A lie doesn’t become truth…

“A lie doesn’t become truth…wrong doesn’t become right…evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by the majority.”

About a month ago is when I first heard the allegations of bullying…assault…despicable behavior.

Once I confirmed everything with authorities, I blogged about it.  Posting that blog was like throwing a match on gasoline. But it needed to be done.

I removed the blog post out of respect for the victim…because apparently, he was being harassed YET AGAIN. I wondered how those people CONTINUED TO GET AWAY WITH THAT BEHAVIOR. But I digress…the last thing I wanted to do was hurt the victim.

I was sent a copy of an email that the Principal/Athletic Director/Superintendent of the school district sent out to teachers to read to their students.  It basically told students not to believe everything you read on social media…especially from a “blogger.”

For the record, I’m not a “blogger.” I’m an Emmy-award winning journalist who is now a full-time advocate to keep children SAFE. I just happen to have a blog. But I digress again because IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about a young victim. The things that allegedly happened. Those who knew. Those who did NOTHING. If you defend the behavior that is detailed in the criminal complaint than you are a disgrace.

Here is what we know from Sheriff’s Office: “The victim was held down against his will. The victim was not allowed to get up and the victim.” The alleged incident was captured on SnapChat and shared with authorities. See…we told you everything is PERMANENT on social media…even on SnapChat.

Some news outlets are posting the graphic nature of what happened…but I will not. That young person does not need to be re-victimized.

This is what I know from confirmed sources: the case has been moved twice so far because of conflicts of interest. Basically, the family of one of the juveniles involved, knows a lot of people.

I will not stop talking about this until justice is served…but I am asking a favor.

Please have mercy on the students at South Winn who knew nothing. Because of this terrible situation, there has been a lot of negativity attention surrounding the school. For many students…they were kept in the dark too. We need to make sure they are kept safe.

Please don’t share the graphic details of the case. Read them so you know just how severe they are…but don’t repost. The victim has suffered enough. We need to keep him safe.

Go to the upcoming school board meeting and demand answers.

Ask why the others involved are not being tried as adults.

Demand change.

Demand justice.

People KNEW.

They did NOTHING.

Connect the dots of those involved.

It’s quite the web.

 

Bring on the snow…

I was in front of the firing squad earlier when I said: I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SNOW!”

And the reason is a simple one: I get to clear my schedule.

Everything gets canceled.  Cue the confetti!! There are no meetings…no appointments…no practices…no games…no errands…nada.

The mom taxi stays parked in the garage and its driver spends the day in her traditional uniform of an old college sweatshirt and some baggy sweatpants. The only stress I have is the hour it takes to shove the kids into their snowsuits, gloves and hats only for them to come back in after 5 minutes with “I have to go to the bathroom” or “it’s too cold.” My favorite line in the past was “the snow is so wet!” Face-palm.

I’ll break it down to its simplest form: I want to be lazy. I don’t want anyone to have any expectations of me being anywhere other than my couch.

I am overscheduled. Plain and simple. Momma is hanging on by a thread here and it’s only the third week of the new year.

The snow makes it impossible for my Mom-mobile to leave the house…so I am finally able to spend quality time with the family. My oldest daughter already has a Harry Potter movie marathon planned while my son has challenged me to a tournament of Twister. My three-year-old is just excited to eat the snow. It’s the little things in life.

While I love the summer days at the pool…I am a sucker for fireplace weather with old school hot chocolate cooking on the stove, board games, snowball fights and movie marathons with every snack imaginable.

It’s a good time to unplug, unwind and reconnect.

And I have never been more thankful to be out of the TV news biz…because this “retired” anchor won’t get called into work.

ha

Stay safe everyone…if you need me, I’ll be on my couch.

xx

 

Necessary lesson…

“Mom! I forgot my sneakers!”

I started laughing because surely she was joking. I was 100% confident that my responsible child did not forget her basketball shoes she needed to play basketball. But there she stood in a pile of snow wearing her Adidas slides…you know the ones I suggested she not wear because of all of the snow but I was reassured that she “was fine.” I pick my battles.

But I could tell by the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face that she did, in fact, forget her basketball shoes.

I was not exactly a “happy” woman rushing 20 minutes in the snow back to our house to grab her sneakers. It was 1:15 and she had to be at the gym by 1:30. Because of this unplanned trip, she would just make tip-off at 2:00pm.  My daughter didn’t know it…but she was about to get a tough yet extremely necessary lesson in life.

She didn’t play in the first game.

Not a half.

Not a quarter.

Not a minute.

Not a second.

And I was giving the coach an internal standing ovation from the bleachers.

1:30.

That’s the time the entire team needed to be at the gym for a game. That was the rule.

My daughter didn’t follow the rules.

Plain and simple.

The coach wasn’t mean about it at all…she told Gia that she didn’t warm up enough and wasn’t ready to get on the court.  But in my head…I was secretly hoping she was benched for not following the rules.  Whatever the reason, I had the coach’s back on this one.

Someone, somewhere is going to send a nasty email about “failing my daughter…not supporting her…relishing in the fact she was upset…why didn’t you pack her bag?!” Oh an email or 18 are coming. (And by the way – my kids know this: if you’re old enough to play competitive sports, then you are old enough to pack your own bag.)

As a mom, of course I didn’t like seeing my daughter upset. No parent WANTS to see their child upset. But this was not something that HAPPENED to her. This is the direct consequence of her actions.

Here’s the thing: If I don’t teach my children to follow the rules…then I am failing them. When has rewarding bad behavior ever worked out?

Sure, she’s “only 10.” But one day she will be 30…and she can’t show up to a meeting 30 minutes late. If my kids don’t learn now…then when will they?

The coach’s move reminded me of old school youth sports. You remember? When we didn’t hand out participation trophies for just showing up…parents weren’t allowed at practices…you didn’t play if you weren’t at practice……those who worked harder played more…you were benched if you had bad grades. Oh I could go on and on about the glory days.

I want my children to build good habits. Be on time…always do your homework…keep your word…share…listen well…treat others with respect…have manners…treat everyone equally…be honest…show gratitude…work hard…be patient…don’t judge others.

Habits change into character.

That’s why I love sports…

Sports don’t build character…they reveal it.

“I will never forget my shoes again.”

Lesson learned.

xx

 

 

 

 

 

Can. We. Stop.

Comment sections on social media can be two things: absolute gold or a migraine/high blood pressure inducing crap show.

Mine was the latter this morning at 6am this morning while I was scrolling through the comments on a blog I read. Long story short, the well-written and RELATABLE (for me)piece incited yet another Stay-at-home-mom vs working outside of the home mom war.

Cue the eye-roll.

And at 6am this morning I woke my entire house up by screaming: “OHHHH FOR GOD SAKES!!!”

Can we stop being one-uppers? You know exactly what I mean…it goes something like this: “By the time I go to work, I have already been up taking care of kids for three hours”…”Yeah, well I have been up for 7 hours and even though I don’t leave the house for work, I am still working”…”Yeah, well I am up for 24 hours straight with 3 kids who I homeschool and then I go to work at night.”

Can. We. Stop.

Let’s agree on one thing? Momming is hard.

Most days I am exhausted by the time I get to my office because, let’s be honest, the hour it takes to get the kiddos out of the door every morning is CHAOS. And I am sure it doesn’t matter if you work in or out of the home. “Please wake up, the bus is coming in 10 minutes…did you eat…I made you pancakes, you didn’t say you wanted cereal…please let me brush your hair…where are your shoes…what do you mean you didn’t do your homework, you said you didn’t have any…PLEASE WAKE UP…do not turn off Doc McStuffins, she was watching that…go brush your teeth…where are your socks…what do you mean you lost your hat…GET OUT OF BED NOW!!!!”

That’s just before 8.

I don’t share this because my day is so much busier than anyone else’s…I share it because maybe someone out there can relate and realize that we truly are in this tribe called motherhood together. I hope like he$$ someone has mornings like mine so I know it’s just not something I am doing wrong.

overwhelmed-mom

Someone once asked, “Why don’t you blog about what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom?” Well that’s simple…I can’t blog about what I don’t know. That doesn’t mean I don’t SUPPORT women who are stay-at-home moms. But if you want to know about my experiences showing up for meetings with baby puke on my shoulder or crushed Goldfish crackers stuck to my sweater…than I am your girl.

Listen — nobody needs to justify why they’re a stay-at-home mom. Nobody needs to justify why they’re a working-outside-of-the-home mom. Nobody needs to put their daily schedule out on Broadway to prove how much crazier their days are and how much they do.

YOU DO YOU.

You do what’s best for your family.

Can we be honest and just admit that we are all drivers of similar struggle buses? It’s hard being a mom who stays at home the entire day. It’s hard being a mom who has to leave the house for the entire day.

IT’S HARD and WE GET IT.

And we see you. All of you.

Let moms who work outside of the home VENT without stay-at-home moms getting offended…

Let stay-at-home moms VENT without working-outside-of-the-home moms getting offended…

Better yet…can we drop the titles all together??

We’re MOMS. Period.

And we’re all MOMMIN’ SO HARD.

xx

 

 

 

 

Who’s in their life?

Within hours of publishing my blog post about R. Kelly, I received this message:

“You’re disgusting. How could you ever be a fan of that ******* *******?!”

You’re right. I am ashamed that I listened to a pedophile’s music…which in turn, he made more money off of. In fact, I wrote THIS is that particular blog post:

{Look, I remember back in the day when the allegations first came to light. My ignorant response was: “Really? That doesn’t sound right. He wouldn’t do that…he doesn’t need to do that. He’s a successful and good-looking guy…people are just after his money.}

Yep. The younger me ASSumed that someone like R. Kelly would never do that because he had the looks…the money…the fame. He could have any older woman he wanted…why would he abuse young girls?

And THAT’S why pedophiles and predators continue to get away with that.  Because they’re the people we would LEAST SUSPECT.

There is no predatory look.

They don’t look scary.

They don’t drive the creepy white van with the window in the back.

They’re doctors.

They’re lawyers.

They’re teachers.

They’re coaches.

They’re stay-at-home parents.

They’re the favorite uncle.

They’re grandparents.

They’re salespeople.

They’re the sweet old couple who lives next door.

They go to church.

They’re the people standing next to you in the grocery store.

It could be anyone…but the thing is…it’s more than likely someone WE ALREADY KNOW who has a laser-focus on our children.

KNOW WHO IS IN YOUR CHILD’S LIFE.

It’s the people who claim to be there to help…who may be the ones there solely to hurt.

More than 150 sets of parents trusted that their gymnast daughters would be in good hands. Instead, Larry Nassar sexually abused those girls and presumably hundreds more for years.

Greg Stephen, a prominent AAU basketball coach right here in Iowa, is accused of sexually exploiting 400 boys. How many living rooms did he sit in talking to parents about how their sons would be “in good hands?”

Former PSU coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys for more than 15 years.

How many mugshots do we see on the news of teachers who were sexually abusing their students?

The list goes on and on…

What do they all have in common?

They all have EXTREMELY easy access to children.

They all have power.

Who’s teaching that class…who was at practice…do you know that woman on the bleachers…who was the man talking to you at the field…what kind of stuff did you talk about.

YOU BETTER BELIEVE I pepper my kids with all of those questions. Sure they look at me like I am a Stage-5 stalker…I’m worse. I am a mother.

I’ll stalk my children…and anyone who is around them in order to keep them safe.

We are their voice.

We are their advocate.

We are their SHIELD.

no-go-tell

 

 

 

 

 

Indict R. Kelly

For 25 years, my music playlist has stayed the same. Obviously, we have evolved from cassette tapes and CDs. And thankfully now I don’t have to hold the play and record buttons down on my boombox and wait for the DJ to stop talking so I can make a mixtape. But for more than two decades I have been loyal to my favorite artists: Tupac, Biggie & R. Kelly.

r kelly

Sunday night I sat at my kitchen table with a glass of wine in near tears as I deleted every single R. Kelly song on my playlist. The song that reminded me of the year I got my driver’s license. The song I blared out of my stereo in my dorm room freshman year. The song I sobbed to after a break-up. The song that had me on the dance floor when I turned 21. The song I turned to when I was feeling spiritual. Every song he wrote that would instantly take me back to a moment in my life.  For years, I listened to music that was made by an absolute monster…and quite honestly, it was hard for me to digest.

The Lifetime Channel recently aired a six-part series called “Surviving R. Kelly.” It detailed 30 years of abuse young girls and women suffered…abuse inflicted by one of the greatest entertainers of my generation.  And when I say young girls, I mean young. As young as 12.

Look, I remember back in the day when the allegations first came to light. My ignorant response was: “Really? That doesn’t sound right. He wouldn’t do that…he doesn’t need to do that. He’s a successful and good-looking guy…people are just after his money.”

Sadly, too may people shared that mindset for too many years.  But after watching six-hours of emotional confessions…I was sick to my stomach that I let someone’s talent overshadow their true character. I believed the image that was portrayed…and I have never been more wrong.

When something controversial like “Surviving R. Kelly” airs, social media becomes a hot-bed of couch critics. It was the responses that were leaving me stunned and speechless:

“Those girls were fast…did you see how they were dressed?”

“They knew what they were getting into.”

“Why would they ever talk to an older guy?”

“Where were the parents?”

“Where’s the proof?”

No. No. No.

We’re not going to put sexual abuse on a child.

We’re not going to put sexual assault on a woman.

Let me say it again louder for the people in the back: WE ARE NOT GOING TO PUT SEXUAL ABUSE ON A CHILD. WE ARE NOT GOING TO PUT SEXUAL ASSAULT ON A WOMAN.

By the way you want proof? He recorded every interaction. There are VIDEOS. Thousands of them. Videos of him having sex with young girls.

There is something TERRIBLY WRONG with our society when, at the time, a 37-year-old man is hanging out by a high school at 3pm to “pick up” girls.  Other adults thought it was odd at the time, but hey, he was famous. “It’s kinda cool to see him around.” Gross.

This same man would have his bodyguards hand-pick YOUNG GIRLS out of the audience at  his concerts. Those girls would be escorted backstage…then to his tour bus…then to his home.

His assistants and managers would funnel YOUNG GIRLS in and out of his home and studio at all hours of the day and night. YOUNG GIRLS.

R. Kelly is a PREDATOR and his fame, money and power made him unstoppable. For decades, he groomed star-struck young girls and abused them over and over.

The circle of people around him are just as guilty as he is. They continued to make the sick sexual abuse possible. But hey – he was the one signing the checks so let’s turn a blind-eye. They all knew what was happening. All of them.

As a former journalist, I should probably use words like “allegedly” or “reportedly” throughout this. After all, he hasn’t been convicted of anything. In 2002 he was found not guilty of child pornography charges…even though a video tape CLEARLY showed him and a very young girl. What he did on the tape is indescribable and beyond disgusting.

But watch the series…listen to the stories…and you’ll know. You will realize there is only one liar and that is the PREDATOR.

I stand with the victims. The countless victims. I’m tired of people constantly questioning and belittling the victims.

Hold the PREDATOR accountable.

There’s a nationwide, grassroots movement called #MuteRKelly that is trying to end his music career. That means no more concerts…no more streaming music…no more songs over the airwaves.

It’s a fantastic movement but we are missing the bigger picture…we need to INDICT ROBERT KELLY. He is a criminal.

So why should we care right? We don’t know R. Kelly…we have no connection to any of these victims, right? Wrong. EVERY child is our child. EVERY child needs our voice. Because let’s break it down, before the age of 18, one in five children will become the victim of sexual abuse. Think about that the next time you son or daughter has friends over. One in five.

If we allow him to get away with years of sexual abuse, what message are we sending our children?

Stop taking a predator’s word over a child’s.

 

 

Sometimes life gets in the way…

After gorging myself with every imaginable sugary treat and carb discovered in the western hemisphere, I wanted to send personal thank you notes out to every legging company out there. My note would start like this: “You make it possible for me to get dressed…”

Because let’s face it, anything with a button or zipper is not happening in the foreseeable future.

On New Year’s Eve I sat on my couch with a large glass of wine and a not-dessert-size plate full of the best Caramel Apple Crunch Pie I have ever had…seriously, heaven on a plate made by a wonderful local, in-home baker. As I justified that the wine was good for my heart health and the apples were the fruit I desperately needed…I vowed, what I vow every year…I WILL GET INTO SHAPE! I WILL GET HEALTHY! I WILL LOSE THE DARN BABY WEIGHT!

Then I rolled my eyes at myself…because I knew what was coming…and it came in the form of a text to my dear friend who runs the best dang gym there is:

“Meetings and tubal surgery for Aria will keep me from Roc this week.”

There it is in a nutshell. Life. Life sometimes gets in the way.

I’m so thankful that friend knows my schedule/lifestyle. She “gets me” and has always been 100% supportive. Because there are complete strangers on social media who will post things like: “NO excuses! You have to take care of yourself! It’s only an hour a day! You must not want it that bad!”

Ease up there folks.

There is no better feeling for me than when I get to go to the gym…put some boxing gloves on to hit stuff hard…grab weights to lift. It’s easily the best hour of the day.

NO. BETTER. FEELING.

But sometimes that hour is needed elsewhere.

Let me say this louder for the people in the back: Life gets in the way! Skeptical Sally will tell me I am making excuses…but ole’ Sally girl doesn’t lace up my shoes every morning.

Some days I have to put what’s best for me on the back-burner.  I think there are others moms who feel the same way.

“Go in the early morning then!” I will never be the one who carves out time to workout at 5:30 in the morning…because there is a really good chance I was up throughout the night with my three-year-old who doesn’t like to sleep in her twin bed alone. Yes, I spoon my three-year-old in a TWIN BED ALL NIGHT. I keep chiropractors in business.

“Go at night!” Negative ghost-rider. The Mom-Taxi light goes on top of my car and I am shuttling children all over the Cedar Valley and beyond.

So I have to find the “hour” that works best for me. There it is: WHAT WORKS BEST FOR ME.

I hope this year women everywhere ignore the comments or suggestions from people like Skeptical Sally and just do you. Repeat that out loud: YOU DO YOU.

Because at the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is coming from the reflection in the mirror. Period.

That reflection is my accountability partner…and trust me…she’s hard enough on me.

xx