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 www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.

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 who...my 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?  www.randiccrawford@gmail.com

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 week...so 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 www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.

March 9, 2015


In case you haven’t already figured it out; we are one messed up society.  My daughter and I went to Las Vegas last weekend for a cheer competition, and experienced more than her 3-minute cheer-routine she had to perform.  She’s a big fan of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, which plays a role in our experience and my shock at our societal values and especially her generation.  There’s a character on the show, Scott Disick, and apparently he’s the baby daddy for one of the Kardashian sisters.  I’ve seen the show about 5 times, (Bonding moment with my daughter – I’ll take it however I can get it), and this guy in particular, does nothing.  I stand-corrected, he drinks, has anger management issues, and is incredibly arrogant.  So I’ve asked my daughter, “Why does anyone like this guy, he’s not even a good dad”?  This is assuming that I think Kim Kardashian, her sisters and their mother are worth watching.

As it turns out, Scott Disick does do something.  He shows up at nightclubs and hangs out.  He doesn’t perform or sign autographs; he just gets paid to show up.  Imagine my excitement when I found out that he was going to be at a nightclub on Saturday night.  So while my daughter and I were enjoying a nice breakfast together, she insisted that I go clubbing so I could meet Scott Disick since she was too young to go herself.  Now I don’t know about you, but my clubbing days are somewhat behind me.  Not to mention, I was there for a cheer competition and didn’t exactly have any clothes that would remotely make the cut.  But when I saw how excited she was, I did what any idiotic mother would do, and decided to figure out how to get on the guest list.  I managed to get 2 friends and I on the list, and the first thing the host said to me after staring me up and down, was,  “I’ll get you in, but you are aware that there is a STRICT dress code and you must be in a dress and hells, right”?   I assured her that I had it under control. (Gulp)!

After a full day of shopping for something to wear that evening, my friends and I were ready for a night on the town.  We arrived to the club around 11:30 pm and were told that Scott should be there by midnight.  It soon became 12, then 12:30 and by 12:45 we decided that it probably wasn’t meant to be.  (6-inch heels aren’t really my thing).  But when we started walking out of the club, we noticed movement.  Bouncers were on their radios, and the vibe was electric.   The line to get into the club had grown to over 100 people and it was pure chaos. You would have thought Brad Pitt was in the building.  The doors to a private entrance opened, and sure enough, it was lights, cameras, and action.  Out walked Scott Disick and his entourage as if he had just won an academy award.

This is what I don’t understand.  Who is Scott Disick and why was everyone going nuts?  They were shouting his name, (Okay I did too, because I needed a picture for my daughter), jumping up and down, and dying to get into the club to be with him.  This is our youth’s generation.  These are the people they look up to.  I honestly think that the Kardashians are more famous than famous people.  I bet if Meryl Streep were in the building, there wouldn’t have been the same reaction.   What is that about?  Let’s look at the Kardashians:  There’s the infamous sex tape, kids out of wedlock, an insane mother/manager, and a former Olympic champion for a step-dad who is publicly transitioning into being a woman...who incidentally just caused an accident that tragically killed someone.  Scott Disick didn’t hit 40 home runs last year, he hasn’t negotiated world peace, he isn’t an Academy award winning actor or a best selling novelist. He isn’t even a barista at Starbucks.  Who is Scott Disick and why do we care? 

It’s a Kardashian world and we’re just living in it.  Thank you reality TV, you have re- shaped our pop culture.  God help our children.  What say you, email me at www.randiccrawford.com?