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

Fame




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?

February 26, 2015

Lessons from my dad


Have your parents ever given you really good advice?  Have they helped you to be a better parent by telling stories that your kids could relate to?  I recently had one of those experiences. My son had lacrosse tryouts, and he is uber focused (Uber – my next rant different context), on perfection.  The pressure he puts on himself to be great, is unrealistic and unhealthy.  His mind starts wandering to all of the possible scenarios that could take place, instead of focusing on the goal, which is to make the team.  I was trying to find a way to explain to him that his attitude will make or break him.  I told him to clean out all of the “junk” in his brain and hit “the reset button”, like he does in the video game, Call of Duty (fine, another rant).  I was unsuccessful in my method.

The next day I was on the phone with my father when told me a story that put it all into perspective.  When he was in high school, he played football in a “working man’s” town in Boston, where the big event each weekend was going to watch the high school football game.  The stadium was always packed, because football was the only thing to do.  Basically, if you played football, you were “the man”.  And if you hung around town, its all people were talking about.

One Friday, his team was playing their rival and it was a tie.  It was the end of the game and the running back for the other team had blown by the entire defense on my father’s team. The only thing standing in between winning or losing the game, was my father’s ability to take down the running back (he played safety).  This isn’t Hollywood and he wasn’t the hero.  The running back blew past my dad who lost the tackle, and his team lost the game.  He had let down the entire town, his team and his coach. And the worst part (according to my father), was that the team would be watching film later that week, and going over that play, again and again.  His anxiety for film night, and re-living that moment, felt like someone repeatedly stabbing him in the heart.

But on film night, his coach got to the infamous play, paused the film, and said this to my father: “Ed, it’s not what God does, but what you ask of Him that will determine your course in life.  You can look at that running back and say please God, send him the other direction and I’ll be there to support whoever else has to make the tackle, or you can say, please God, send him directly to me because I’m going to take him down and win this game”.  And then, just like that, the coach moved onto the next play.  According to my father, it was the most significant advice that anyone had ever given him in his life.   “It’s not what God does, but what we ask of Him”.   My interpretation is that you can look at any situation, like this weekend’s tryouts, and think of about 100 reasons why you wont’ make the team.  You start going over the odds, you name all of the kids that are better than you or have been playing longer, it’s an early tryout and you’ll be tired, the weather stinks, and the list goes on.  Or you can ask God to “Bring it” because you’re going to beast mode this tryout and scare the heck out of every kid there.

As a parent, we constantly look for ways to make life easier for our kids.  I think there’s a term for it, where you knock down barriers before your kid ever has to experience them.  Maybe it’s a bulldozer parent?  I told my son this story before his tryout, and I think it clicked.  Instead of asking God for my son to make the team, I will ask God to help my son have the courage to know what to ask for.  Did he clear the “junk” and ask God to bring it?  Who knows?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this parenting job is no joke.

Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.


February 10, 2015

I just don't get it...


I’m not going to write about #deflategate after the fact, because that’s yesterday’s news.  But I’m compelled to write this article.  My husband has the strongest set of values of anyone I’ve ever known.  I’m certain, that if I did something illegal, he’d be the first person to report me to the police.  He’s just “that guy”.  For fairness purposes, you should also know that his favorite NFL team is the Patriots.  It’s a toss up between the Pats, the Celtics and the Red Sox, but let’s just say he drinks the Boston kool-aid.  The last part of this puzzle is that I’ve never liked the Patriots.  And more specifically, I’m not a fan of Tom Brady.  Needless to say, it doesn’t make for pleasant dinner conversation.

When “#deflategate” went down, I didn’t rub it in his face, but I did ask him about it.  I didn’t get much of a response and didn’t push.  I waited a few weeks, did my own research, and then cycled back around.  It took two whole weeks for my husband to actually say the words out loud, “I think Tom Brady and Bill Belichick knew about the balls.  Nothing happens on that team that Belichick doesn’t know about”.  I almost passed out.  For him to admit that his team did anything wrong is nothing short of a miracle.  Naturally I asked what their punishment should be and this is where “I just don’t get it”.  My husband, with his unbreakable values, doesn’t think it was a big deal.   To quote him, “The punishment needs to fit the crime”.  And in his mind, the Pats crushed the Colts and would have done it with or without deflated balls.  Hmmm.  You see to me, they cheated. And while I know that it’s incredibly naïve to think that the Colts should move up and play in the Super Bowl, I simply can’t understand how my husband, and frankly all the Pats fans, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that they deflated the balls which makes it easier to catch and throw the ball, period.  I realize that the Patriots didn’t need deflated balls to win the game, so why did they do it?  I know that nobody has stepped forward and admitted to deflating the balls, but you’d have to be pretty naïve to think that 11 out of 12 balls just mysteriously deflated on their own?  And more importantly, why are there no consequence?  As parents, we use sports to teach life lessons, so can someone tell me what is this lesson?

During our conversation about it, he brought up “George Brett’s corked bat” that Gaylord Perry took away from a Royals game against the Yankees, and the steroid controversy with the baseball players.  Does this make it right?  He argued that the NFL is a business and that they were probably elated to have the Pats playing with their huge fan base.  Who is this guy? 

I’m curious.  Do you believe that professional athletes have a responsibility to the people who pay to come see them?  Remember the infamous Nike ad, “I am not a role model.  I am not paid to be a role model.  I’m paid to wreak havoc on the court.  Parents should be role models.  Just because I dunk a basketball, doesn’t mean that I should raise your kids”.

I knew that ad never felt right, but after having kids of my own, I’m blown away.  Kids look up to athletes on and off the “court/field”.  We watch “our teams” play every week; we buy tickets to go to the games, purchase jerseys and the shoes the athlete supports.  I haven’t even mentioned the video games we buy (Madden, NBA, Fifa, etc.), and we sign up our own kids to play these sports.  It’s safe to say that sports are a huge part of our culture and a phenomenal way to teach our kids values, sportsmanship, and how to be a good competitor.  So when the Pats deflate 11 out of 12 balls, what are we saying to our kids about winning? 

What say you? Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.