Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

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We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . .

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 1

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

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We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . . (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Honest Abe? No, That's My Daughter

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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ipodUsually, when my 11 year old daughter hands me her iPod, it's because she wants to download a new game or a song. As she doesn't have her own password, all downloads have to get past me. It's always a bit of a standoff. Cue Music.

So, on Monday, when she handed me her iPod after school - as in, actually walked up to my office to lay it on my desk - I figured the customary hand-written "Wish List" with games and songs, which would normally accompany such a gesture, was simply delayed. 

I was wrong.

"Harper, I'm not adding anything right now. Give me a list and I'll review it."

"No, Mom. I'm giving it to you. I have to give it up for 24 hours."

Red flag.

"What happened?"

Hesitation.

"I forgot I had a test today."

Cue inner monologue, "GEEZE! THE SCHOOL DOESN'T PASS OUT THOSE FANCY PLANNERS FOR NOTHING!"

Relax. Must rephrase before I verbally vomit on my daughter.

"You didn't write it down?"

"I forgot."

This has been a bit of a hic-cup lately. Not writing things down. This, from the kid whose mother writes out a to-do list everyday and keeps a color-coded Google calendar. Religiously.

"OK, well, thank you for being honest and giving up your iPod. It's mine for 24 hours." Pause. "So, how'd you do on the test?"

Longer pause. Followed by a smirk.

"I aced it."

But, of course.

"Really?!"

"Yes. But I can't have the iPod back, right?"

I didn't have to answer. But in case YOU are wondering, and perhaps have been known to falter on follow-through, NO, she did NOT get her iPod back.

Combine this scenario with a recent discussion on the subject of friendship, during which my 11 year old uttered some profound thoughts and discoveries, and you've got a Mom who is seeing her daughter in an entirely new, GASP, mature light. 

I know we all fear the "he/she is growing up so fast" part when it comes to our children, but let me assure you that THIS development in the "he/she is growing up so fast" part, is very cool.


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Honest Abe? No, That's My Daughter (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

ipodUsually, when my 11 year old daughter hands me her iPod, it's because she wants to download a new game or a song. As she doesn't have her own password, all downloads have to get past me. It's always a bit of a standoff. Cue Music.

So, on Monday, when she handed me her iPod after school - as in, actually walked up to my office to lay it on my desk - I figured the customary hand-written "Wish List" with games and songs, which would normally accompany such a gesture, was simply delayed. 

I was wrong.

"Harper, I'm not adding anything right now. Give me a list and I'll review it."

"No, Mom. I'm giving it to you. I have to give it up for 24 hours."

Red flag.

"What happened?"

Hesitation.

"I forgot I had a test today."

Cue inner monologue, "GEEZE! THE SCHOOL DOESN'T PASS OUT THOSE FANCY PLANNERS FOR NOTHING!"

Relax. Must rephrase before I verbally vomit on my daughter.

"You didn't write it down?"

"I forgot."

This has been a bit of a hic-cup lately. Not writing things down. This, from the kid whose mother writes out a to-do list everyday and keeps a color-coded Google calendar. Religiously.

"OK, well, thank you for being honest and giving up your iPod. It's mine for 24 hours." Pause. "So, how'd you do on the test?"

Longer pause. Followed by a smirk.

"I aced it."

But, of course.

"Really?!"

"Yes. But I can't have the iPod back, right?"

I didn't have to answer. But in case YOU are wondering, and perhaps have been known to falter on follow-through, NO, she did NOT get her iPod back.

Combine this scenario with a recent discussion on the subject of friendship, during which my 11 year old uttered some profound thoughts and discoveries, and you've got a Mom who is seeing her daughter in an entirely new, GASP, mature light. 

I know we all fear the "he/she is growing up so fast" part when it comes to our children, but let me assure you that THIS development in the "he/she is growing up so fast" part, is very cool.


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Village Parenting

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 1

invite_women_in_circleIt takes a village.

Not a fan of cliches, I have never been too fond of this phrase. I know the intention of its meaning, but I think my dislike of it is rooted in my doubt that this "village mentality", that we SAY we all desire, actually exists. This is an area where I wonder if we are "all talk".

I have these four friends. We meet together one morning a week to catch up on our lives and to pray. We are alike in that we all share the same faith and attend the same church. We also hold similar convictions in certain areas. We have children around the same ages. We enjoy each other's company and have many of the same interests. Only, we four couldn't be more different. We have different personalities. And parenting styles. Even so, I TRUST THEM. I trust them with the things I need to get off my chest. I trust them with sharing tough stuff about myself, my children, and my day. I'm not embarrassed to say that I selfishly created this weekly fellowship for me. It was intentional. We didn't just fall into it. I slowly got to know these women as individuals over the short amount of time I've lived in my new town. And then, I crafted the group. On purpose. I'm sneaky like that.

Gathering this small village was a brainchild of mine last January, and we've now been meeting together once a week for just over a year. 

And sure, while it sounds like this group was developed for my own selfish purposes - to feed my personal needs - there has been another, bigger purpose.

To feed my children.

Not literally. (Although they have. And my kids seem to prefer their food over mine.)

I want my children to know my friends. I want my children to know the women that I trust. I want my children to feel comfortable with my friends. I want my children to know that my friends are watching out for them. No, not like a hawk. More like a mother eagle. 

Case in point. 

All of our kids have an iPod Touch. And while we are cool with them playing games and listening to their music, we carry the concern that they will stumble upon something online or YouTube for which their young eyes are not ready to see. It is after all, the big world of the Internet - where there is much good. And also, so much more. Yes, the devices come complete with the ability to restrict applications. We're all good with that - after a quick lesson on my son's iPod this morning. 

We also have general rules for the use of their iPods. For example, here a just a few for our household: 

1. The iPod can not be played until homework, chores, and musical instrument practice is complete.

2. The iPod is not a guest at our dinner table. Ever.

3. "Obey the first time" (in reference to something either I or my husband tell them to do) or lose the iPod for a full 24 hrs.

Maybe these seem "over the top", but my kids DIG THEIR IPODS, and could play on them forever. Hyperbole? Yes. Um, no. (Okay, yes.)

So, what does my "village" have to do with this?

We are currently compiling our iPod rules and sharing them with one another. Why? Because I have given my friends permission to talk with my children if they find them breaking one of my rules. 

Here again, let's be clear. My kids KNOW THESE PARENTS. They play with their children. And they know that George and I trust and respect these parents. We have a relationship with these families.

Why is this important?

Let's say, in a few years (please, Lord, give me a few years), one of our kids hits some difficulty and is having a tough time talking to us about it. Sure, they will have their youth leader to talk to at church. But, in our case, remember, Daddy also WORKS at the church. So I want to provide other avenues. Thus, I am doing what I can to communicate to my children that I am surrounded by some stellar friends, who also happen to be Moms. Moms that I trust. Moms they can trust. Moms who pray for them every week. That's not just talk. I've heard them.

It's worth a shot. 

But, until that day, we will simply continue to meet once a week. To talk. To pray. We'll get together for dinners. And birthday breakfasts. And we'll keep an eye out for one another's children.

So there you have it. It may be Village 101, but at least we're making attempts to actually build one.


pittsburgh_mom_copyJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by running (not with sharp objects) and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask. 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.