Monday, November 22, 2010

Coffee, and a Little advice from Bitchy.

This is sponsored content from
BlogHer and LG Text Ed

I’m here today with Bitchy, our 21 year-old college junior, who is probably the technologically savvy member of our household.

“And prettiest.”

Yes, well, as you can see is not shy about sharing her thoughts and opinions, and we will be talking about texting, sexting and other issues that might come up.

“Ewww, mother. Try NOT to say that word in my presence The sex word.”

“So, Bitchy, is the cell phone used for evil purposes in college, or by people you know? Do people send horrible pictures or terrorize each other?”

“No! At least not anyone I know. I use my phone to stay in touch with my friends, and all that, but I also use it to go online and check homework, and stuff like that. I don’t give out my number to everyone, so anyone who HAS my number wouldn’t be rude, or anything like that. And I need some money.”

“We’re trying to find out what the hazards are when you have a phone, and how you can protect yourself against dangerous or bad situations.”

“A cell phone, really, is more about keeping you safe. My friends always know where I am, and thanks to my annoying MOTHER, so does my family. So, I really think that it’s so much more about you knowing where I am, than worrying about someone sending me a nasty text. I think maybe online stuff like Skype is probably a more likely way for someone to get themselves in trouble. You have to be careful WHO you Skype with. It has to be someone you trust.”

“But how can parents help their younger kids, kids not as brilliant and as perfect as you – be safe?”

That’s easy. Never, never give your number to anyone who is questionable, never - never send any stupid pictures of yourself to ANYONE, even if they say they will not show ANYONE. People lie. And just be smart. If something doesn’t feel right, then it ISN’T right. And I still need money.”

And so you have it -be smart, and FOLLOW your gut.

Have you had a conversation with your kids (or nephews/nieces, grandchildren) about texting, sexting and safety? BlogHer is matching LG’s donation of .50 to for every comment on this post, so please tell me about your conversation with your kids in the comments. Or if you haven’t had the conversation yet, what’s holding you back? Maybe another reader will have the perfect suggestion for how you can get your conversation going. It’s important for all our families, and will get a $1.00 for every comment, question or suggestion.

And my personal advice from the mother of three texting children to other mothers and fathers? Talk ALL the time. Talk, talk, talk, until you can’t talk no more. Something is BOUND to sink in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

We are ALWAYS ready for some football...

This is a sponsored post by BlogHer and P&G.

I was watching the kids attempt to play a game of football one afternoon at recess. Anyone who has been around five year olds KNOWS that an organized game of ANY kind is typically out of the question.

At some point during the hysterical “chase whoever picks up the ball” game, one young boy ran up to me and stood panting. Finally, after catching his breath, he asked, “Mrs. Smythe, WHY do they call it football when we use our HANDS?”

I shared this story that Sunday, during our Sunday football marathon, and got to wear the “Official Football Necklace” for the duration of the day. This, my friends, was quite an honor.

The Necklace was purchased at a Flea Market in New England- a gargantuan, sparkly, gaudy, coveted necklace worn only by the winner of the “best true story” contest.

The contest, in which each family member brings the funniest story to football Sunday, determines who wears the good luck necklace. It has, for years and years, brought incredible luck to the bearer of the necklace and the team that this person supports.

For me? There is NO question- the Philadelphia Eagles. I have been a loyal fan since I was old enough to understand what football WAS. I would spend time at my father’s feet and listen as he spoke of his favorite team.

As the years went by, I can to watch and admire the coaching of Dick Vermeil, and thus an Eagle Fan For Life was borne.

Here’s a great opportunity to get some great prizes from one of the NFL’s sponsors, Procter & Gamble. Check out their “Take it to the House” program and photo contest, where prizes include a $10,000 community donation to support NFL PLAY 60 and an at-home visit from a local NFL legend! One lucky Grand Prize Winner will even win a trip to the 2011 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Show us how you and your football family bring NFL game day to life at home at (click on the contest tab)!

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Also, please be sure to check out the rest of the football fanatics over here!

And now, as I wear the necklace and watch them play their hearts out on Sundays I not only cheer for those playing on the field, but those who have played before.

And if I ever get the chance to speak to ANY of those strong and talented men, I would ask them the same question that Jack asked me.

“Why DO we call it football?”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to the dark side, my friends; where Texting is King.

This is sponsored content from
BlogHer and LG Text Ed

I’ve spent the last three years of my parenting job communicating primarily through text messages.

Now, don’t you go and judge me people, until you’ve walked with my cell phone in your pocket.

While I scoffed, scorned and rolled my eyes at the parents who handed cell phones to their children in preschool, I have since fried up those thoughts and served them to myself for dinner.


I’ve crossed over.

When you are the parent of a teenage who has successfully convinced themselves that they are “adults”, it’s either jump in the pool with them, or watch them swim away alone. I chose to swim.

This joining of the dark side has proven very, very worthwhile. I am riddled with text messages while at work, while running errands, cleaning house, making dinner and laying in bed with a good book. Is it a bother? Absolutely not. I am thankful beyond measure that my teenage children are communicating with me.

They share details about where they are; who they are with; items they need from the store; and other useless information that I may or may not ignore. I offer you Exhibit A from Bitchy, who is currently a junior at a well known Big Ten University on the East Coast.

Exhibit A: (A random sampling of several texts I’ve received in the last two weeks.)
1. People who walk faster live longer.
2. Chips are not a food group.
3. I need my “allergy medicine” picked up.
4. Why won’t you pick up the phone. I need to go to the mall.
5. You can’t possibly lose weight after 50. Give up.

While I laugh out loud at most of the messages, as a parent I am always on edge about the dangerous possibilities when your children have phones; especially ones that connect to the internet. What can we do to ensure their safety? How do we know, in our hearts, that they will make smart choices?

We don’t. However, we have to let go and trust that the lessons they’ve learned while in our care will guide their hearts when they are forced to make choices.

I am going to take this opportunity to interview my children - Bitchy (21 and a junior in college), Sassy (18 and a freshman in college) and The Golden Boy. He’s 12, has his first phone and is texting everyone and their brother; whether he knows them or not.

Do you have questions I should ask? I would LOVE your thoughts and suggestions, and will answer them in my next post.

Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer really wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting and safety going – both with our kids and among parents. It will match LG’s donation of .50 to for every comment on this post, so please give me your suggestions on questions for my kids. will get a $1.00 for each and every one.

So, are we joining hands in our attempts to keep all young people safe in this technological world? Can we join the amazing Jane Lynch in her efforts in this regard??

I think we can.

So, for each comment, questions, suggestion I will do at LEAST one jumping jack. And perhaps a push-up or two. Go on - make my day.