Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Oh the irony....Tom Cruise and Zoloft ad on

I have been debating with myself whether to bring up the whole Tom Cruise thing again on my blog. I am angry that he would deign to criticize Brooke Shields for choosing to use antidepressants. He certainly hasn't walked in the shoes of a woman dealing with severe postpartum depression. But he's been widely criticized for his actions, so I wasn't going to blog about it.

But, I just happened to stumble on an ironic pairing over at There is a slidedow screenshot of Cruise from his "enthusiastic" appearance on Oprah last month...and right next to it is a sidebar advertisement for Zoloft, with the caption "My doctor said I had depression and that Zoloft could help."

Wonder what Mr. Cruise would think of that....

(Note: After writing this post, I followed the link again to,and the advertisement had changed to Lipton tea, so there is probably an assortment of ads, but I did originally land on the Zoloft sidebar and I printed it out.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mojo Mom on her own

I woke up this morning at 6 am in a panic. My stomach was churning uncomfortably, and there has been a wave of summer illness traveling through our neighborhood. Michael was in California, on his way to Singapore, and my Mom was about to pull out of her driveway to head to Michigan.

Up to that point I had been reconciled to two weeks of solo parenting, but the thought of pulling that off if I was sick was a challenge I hadn't counted on. I woke up, collected myself, ate breakfast, and realized I was going to be okay.

My hat is off to single mothers who manage through difficult times. Every woman needs and deserves support, and I have seen women come together in marvelous ways.

As for myself and my daughter over these two weeks, I can see how this time together will be good for us. I am calling around to see who else is "home alone" with her kids, and I've set up several dates for outings or dinner. When school is out I find that I have to make more of an effor to see my friends who I run into daily during the school year. So the flip side to the challenge of being alone is getting us out to see each other.

Even so, I am sure that sometime during the next two weeks I will feel more like a Desperate Housewife than a Mojo Mom. My gauge to see how low I go to find family entertainment is whether I get desperate enough to take my daughter to see "Herbie: Fully Loaded," which looks perfectly awful but would provide two hours of air-conditioned distraction.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

How "Stranger Danger" almost killed the Boy Scout

Before I wrote Mojo Mom, I created Spark Seminars, a child safety training program for parents. My seminars teach parents about abuse prevention skills and appropriate ways to convey this information to their children. Parents are their child's most important safety advocates, and we need to develop the knowledge and confidence to teach our children abuse-prevention strategies over time.

This week's news about Brennan Hawkins, the rescued Boy Scout who was lost in Utah for four days, is an extreme example of the problems that arise when children rely on the overly simplistic and misleading rules about "Stranger Danger."

Because Brennan had internalized the rule "Don't talk to strangers," the lost 11-year-old actually got off the trail and hid from rescuers.

"Stranger Danger" is the only safety strategy many parents know. In truth, the issue isn't as simple as strangers versus people we know. The real issue is appropriate versus inappropriate behavior, whether it is a stranger, friend, or family member. Yes, there are different rules about appropriate behavior for strangers--you wouldn't want someone you'd never met to come up and kiss you, but if you are lost you do need to know how to ask a stranger for help. We as parents need to leave the old "Stranger Danger" cliche behind and replace it with more comprehensive, ongoing conversations about safety.

Feeling like you don't know where to start? Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker is an excellent resource that will tell you all you need to know to start developing your family's safety strategy.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

1776--start of the Self-help movement?

I am intrigued by the new book Marriage, A History by Stephanie Coontz. I haven't read it yet, but I heard Professor Coontz interviewed on Fresh Air last week. She detailed the evolution of marriage from an institution of ecomomic power to one of personal fulfillment--and the consequences that have come along with that concept. I am always fascinated to learn how things we take as a given are actually part of an ongoing revolutionary process. And speaking of revolution, she traces the notion of love & marriage back to the Declaration of Independence and the American and French Revolutions.

Our current mental framework of love, marriage, and individuality may have its roots in the then-radical call for the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" that formed the foundation of our nation. (Does that mean that we can blame Thomas Jefferson for Dr. Phil?)

I am looking forward to hearing Professor Coontz speak this week at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This Mojo concept really does work....

Tonight I had the good fortune to speak at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. There was a great turnout of two dozen interesting and enthusiastic women. The experience really proved the "Mojo = energy" concept to me.

At home, two hours before my talk, I was running around like a crazy woman, walking the dog, getting my daughter settled down, and looking for an outfit to wear that was both nice and clean. It was pouring rain and I felt like if I could just pull myself together to look a step up from something the cat dragged in, I'd be doing okay.

I wasn't feeling particularly articulate, organized, or energetic, but I had faith that if I could just get myself there on time, the rest would come together. And it did! I was energized by the receptive and supportive crowd. Each smile and nod I received truly boosted my energy and confidence. We had a good discussion and I was even invited to go out with a group afterward.

I was gratified to know that my Mojo would come through when I needed it most!