Dear Mommy Bloggers: Parenting Doesn’t End at Four


Today I had an op/ed article published at Fox News. Heidi Klum bribes her kids to eat healthy food and I say good for her. I don’t happen to bribe my kids for making good food choices but I do pay for grades and on occasion I’ll dangle a few dollars overhead and exchange them for my keys if one of the kids can find them.

The comments have been interesting.




And downright weird too

fox news screen shot

Am I the only blogger on the planet with kids over the age of five? Does anyone recognize that children have free will, that they leave the house and buy things with money we’ve given them or that they’ve earned?

Also I love that folks are like, “I would NEVER pay my children for anything. If I want to discipline them I just take away their video games.” Listen, I don’t care what currency you use, if you’re giving or withholding things to or from your kids there’s a currency involved. Life is full of transactions. I pay for grades. Klum pays for smoothies. Y’all pay for something. Just admit it.

The Food Thing


I really wasn’t gone very long. I left Friday at midnight and was back to pick the kids up from school on Tuesday. I spent close to 48 hours on an airplane and the other 36 fully immersed in the Australian Rheumatology Association’s conference.

Now, when I say fully immersed what I really mean is that I spent a few hours having dinner with the team from AbbVie and Dr. Irwin Lim absorbing the subtle differences between American and Australian healthcare. It’s clear that, much like the US there is public and private healthcare. It seems though, that the difference in quality of care isn’t as disparate in Australia. To be fair I was sitting at a table with folks in pharma and medicine, they’re all working hard to provide care. When I wasn’t with the AbbVie team I was prepping for my talk or running along the river. Okay, jogging. Whatever, I was fast walking but I was totally moving. After flying half way around the world I really wanted to stay in motion. All that stillness in the air beats me up.

While I was gone Mr. G took the kids to Hooters and the Rolling Stones. My son slept through most of the Stones concert which I find to be totally inexplicable and my daughter liked the food at Hooters, which is easier to understand. There are chemists involved in those recipes, I’m sure it was delicious. Our friend was bummed that Mr. G missed taking the best picture of all, having Jane pose like she was filling out an application for employment. I will never be a good enough feminist to stop being overly protective of my own daughter.

The weekend is no big deal. Mr. G is perfectly capable of parenting and though he may miss me a bit, he’s perfectly capable of parenting solo. Monday and Tuesday mornings were probably a bit tricky. Our neighbor brought the kids to school and Monday afternoon my mom picked them up, hung out with everyone until Mr. G got home from work and then ordered everyone dinner from California Chicken Cafe, she brought a salad from home. The best part of having my mom pitch in is that when I came home there was a half empty bottle of Sangiovese and Mom’s homemade salad dressing to enjoy. Okay, the best part of coming home is obviously in the being home but at any age it’s really nice to have your mom take care of you and by taking care of my husband and kids she was taking care of me.

So as I rumbled around my kitchen this morning looking for something to defrost for dinner I found  this.

frozen pizza junk

Mr. G is obviously trying to kill the kids again. That man is too smart to be out in the world buying frankenfood like this. Now I have to go to the grocery store and return it. It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of principle. I’m unwilling to pay for that thing, whatever it is.

Of course I brought home good wholesome food for the kids.

kangaroo crocodile jerky

Shut up. I know…

While in the Virgin Australia lounges I stuffed a few of these in my purse for my Aussie friends here in the US.

vegemite solo packs

And as I was stealing food from Virgin Atlantic I smiled and thought about how our food ties us to each other, to our families, and to our countries. It’s good to be home. It’s really great finding my mom’s salad dressing in my refrigerator.

A Letter to McDonalds: My Mother’s Day Wish #MomsNotLovinIt


Dear McDonalds,

This Mother’s Day I have just one request. Leave my kids alone. I’ve honored your right to exist and I’d like to ask you kindly to honor their right to a McFood free childhood. I know, you’re going to say, “If you don’t like McDonalds just don’t patronize us.” And I don’t, and that’s a good solution but a better one would be where you stop marketing directly to children in insidious ways.

Your school can get a free visit from Ronald McDonald so that he can teach the kids about giving to charity. Although this sounds noble read the fine print:

This show is sponsored as an All-School Assembly. If all students do not participate in the presentation a show fee may be charged to your school.

If a savvy parent doesn’t want their child to be McEducated the school will be charged. Why would McDonalds want to reach pre-school aged kids? Further, McDonalds has pledged to shift the mix of foods advertised to children under 12 to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles. I’m not seeing proof of that pledge when McDonalds uses a 17 year old Olympian and a couple of little kids to promote a breakfast sandwich and don’t even get me started on apples in plastic bags with a side of HFCS caramel.

Gabby Douglas McDonalds

I wonder if McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson would let his kids be part of this promotion?

The FDA/USDA/CDC/FTC already condemn the practice of marketing foods laden with sodium, fat, sugar and unidentifiable ingredients to our kids. Today, as a Mother’s Day gift to me I’m asking McDonalds to back off.

Readers, you can give me the gift of your signature. Join the movement and let McDonalds know that McWorld, their advergaming for kids is McWrong. Sign up with and share the message far and wide.

If Mother’s Day is a day for us, let’s talk about our passions. My passion is children’s health. Join me in sharing the #MomsNotLovinIt hashtag all over the web and hopefully McDonalds will get the McMessage. Their own shareholder’s meeting has children’s health and obesity as it relates to fast food on the agenda (see page 50).

#MomsNotLovinIt Don Thompson

PepsiCo Uses Cracker Jacks to Deliver a Full Assault on Your Children


I’m no fan of PepsiCo and it’s not a secret. There’s nothing wrong with a soda treat once in a blue moon (and I mean that literally so that would have you drinking about a soda a year) but soda is a horrible thing to put in your body and it’s even worse for children and girls. Today’s rant is not about soda though, it’s about one of the many frankenfood products PepsiCo owns.

PepsiCo is about to change Cracker Jacks. They’re adding a line called Cracker Jack’d.

Cracker Jack’d is not a movie about white guys from Georgia moving to South Central LA to steal cars circa 1987. Cracker Jack’d is a candy with caffeine added.

Yes, really. PepsiCo is going to stealth caffeinate your children.

See the tagline? Snacks with impact.


Let me talk to you about caffeine and what soda and Starbucks has done to us. We’ve normalized an addiction. We’ve pretended like needing morning coffee is normal and adorable. It’s not.

If you’re a coffee drinker (and statistically most of you are) and you don’t have your morning coffee how do you feel? Cranky, headachey, lethargic? Who in their right mind would gift that dependence to their child? Who would introduce a habit forming stimulant to children? Who would give their child a product that is guaranteed to weaken their growing bones? Notice that I’m refraining from lecturing adults about loving themselves enough to quit…

PepsiCo would.

There is no reason for our children to be drinking caffeinated drinks. There is no good reason for our children to have caffeine dropped into snacks made for them. The only reason anyone would caffeinate a child’s snack is to make it more addictive than the sugar already is. 

We need a new song to sing at baseball games. Cracker Jacks cannot be trusted. They have a facebook page for the new treats so ostensibly someone is listening.

EDIT: I’m not saying that Cracker Jack’d will kill anyone but it is worth noting that The New York Times is reporting that 5-Hour Energy (the one who leads in the energy trend) has been implicated in at least 13 deaths, 30 heart attacks and spontaneous abortions.