Accountability

Ashawnty Davis

Five days ago, a ten year old fifth grader named Ashawnty Davis from Colorado committed suicide after a fight she was in was posted to a social media website. Her parents are understandably devastated and distraught, and they and a cadre of sympathizers are calling for accountability. As I read post after post about this situation, I begin to worry about how the word accountability is being used and what holding involved parties ‘accountable’ looks like.  Continue reading Accountability

Discipline?

Ah discipline. It’s a slippery slope that discipline stuff. What does it mean? Punishing bad behavior? Teaching kids how to behave within the society they live in?  My own personal thoughts and views on discipline have changed as I have matured, times have changed, and societal norms have also. For instance I used to use corporal punishment for bad behavior and although I sometimes felt guilty, thought I was justified in doing so. But as I got older I felt as though it just wasn’t an effective way to teach the lesson I was trying to get across and honestly, it was the path of least resistance. It takes a hell of a lot more energy and for some, inhuman patience to come up with a creative way to discipline in the face of bad behavior than it does to swat or smack your kid. Because ultimately discipline is how we control ourselves when we get the urge to do something that might not be good for us. Continue reading Discipline?

Network News, 2017

So way back when (in 2012) when the Khevster was 7 years old, I had written this article about how letting young kids watch the news was probably more detrimental than not. It was a good article and it was lost, along with many others when my first domain went down. It talked about how young children didn’t have the maturity to put lots of news about crimes in perspective and how we as parents needed to protect them from the stress that caused. Continue reading Network News, 2017

Chore Controversy

Yeah, the title right? I was surfing through FaceBook when a video popped up form Attn:Video that featured a mom sharing pictures of her young son doing chores. What really caught my eye was that some how, the fact that her kid was doing chores was causing a controversy among parents.  I had to click on the video and read through some of the comments because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the controversy could be. Then I got to the parents who were calling this mom lazy and saying things like child labor is illegal, clean your house yourself, you’re a terrible mom for forcing your child to work, etc. I was flabbergasted, but now at least when I come across 20 somethings who can’t boil a fucking egg or don’t know how to sort laundry, it all makes sense.

 

They had parents who did everything for them, because having your child pitch in to keep the place where they live clean is a form of abuse. Having them help wash the clothing that they wear and you the parents buy, is such a mean thing. I mean, surely these super-parents intend to do their children’s laundry until they’re too old to lift a laundry basket.  Without chores, how the hell do you teach kids how to take care of themselves as adults? Did this many people in America really get raised without doing any chores? I find that fascinating and disturbing. I had no idea such a huge segment of the population is either able to hire someone else to do regular household chores for them, or just don’t believe there’s any value in having children work around their homes. I mean they live there too, will they expect to just take over every task that their parents ever did for them upon getting their own place? What kind of characters do people have when they can throw dirty clothes on the floor and never have to pick them up themselves? I guess I have more questions than answers in this article. All of my sons had chores and now as adults, well, they do their part. My oldest has a family and he works full time outside of his home and then comes home and takes his turn at cooking dinner and cleaning up. It’s how he was raised, everyone taking turns and doing their part in a household. Because who wants a man that never lifts a finger, or a child for that matter, making mom a slave to their messy whims? To say that I don’t understand the parents who have a problem with chores is an understatement. A chore completely by a child gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride knowing that they are an active, caring member of a family that helps each other to live in a (semi) clean environment. It shows them just how much work it takes to maintain a home and a family and gives them some appreciation for the amount of work that their parents are doing for their happiness. Aren’t internet trolls enough proof that bratty, entitled, clueless kids can ultimately become shithead adults?

 

How Much Does Feeding A Family Cost?!

I sign up for websites all the time that have recipes and kitchen tips and the like for a couple of reasons: I like new recipe ideas and I like to see how the other half lives. What do I mean? Well for instance, today in one of my daily email newsletters, there is an article called, “How A Family of 2 Eats for $100 A Week In Boston MA”. Although the title was enough to discourage me from reading it, the description hinting at the fact that these people cook most of their meals from scratch was enough to cement the deal. Maybe because of where and how I grew up, this title worthy, amazing feat just doesn’t impress me because I can feed a family of 4 for that same hundred dollars. This OF COURSE requires cooking from scratch… where have I been, do people just not do that anymore? Do they not eat bread or sandwiches? What kind of salaries are they working with? What are they buying, organic leaks and shit from Whole Foods? (Caveat: I went into Whole Foods for the first time last week, and it was truly impressive. I was looking for a spice that one of my new, bourgie recipes required that I just couldn’t find in the hood or Target. They had it along with all types of stuff I didn’t know existed and surely wouldn’t bother with. I left with my overpriced spice and that was it.)

Do people’s kids not eat food? I mean I know a kid who doesn’t but he and his mother surely eat less than a hundred dollars worth of food per week, so it may not even apply. Is it just me or do people not buy bags of rice and other relatively inexpensive starches and fresh veggies, a couple packs of meat and make it work? Are we the only family re-purposing leftovers into other dinners and lunches? Is this a problem and could people use an example of a $100 grocery list? I’m feeling some what removed from modern life all of a sudden and now I’m going to list a week’s worth of food and meals just because fuck it, it’s a thing I guess, other websites do it. Oh and do I really need to say that if you’re a vegetarian or vegan this obviously doesn’t apply to you? Nah, my readers aren’t idiots. Most of the dry goods on my list are from Target because they’re the cheapest. For my fresh veggies I usually do Stop and Shop (because of its proximity to my Target) or a neighborhood supermarket, depending on what’s on sale that week. I also buy cheese and lunch meat from my neighborhood store by the pound because it’s convenient.

3 lbs chopped beef: $8.99

Family Pack of chicken breasts (6 large skinless): $11.99

Two 1lb bags of brown rice: $1.98

6 large sweet potatoes: about $5

1lb box of Pasta (pick your fave): $1.42

Rotisserie chicken: $4.99

Taco Kit: $4.19

Two 32 oz Vegetable broth: $1.94 each

10 Count Mission Tortillas: $2.69

18 count large eggs: $2.79

24 count Eggo Waffles: $6.99

1lb jar of Salsa: $2.69

3lb bag of small red potatoes: $2.99

Can of corn: $.79

Head of broccoli: $1.79

String beans: $2.09 (I don’t know what size, I just buy whatever size it is my store has, usually good for at least 2 dinners, sometimes 3.)

8oz bag of shredded cheddar: $2.79

6 count bag of bagels: $2.99

64 oz Tropicana orange juice: $7.99

1/2 gallon of 2% milk: $3.79

loaf of sliced, packaged, honey whole wheat bread: $2.79

2 loaves of Italian bread (not sliced): $3.58

Jar of pasta sauce: $2.19

2 bags of tortilla chips: $6

Bunch of asparagus: $2.50

Bag of spinach: $2.49

$3 worth of sliced American cheese and $7 worth of sliced lunch meats like roast beef, honey turkey, etc.

Ok, I went over by a dollar, but does this seem like a lot of food for $100 or not very much to you? I can make 2 separate dinners with that rotisserie chicken, the first one would consist of pieces of chicken with mashed potatoes (the little red ones, no need to peel, take about 20 minutes to boil and a few more to mash with a little butter, milk, salt & pepper) and string beans. The second would be cutting every last piece of meat off the carcass and throwing it into a pot and making tortilla soup. (Let me know if you want that recipe, talk about quick and easy!)

The 3 pounds of chopped meat would easily make 3 dinners, for example: the tacos, over-stuffed nachos, and meat sauce for the pasta. The chicken breasts are also good for at least 3 meals. I have a grill pan I love and will stand and grill chicken breasts for an hour, then eat them with various sides, or cut up in sandwiches or salad. My grilled-chicken salad is legendary among my sons and their friends and would just require swapping a bag of salad for the asparagus in my list and some feta instead of a bag of mozzarella. None of the meals require anything to be fried, and all dinners come with a heaping serving of veggies that probably represent 2 servings in the daily servings of veggies. Not to mention a liberal sprinkling of veggies in omelets or spinach on sandwiches for lunch. I’m like everyone in that I buy things like rice and potatoes in quantities that will last me for over a week and when I cook them, I often make a larger number of servings than I need for one meal, so that they can be put in the fridge and used in other meals. Sometimes when we have leftover taco meat, and leftover rice, I will have a Chipotle burrito night, where I warm it all up, set it out in bowls along with bowls of cheese and beans and corn and everyone will build their own burrito. Honestly, my weekly food budget is probably closer to $150 at this point than $100, but with a little planning and forethought, $100-$125 a week is doable for more than just two people if you are going to cut up your own veggies, and make the food from scratch, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand in the kitchen cooking for an hour a night. And let’s face it, in a family of four even during a summer break, it’s rare that every person is eating all of their meals and snacks at home anyway. And before you ask about snacks and fruit, yes, I do buy them too (I’m certainly not buying a 24 count box of waffles every week!) How big is your family, what do you spend on food in a normal week?

 

 

 

Eclipse Excitement

Did all my readers enjoy the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st 2017? There was certainly enough hype leading up to it that it had to live up to. Now granted, we live in NYC, so the most we saw here was about 73% eclipse. It didn’t get dark and nothing especially spooky or exciting happened, but that’s ok, we New Yorkers had a blast anyway. I work across the street from the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center Memorial, which most times is a curse. But not on eclipse day. My coworkers and I spilled onto the sidewalk and there were literally hundreds of people out there from all over the world, chatting excitedly, looking up and pointing and having an overall good time, a true party atmosphere. No eclipse glasses? No problem,they were being passed jovially from person to person so everyone could get a glimpse. The only thing missing was food and music.

My son was in Brooklyn and was enjoying his glasses, and the ability to look directly at the sun and not see just a blazing disk of light. He described being able to see features on the moon and the crescent shaped sun and obviously the fact that we hadn’t experienced totality had no negative bearing on the fun experience of an eclipse. I hope where ever you were, you enjoyed it as much as we did.

New Feature – Subway Chronicles

I’ve decided to start my own hashtag. Well, it might already have been thought of and be a thing but I didn’t check or do any research because I don’t care. It popped into my head this morning and I’m just going to run with it. I have been riding the New York City subways since I was a 14 year old high school freshman. I’ve been robbed on the train, assaulted, followed, fainted, fought, you name it, it’s happened. The thing is, it’s still happening. Just about every single day, there’s some human related incident that happens on my commute. So I’m starting a feature on Urban Mommys FaceBook page called Subway Chronicles ( #subwaychronicles). Because mentally ill homeless people, recession and whatever else is happening in New York City right now. Check out my page: https://www.facebook.com/urbanmommys/?ref=settings

Enjoy!