The Issue of Self-Image for Girls

Things Boys Should Know About a Girl’s Body Image

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One of my daughters was the recent target of a bully. Dealing with bullies is one of those tough things that all kids have to work through, though it can be a major challenge for even the most confident individual. In my daughter’s case, this person used one of those horrid words to describe my little girl and it hurt her deeply.

As a mother, I immediately wanted to comfort my daughter and reassure her that everything would be ok. At the same moment, I wanted the little brat that hurt my girl to pay.

While my actions may be limited to a phone call to the school or a visit to the boy’s parents and a lot of comforting words for my crying child, I can still make this sad moment a lesson capable of improving the future for my children. What I realized was that this was the perfect moment to teach my own son about girls.

I think it is entirely appropriate for me to begin by saying that a woman’s self-image can be a very delicate subject. So much emphasis is put on physical beauty that anyone who looks a bit off can become an instant target for all the bullies of the world. And this doesn’t just apply to all the kids who are still going through those awkward growth spurts and that dreaded puberty. It applies just as much to adults too.

As a woman, we compare ourselves to others every time we look in the mirror. Sadly, many of us are never quite happy or satisfied with what we see staring back at us.

This is a list I have created to share with my son as we teach him how to become a gentleman who always treats women with respect.

  1. Words hurt

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.” There has never been a more untrue phrase than this. I can’t stress how deeply words can wound another person. Just as words can lift a person up, they can easily tear them back down.

  1. Magazines and pictures don’t truly depict real women.

Whenever I look at pictures of celebrities from the 1960’s, I am struck by how different they appear compared with the celebrities today. Celebrities today all fit into a near cookie cutter image of one another. Everyone is a size two with perfect hair and incredible makeup. This is not real life. Women come in all different shapes and sizes. The celebrities of years gone by showcased a wide range of differences, and that is what made many of them into celebrities. It is our differences that make us special and unique. We forget that at times.

  1. Image matters

It is easy to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that is just untrue.   If hurtful words are said in front of others, embarrassment almost follows.   Self-esteem impacts every portion of a person’s life and hurtful words can damage a person’s confidence in ways that can last long into the future.

  1. Being a Gentleman is Important!

Teaching your son to be gentleman around women is one of the most valuable lessons they should learn, no matter their age! My son has several older sisters and a mama who all expect him to be a gentleman at all times of the day. Even at his young age, he knows the importance of this. Respect is something that everyone deserves.

These are just a couple small areas of emphasis I will continue to place on my son as he gets older. The list will probably become larger as my daughters are exposed to the hurt of others.  Simple common decency can go along way in life whether you are a male or female. Showing other people respect is never bad advice and something we all should strive to teach our children.

I would love to hear if you can expand on this list.  Be sure to comment below if you have something you feel a boy should know about how girls perceive themselves.

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Book Review # 3

The Mountain Story

Lori Lansens

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The Mountain Story is one of my all time favorite books. Told in alternating time periods by the narrator who is also the protagonist of this novel: Wolf is a young man determined to end his life. The book begins as a letter to Wolf’s now grown son as Wolf tells him that he has a story to tell; one he has not yet shared with his own wife. Moving back in time eighteen years from the letter, Wolf is a young man on the cusp of adult hood but is consumed with guilt from an accident that takes his best friend Byrd, from everyone who loves him. The guilt that consumes Wolf along with the family dysfunction that over runs him, forces him up to the mountain to end his life.

The story begins to unfold when his path crosses with three very different women.   Wolf comes face to face with these women that will ultimately change his life. The women all know one another but their true relationships are revealed little by little throughout the first couple chapters of this book, keeping the reader engaged. As the foursome become desperately lost on the mountain, the wilderness soon takes its toll on them all as they are just trying to find their way home.

Given that this novel is not in the specific genre of mystery, it has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Without giving too much away, because the ending is one that left me awe struck at many different points, this book is worth the adventure it takes the reader on.

With the intricate weaving of past events from Wolf’s life that makes him the young man he was when his plan was to end his life on the mountain coincide with bits and pieces the three women share with him about their past life, the reader is given the big picture of how this book is brilliantly constructed.

Redemption is one of the themes I took away from the book. Here is the main character, Wolf; who most people had written off. However, I think that a person who has struggled with life in a way this character is portrayed can take advantage of knowing that second chances are real. Although this book is a work of fiction, it is inspirational in a world tied down by devastating news stories.

This is a heart-warming story of endurance and perseverance that hits right at the soul of anyone that has faced the most difficult circumstances. Always written in a fast pace voice, as the reader, I was always on the edge of my seat to as how this beautiful story would conclude.

Book Review

The Dinner                                                                                                                                                                                                          By Herman Koch

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Upon completion of The Dinner, I had to ask myself if my cultural differences interfered with my interpretation. To clarify, I felt the book was very well written, but the content made me shake my head at times. All in all, this book could make the most dysfunctional family look normal.

Let’s start from the beginning. The novel is set in Holland and follows Paul Lohman, the narrator of this novel. At first, you are given a picture of two brothers and their wives sitting down for dinner at a well-known upscale restaurant. It seems as ordinary as anything else in life for these brothers to enjoy a night out together. As you delve into the book, you see there are deeper issues with this family and the brother’s relationship.  Paul doesn’t seem as if he likes his brother too much. We have all been there. Family is given to us; we don’t choose them. It is natural to assume that in some cases we would never have selected them as friends if not related. The author taps into this issue.  However, that is family at the core. They are part of us, and because of that we put up with our family’s idiosyncrasies. The same is true as it is depicted within The Dinner.

In the beginning, we see Paul walking to the restaurant with his wife, Claire. As he narrates, he gives history that is important to the basis of the story, weaving the past with the present. His brother is the supposed shoe-in for prime minister of Holland and Paul sees everyone one fall at the feet of Serge Lohman. It is safe to say Paul doesn’t view his brother in the same light.

As the dinner progresses with Serge and his wife, Babette, we are introduced to both the couple’s children. It is further revealed through their conversations that the purpose of this dinner is to discuss a serious issue that involves their sons.

Beyond this point, too many spoilers would be exposed.  Needless to say, this story numbs the very fiber of one’s moral being. We are left with the simple question, “What the hell?”

As previously mentioned, I wondered at first if my shock over the story was due to a cultural difference, since the writer is from Holland. It might be akin to when those not from the United States looks at us Americans and say, “Ah, that’s those Yankee’s for you…”

After careful consideration and reflecting on other reader’s reactions to this book, I don’t particularly think that culture was the deciding factor in the decline of the characters’ judgments. This book taps into the very nature of human beings and the harsh reality that some people are just not good.  When concessions are made in order to cover up bad choices, it can lead to a series of regretful decisions, as shown in this book.

As far as the novel itself, I felt it was masterfully crafted and engaging. This story is fast paced and I couldn’t wait to find out how it had concluded. In the end, although it was upsetting, this story showed the reality of the sometimes very ugly human spirit.

**All book reviews can be found on the book review tab on thismamawritesandreads.com for easier navigation

My Love For Amazon

A Simple Tool I Use

I am here to confess that I have an obsession with Amazon. Everything started five years ago with unexpected news that our fourth child was on his way. Given that I thought our family was already completed with our three girls, we had already given everything baby related away.

I initially started a list on Amazon to help get my thoughts straight and to keep everything organized. I soon realized how simple Amazon made the whole process. Back then I was not a prime member (oh-the horror), and instead opted to get my items shipped free of charge by waiting an extended time. The normal wait time was usually a week or sometimes two. I was only six months pregnant at that point and had the patience to wait out the time for my Amazon gratification.

Then when Mister Monster was a year old, I started using Amazon to do my Christmas shopping. I used the same process as before and kept detailed lists that were organized and easy to understand. During this time, I was heavily involved in my master’s program while also doing my very best to raise our four children. I just didn’t have the time to navigate the stores. Oh, it was heaven being able to utilize Amazon in that way.

A week before my nephew’s birthday, I was on a search for something very specific. Two of his greatest loves were the Seattle Seahawks (this was the year they won the Super Bowl) and zombies. Thanks to Amazon, I found a Seattle Seahawks Zombie figurine and just knew it would be a huge hit. It is hard enough to find a gift for a fourteen-year-old boy, but I had done it! The trouble with this purchase was that the standard wait time would get him his gift well after his birthday. A little research showed me that signing up for Amazon Prime would ensure his gift was delivered in time while I still received my cool aunt props.

I signed up for Amazon Prime’s free thirty day trial with the intention of canceling it after that time had elapsed. Needless to say, I never parted from Amazon Prime and we have been best friends ever since. While I was already a tremendous fan of Amazon, the Prime option changed the game completely! In essence, I have my nephew and a zombie figurine to thank for my continued love for Amazon.

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But let me clarify, ninety-eight percent of what I buy on Amazon is stuff I would generally go to Wal-Mart and search the aisles for. This helps me to save time and money. If my kids get a birthday invitation, I am the first to text the mom (I love technology for those sort of things) and find out what the birthday boy or girl may like. I log onto Amazon (though for us Amazon savvy people, we have the app on our phone) and sit with my child and together we pick out the perfect present. Best of all is that it is delivered in two days. This also leaves me free from having to pack up my crew and brave the stores with everyone in toe, and that in itself is worth the Amazon Prime payment.

What are the things I buy most often from Amazon? It would be easier to answer what I don’t buy. Here are my essentials that I shop for most often:

  1. Presents

I shop for nearly every present for all occasions on Amazon. You can really find some great gems on there. With Amazon Prime, I ship directly to the person if they are out of state. At first I thought it was impersonal to do this, but I do take my time to really select the right present for each person. In the end, they are getting their gift hand delivered to them. I call that a win/win for everyone!

  1. Clothes

The fact that I can consistently find some great quality clothes that I happen to love on Amazon is huge. They have about every style out there, and they are of amazing quality. Jeans are my go to item for this site.  Also, I can’t forget the three other females that reside in my house with the same love for clothes as their mother.

  1. Shoes

Again, I have girls. They each love their shoes as much as any other female. Thankfully, Amazon makes it easy. Returns are easy and the styles and sizes available there outmatch anything in this area.

  1. Health and Beauty Items

This is a necessity with the amount of estrogen in our house.   Shampoo and conditioner are items we go through quite often. It is an easy order to place when we are in need. If I run out of eyeliner or something else and don’t want to trek to the store with kids, I can place an order instantly.

  1. Small appliances.

I presently need a new toaster and have it in my cart, along with other items that fall in this category. I can review all similar items with the reviews and make an educated choice. It is just that simple.

  1. Amazon Prime Pantry

When we lived a good thirty minutes from a Wal-Mart, I used it for essential pantry items like rice, pasta, tuna fish and any other needed items that don’t have to be refrigerated.

  1. Books

I am an avid reader. Need I say more?

  1. Kindle Unlimited

I have access to more books with this program than I could ever hope to read. Considering the price of buying paperbacks, the $10 I spend on this makes it a real bargain. Not all books fall in this category but it is nice to have this option anyway.

We have the Alexa and several Kindles. We have bought televisions, radios, and pretty much anything else we may have a need for. Again, we can purchase it on line after looking at the reviews and make a better decision without the clatter of little voices distracting us in the store.

  1. House Décor

For some reason, I thought white dining room chairs were a great idea. Anyway, over the years, you can imagine what they look like now. I finally decided enough was enough and bought nice sturdy red metal chairs. They are stylish and easy to wipe off. I have also gotten throw pillows, comforters, pictures, seasonal décor, outdoor furniture, and the list goes on. I am always able to find different items that you wouldn’t find in the store.

  1. Purses

I have this mentality about purses. I love them, but I don’t want to be stuck with one forever because I paid so much for it. I find that I date my purses but I never want to marry them. (With Coach or Kate Spade, I would be married to that purse for ten years). I found a couple brands of purses on the site and when I’m ready to break up with a purse, I can go to my old trusted brands and start dating another purse again.

  1. Jewelry

I am an earring wearing woman. I love them and can always find great deals on them. They may not always be a Prime item but I can wait a couple weeks for a good deal.

The choice of items available on Amazon is so diverse and I find that I get a lot of compliments on the pieces I buy. Anyone who knows me understands that when they ask me where I got it, nine times out of ten I will say Amazon.

Now, there are some pretty funny Amazon stories that have cracked people up throughout the years. I am known for buying an item and being surprised by its size when it comes in and I swear to my husband, “I looked at the measurements and in my mind it was larger.”

There was the time my son, only two years old, grabbed my phone and clicked on my Amazon app without me knowing. Two days later, I had a new bra delivered to my doorstep! I was stumped at first as to how that had happened until I remembered him having my phone. My husband came home that day and laughed, “Sure, he accidently bought you a bra. Why couldn’t he have accidently bought me a Play Station 4?”

A few times, I’d forgotten to change the address on my shipment. One day I received a weird call from a friend asking, “Did you mean to send me dining room chairs?”

Then just recently, I received a text from my bank that a large deduction was taken out of my account from Amazon and I thought to myself, what did I do? Looking at my orders, I realized I bought a red couch, something the hubs would have hated. I was able to cancel the order before it landed on my porch, which was a good thing. I am pretty sure if the hubs came home to find a red couch, he would have rescinded my Amazon Prime membership immediately. But in all seriousness, Amazon truly is a godsend for this busy mama.