip out and then we regret that we now have to follow through and enforce the threat.  I have seen my friends do it too, and we laugh afterwards about our “parent of the year” award that we’re never going to receive.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Do you follow the Golden Rule?

March 25, 2015

Uber parenting...welcome to 2015!

This may seem unlikely, but lately, Uber seems to be making its way into conversations I have with friends for reasons that might blow your mind.  It turns out that Uber has become the new “norm” for shuffling teenagers around town.

My niece hung out with a friend last summer, and one day she pulled up to her house and got out of an Uber ride.  My sister had no idea that her daughter had “Uber’d” home with a friend.  Apparently, that’s how she gets around when her mom can’t drive her (which begs the question why didn’t my niece call my sister – but that’s no fun).  One friend told me that she was out of town for a naturally she downloaded the Uber App onto her daughter’s iPhone, and that’s how she got to all of her after school activities.  Hmmm I thought to myself, trying to remain cool calm and collected as if that’s something that I’d honestly consider, that’s one-way to do it.  I think it takes a pretty sophisticated and somewhat street-smart teenager to be able to rely on Uber for a week and have no problems getting around.  I was impressed.  When you have more than one kid, and they need to be in 2 different places at the same time, what’s a mother to do?  It used to be that you ask a friend for help and carpool, but in 2015, just call Uber.

But this whole concept is taking on a creepy tone.  This has also become the new norm: You allow your teenager to go to a party, but you also have dinner plans, so they take Uber home.  Now I don’t know about you and your parenting style, but this does not sit well with me.  Someone recently asked me, “Randi, what if you are out drinking with friends, wouldn’t you rather have an Uber driver take your child home”?  To which I answered, “Hell no.  If my freshman is at a party, then I won’t make plans to go out drinking on that particular night because I want to be the one to bring them home”.  What ever happened to that “in-between step” where you pick up your child from a party, kiss them on the cheek and check out their condition to be sure everything is cool?  That’s a huge step that kids get to bypass when you add Uber into the equation. Not to mention, the carpool is where you gather at least 90% of your information on what’s actually going on in your child’s life.  Now that’s gone.  I can (sort of) understand the need for a service during the week when you are juggling different kids who have to be in different places at the same time, and you have an impossible schedule.  But having Uber driving your kid home from a party...Really?

Let me ask you this question: Whom are you going to call to complain?  Uber is a technology company; it’s not a physical address where you can go and speak with someone in person about a bad experience.  Its function is strictly to arrange for its customers to get from point A to point B. By the way, I have no beef with Uber or their drivers.  I’ve never personally used the service, but I think that we as a society are so pre- occupied with convenience that we have no problem giving up our privacy.  While I love technology, it’s starting to get uncomfortable.

Everyone wants what he or she wants, when they want it.  This is Direct TV.  Who watches live television anymore?  With the touch of your finger, you can literally have someone at your physical location, within 15 minutes. 

An Uber driver knows where you live.  They know that a cute 15 year-old girl lives at X address and they have her cell phone number.  That’s entirely too much information about my children in the hands of strangers that I’m not willing to give away for convenience. 

What say you? Are you an Uber parent? Email me at